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Posts Tagged ‘pet loss’

R.I.P. Cloudy
January 2008 – February 28, 2018

Where do you begin when someone you love passes away? When you have spent some part of almost every day saying hello, sharing some affection, a meal or two, and sometimes a kiss goodnight?

This being, as you can see, happens to be a cat – a cat to whom I became very attached over the last 10 years. Cloudy belonged to the people next door, as does Pumpkin. He was an indoor/outdoor cat – nicely set up in their garage at night and out during the day. Although he spent plenty of time curled up in his bed during the coldest winter days, he was out and about most days until the two boys were called in for the night.

However, he was on my back porch at one point or another almost every day (yes, it’s true, I do have food here), or greeting me when I pulled in the driveway. In the nice weather when I sat outside reading or drawing, he stretched out on my wicker coffee table, sat on my lap, or lay at my feet. He was snuggly and loved affection. Some nights, when he didn’t hear being called in to the garage, he would sit on the wicker table or at my back door, hoping I might put him inside. On these occasions, I would carry him across the backyard to the sound of loud purring and then know he was safe for the night. I also was fortunate in being able to take care of him and Pumpkin when my neighbors would go on vacation.

Cloudy may not have been “my” cat, but I loved him not one iota less than if he were truly mine. He was pure innocence, a very young soul, with not one mean bone in his body. Quite simply, he was so easy to love.  And that I did.

His life ended unexpectedly and far too young. I see him each time I look out the door, those wide eyes just waiting for recognition, hoping for a loving touch. I see him basking in the sunlight in front of a neighbor’s garage, and looking up when he’d be hugging my back door in the cold. I suspect I’ll be seeing him for quite some time, until he finally curls up in my heart.

“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”
– Anatole France

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In Memory of Claude

July 1998 – August 17, 2013
Rescued from Hillside, NJ RR bridge – August 1998

Claude-OnChair2

Claude-Kitten2He had only 3 places to go. Over the fence and a 100′ drop to the railroad tracks below, into the traffic crossing the railroad bridge, or into my hands. He chose to climb the fence. Thanks to the help of a kind passerby, the tiny feral kitten ended up in my hands. In fact, he ended up squalling loudly while I held him against my left shoulder with one hand and drove the rest of the way to work. It was a day when I normally didn’t come in to work, on a route I never went but for the backed-up traffic that day. I even passed him by, thinking he was a crumpled piece of paper – that’s how tiny he was – before my brain went “KITTEN!” and I backed up for a closer look.

In our Medical Dept., he was assessed at 5 weeks old, too young to get shots and at risk of becoming very ill in the city shelter. So I decided to take care of him until he was old enough to be adopted. He stayed with me in my office during the day and I took him home at night. I’d set him up a huge dog crate with blankets, food, water, litter – everything he needed. He was so tiny I was afraid he’d get lost or trapped somewhere in the house. And he screamed. I shut the door to the room, let him Claude-KittenWithChloe2out, and Claude made a beeline for my pit bull terrier Chloe’s chin and curled up underneath. From that moment on they became inseparable … he found the mom he’d always needed.

My thoughts of putting him up for adoption in the shelter were abandoned in the face of their devotion to each other, and that’s how Claude’s life began – loved by his dog and human moms.

Claude was a healthy and very happy, easygoing guy.  He survived Chloe, who passed away at 15-1/2, as well as his two cat buddies Mewsette and Gypsy Rose who left us in the last year and a half. He was without a doubt the nudgiest animal I’ve ever known, but also beyond Claude-AndChloeaffectionate, cuddly, funny and extremely trusting. He stretched out anywhere on his back, totally vulnerable, knowing he was always safe and loved. And did I mention vocal? We won’t even go there.

Life was sweet for Claude until a little over a week ago when he experienced a mild, seizure-like event. Unfortunately, these progressed rapidly and in number and severity that it became clear there was only one thing to do. I told him where we were going Saturday morning and what would be happening. I bathed us in white light and asked who would meet Claude on the other side. In a heartbeat I saw Chloe … her bunny ears up, eyes bright, and she was dancing from side to side, so eager to see her “baby” once again.

Claude left peacefully in a second to join his mom and left me to reflect on how lucky I, as well as he, was that day when I was sent to work the “back way” and over a railroad bridge where someone needed desperately to be found.

Home will never be the same without you, Claudie.

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In Memory … Gypsy Rose

July 1999 – April 6, 2013
Rescued from Weequahic Park, Newark, NJ – January 2000

Gypsy-InMemory2

Gypsy Rose was a 6 month-old kitten when I (literally) grabbed her from a parking area in Weequahic Park on my way to work. She was with her mother, and it is likely the two were living in the Gypsy-6Months2cemetery on the other side of the wrought iron fence just a few feet away. I was unable to get the more street-wise mother, but brought this little tyke into my car. I buried my head under my arms against the steering wheel, while the kitten ricocheted all over my car. When she finally settled at the rear window, I drove the rest of the way to the shelter where I worked and where she would get a chance at a real home.

Gypsy’s “baby” picture … 6 months old in the shelter, waiting for love.

She was written up in the system, and placed in a cage in the area just inside the front entrance – prime real estate for adoption. There was a multitude of reasons why bringing another animal into my home at that exact time was a very poor idea, and since Gypsy Rose was cute as a button and only 6 months old, I was sure it was only a matter of time  before someone would fall in love and adopt her.

But there she sat. After six months and no one expressing an interest in her, among other reasons, I knew she was meant to be mine, and the rest is history. Soon after walking into my home, Gypsy decided she should run the place thus earning herself the name of Miss Bossy Boots. All went well for this petite Queen of Everything until about October 2011, when she experienced seizure-like activity and was put on medication to reduce swelling from a possible tumor or cancer in her brain. This event repeated itself in June of 2012 when we tried to wean her off the medication.

Still, Gypsy forged on, unfazed by some growing malignancy within. In the last few months, however, Gypsy began a slow downward and irreversible decline. In the last few weeks,  I watched her behaviors change, isolating herself more, eating less and less, rallying occasionally, until it became clear her time had come. She left peacefully in my arms, loved `til the end.

Farewell, Gypsy girl … you will always be home in my heart.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are times when we, as bloggers, have nothing to say. That is rarely my problem. There are times when we have so much to say, we don’t know where to start. Getting warmer. Or so much to say and we don’t know if we should say it. Bingo.

So my main excuse for not posting is pictured at left.

Gypsy Rose, one of my cats, is not doing well. She has an incurable illness, something in her brain such as cancer, a tumor, etc. that only a $900 – $1800 cat MRI would reveal. We are treating her symptomatically, (as would be the case even if we did have a precise diagnosis, as brain surgery isn’t a viable alternative on a cat, or at least this one), and rather successfully, until recently, when she began to not do so well.

The vet and I are trying an adjustment in her medication to see if that will help her.

Either way, an animal with ups and downs every day is a reminder that we cannot control life and death; we cannot make any being stay longer than it is their time to spend, no matter how good our intentions; it is a reminder that we are human and have engaged in a relationship with an animal who looks to us to always make the right decision for them.

That time has not yet come for little Miss Rose, but I believe if she … and any of my other animals, past and present, could say so, they would say they always felt safest in my hands. Or at least I’d like to think so.

But so as not to be overly serious, (or premature), in what may come in the days, weeks or months ahead, I offer a favorite cat quote in a lighter vein:

The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.  ~Paula Poundstone

But maybe to the heart of the matter …

The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry.  ~French Proverb

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They say every cloud has a silver lining, that even in our darkest moments there is always a bright spot. Having recently lost an animal so very dear to my heart, I wasn’t seeing too many bright spots just yet. Some unanticipated glimmers here and there, but that was about it.

Who would have thought that my bright spot would truly BE a bright spot? I happened to glance out my side door earlier this morning, and there he was … a veritable bright spot of red among the drab winter bushes. I grabbed my camera and, figuring the male Cardinal would fly away if I opened the door, took him through my window, but with a screen, I knew I was kidding myself. Ever so slowly, I opened the inner door and then the storm door, and eased out on the porch. There he stayed while I photographed him. Again and again.

I felt as if he knew I needed a bright spot in my day and had decided to indulge me until I got the shot I wanted. I believe animals communicate with us and are far more in tune than we give them credit for, and today, he had a small, joyful message to bring. Above you see him, not nearly as vibrant as he looked in reality, but brilliant nonetheless. A small blessing, a reminder, of how many bright spots we have in our lives. Even if we don’t always see them.

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Mewsette

Rescued from Weequahic Park, Newark, NJ, November 1999
@ approximately 9 months old
Left this Earth January 4, 2012

She may have been small in stature, but her gentle soul spanned galaxies

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