Saturday, October 13, 2012

Losing a Pet is Losing a Friend

The smell of their breath, their sweet little licks, the way they communicate their likes, dislikes, wants and needs... our pets are our children... only furry. Sometimes we never really realize how much they add to our lives until that dreaded day when they are no longer with us.

This week has been an emotional roller coaster for me. I had to bring my 14 year old cat "Lillie" to the vet because over the past month her health began to fade fast. She had visibly lost weight, began to sleep more and seemed to be more clingy than she typically was, rarely leaving my side. I contemplated bringing her to the vet because I knew that blood work and testing would cost a small fortune. When you have three children and a home to provide for you have to consider your financial priorities a little more than you would like to at times. I decided on Tuesday however, that I would take my other child... "Lillie" to see the doctor because I KNEW something was  terribly wrong. She had stopped eating and had begun to get weak, she was wobbling when she walked and her meow had changed. As I picked her up to put her in the pet carrier she did not even fight; that was not like her at all. I tried to emotionally prepare myself for bad news; but I suppose you are never REALLY prepared for bad news.

When I took her back, the doctor did not seem too optimistic because of her age and how weak she was. We spoke for a while about that and they had me wait in the waiting room while they did their thing. They gave her some IV fluids and fed her through a tube because she has not been drinking or eating for at least two days, gave her an injection to stimulate her appetite, some antibiotics for the infection and something for pain. She had developed a pancreatic abscess and it was taking it's toll on her sweet little body. I started crying as soon as I got to the waiting room. I knew this news was no good and my optimism was quickly fading.

I took her home with instructions on how to administer IV fluids... (I hate needles, but I did it for "Lills") and was told to bring her back in on Saturday to see if anything had changed. Over the next two days I watched her in agony. By that evening, she was worse. Corey and I sat and watched her lay in my tub which is where we put her to administer the fluids, and we said our goodbye's thinking she would not make it through the night... but she did. I was home with her all day Thursday and it was horrible to watch her frail little body lay motionless only to occasionally hear an agonizing meow when she tried to change position. This was not the "Lillie" I knew and it felt cruel to let her go on like this. I have never had to make a decision to put an animal to sleep, and would not wish it on my worst enemy; the mere thought broke my heart, but I had to think of her and stop being selfish. Corey and I talked and decided that if she was still with us Thursday morning that we would lay her to peace and let her go. I was a wreck all night and barley slept a wink. Watching my sweet kitty die was horrible but so was having to say goodbye.

She was still alive; barely, on Thursday morning so I called the vet's office and told them I could not put her through two more days of this. I explained that she had gotten worse and made the dreaded appointment. After 8 years of having her as part of my family, I simply could not stomach taking her to the appointment; so Corey came home from lunch and took her for me. As I picked her up in the blanket she was wrapped in I began to cry; this was the last time I would hold my sweet "Lillie". I kissed her on the face and told her I loved her and that she could go visit her sister "Phoebe" who we lost last year of old age. I placed her in her carrier, and when I put my hand out to pet her head, she rested it in my palm. I started to cry and shut the door to the carrier and as soon as Corey left I absolutely lost it.

There is a hole in my day now; for she no longer sits at my feet when I make my coffee or meows at me when her water is not fresh. I don't have her beside me when I am sitting on the couch and she no longer sits on my head when I sleep. I went to pet her this morning as I usually do when I wake up only to realize that she was really gone. Our pets are not just pets, it's not "just a dog, or cat, or horse" they are our friends... the most loyal and unconditional kind you will ever encounter. The love from a pet can never be replaced or forgotten.

We buried her beside "Phoebe" today and I am comforted tonight by picturing them frolicking in kitty heaven or perhaps waiting for me on this side of "The Rainbow Bridge."

Two dear friends shared this with me when I posted my tribute picture of "Lillie" on my Facebook page and I will now share it with you just in case you ever need the comfort it brings. <3 p="p">


Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When our beloved pets die, they journey to this idyllic spot. There are meadows and hills enough for all to frolic freely, and plenty of food, water and sunshine. Each and every animal is warm and comfortable.

Those pets that have been ill or aged are restored to health and vigor. Those who are hurt or maimed are made whole and strong. Each is just as we remember in our dreams of days and times gone by. Our pets are happy and content at Rainbow Bridge, except for one small thing. Every creature misses someone special, whom they've left behind.

The animals all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops, and looks into the distance. Bright eyes are intent; an eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly, running from the group, flying over the green grass, legs are going faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and you and your special friend come together in joyous reunion. Happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head; and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart. Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together. 

Author Unknown