If anything were to happen to Bruce Springsteen, for instance, his crew would become simply “and the E Street Band.” Bob Marley’s passing left his band as simply “and the Wailers.”
And if anything should happen to Dave Matthews, his band would be bereft of a name entirely. Fortunately, it’s looking like Dave won’t be going anywhere soon - other than perhaps a forever home.
Now, the naming of kittens is a hefty responsibility, but sometimes a name - or litter of names - presents itself with such perfection that it makes the job easy. So it was when four balls of pussywillow-grey fluff arrived and claimed Kelly as their foster mama. Kelly is an avid fan of completely obsessed with the Dave Matthews Band, so it was a natural fit that this band of littermates should become the feline DMB.
As the human Dave Matthews Band is all-male, this called for some creativity when naming the two sisters. The single shorthaired girl became Tinsley (so named for violinist/mandolinist Boyd Tinsley). And the smallest kitten, a fuzzy all-grey sweetie, became Maddy - for Matthews.
The boys were much easier. One fluffy guy was Beauford (for Carter Beauford). And the biggest, most boisterous and vocal kitten of the bunch? Well, it was only right that he should be the lead singer: Dave.
Alas, the kittens’ future was to include some music in a minor key. As Dave, Beauford and Tinsley grew, Maddy remained runty and stubbornly sickly. Kelly’s devotion was extraordinary. If opening a vein would have saved Maddy, I know she would have opened one or ten. But in a phenomenon I will never understand, this kitten joined the ranks of Marlee and Papaya in breathing her last before life had fully begun. I can only trust and pray that she knows fullness of life and freedom from pain where she is now.
The other three DMB members wouldn’t let us pause to grieve for too long, though, as they were growing quickly. And, it wasn’t long before an eerie new tune would rear its head. Somewhere along the line, the leader of this band stopped being the biggest and heartiest kitten and began losing weight. Kelly had the patience of Job as she syringe fed Dave ’round the clock, only to see him squeeze the food back out the sides of his mouth. The little guy was fast becoming all fluff and bones, and we just didn’t know why.
Then, last week, an alarming possibility entered this rock opera. A series of tests showed that Dave’s itty-bitty kidneys were not doing well, while his white blood count was abnormally high. In hushed tones, our veterinary team began considering the possibility of FIP (feline infectious peritonitis): one of the meanest, most fatal diseases of them all.
Kelly’s resolve was unshaken. Her boy, her fluffy bandleader, did not have FIP, and he was not going anywhere. But if he did, she would take him herself and care for him all the days of his shortened life. Whatever the future held for tiny Dave, it would be full of love and music.
But, as it happens, it was all too soon to be singing When the World Ends. Because, according to yesterday’s ultrasound of Dave’s tiny abdomen and a new series of blood tests, FIP is a fast-fading possibility. That little belly is completely normal, and those kidney values are creeping back into the normal range.
My heart did happy acrobatics in my chest when I heard this news yesterday. But, much more than all of us other human beans, it is Dave’s Angel, Kelly, who is bursting with joy. It will still be an anxious while before we can say that Dave’s Everyday will be normal and healthy, but things are moving in a direction that is…well, So Right.
As for Dave’s faithful backup singers and instrumentalists? Tinsley has already been whisked away to an awesome home, and Beauford is headed to his very own people soon. Whoever adopts Dave will learn that we’ve truly saved the best for last. After all, not every human bean gets to adopt the leader of the band.