This sweetheart is Bobby, an incredibly lovely cat who came here last July after his owner passed away. He was a big grey love-bug. Sadly, he developed liver failure, and despite the extraordinary care he received from my vet clinic staff, and my own efforts at tube-feeding him, he deteriorated to the point that we had to euthanize him. I cried many tears over this dear cat. My consolation is hoping that in some way, he has been reunited with his loving owner. Bobby came to me to me with his friends Harley and Mama when their owner went into hospice care.
The past year has been really difficult in terms of losing animals. I have had to euthanize three foster cats, plus a stray that had been hit by a car and was left with a pelvis shattered beyond repair. On top of that, we had to euthanize our sweet pony Esme, and then fewer than three weeks later, we found our most beloved cat Naomi lifeless in the bathroom. When I found Naomi stretched out on the floor, a dead weight behind the door, I broke down and cried in a way I have not done since each of my parents passed. I did wonder that morning how I could bear to lose even one more cat. Then I had to euthanize my foster kitty Scarlett in February. Somehow, you just get through these things. I have to remind myself that the good outweighs the bad, and no one gets through life without suffering.
This little kitten is Lucy. She had FIP and when her seizures became uncontrollable, I had to have her euthanized. She was just six months old and was perhaps the sweetest little kitten I have ever known. She was found in a ditch in poor shape. I nursed her back to health, only to find out she had FIP. I am grateful for the time I had with her.
Periwinkle was brought to me by my friend Liz, who runs another cat rescue. Periwinkle was very traumatized and frightened when she arrived here. She has been found injured and was kept in a dog cage for MONTHS before her "rescuer" finally contacted Liz. Her back end was covered in her own excrement, and she has urine scalding on her legs. We got her cleaned up and feeling better, but a couple of vet visits in, we realized that Periwinkle actually had a fracture in her spine that meant she had little control over her bladder and bowels. There was just constant leakage going on. The kindest thing to do was to euthanize her. The one thing I am grateful for is that my friends Katie and Joey took her in to foster for a while, and won her trust, allowing Periwinkle to know human love and kindness before she had to pass over. Periwinkle refused to trust me, but she sure loved Katie!
For me, being there at the end of an animal's life (or a human's, for that matter!) is a privilege and a blessing. To be in that quiet room, stroking an animal and expressing love as they pass over is, while sad and difficult, also very moving and special. For me, the most important thing is to let the animal know that they were so very loved.
Animals have done so much for me that I feel it is a gift to be able to do things for them, like be there in the final hours. I had a terrible childhood with a neglectful and emotionally abusive mother, but through all that, animals were always there for me. (In fact, my Mum was a huge animal lover and that was something she was able to impart on me. Her own childhood was worse than mine, and animals were her refuge too.) If things were bad, I could always talk to my dog, or cuddle my guinea pig, or laugh at my gerbils playing in their cage. My dogs and cats have always been the most excellent listeners! They don't judge, and they never lie.
I've loved animals since I was very small and I will always do whatever I can to help them. It's not heroic or brave or selfless... it's just what I want to do. It's the thing that gives me, for the most part, joy, and that joy outweighs the inevitable but sadness that come with rescuing animals in need. You can't always have a happy ending.