Thursday, October 18, 2007

Farewell, Big Guy

I was talking to my friend Will Briarwood last night. Unfortunately, he again had bad news about his cat…

“We had to put the big guy to sleep on Monday.”

I am sorry, Will.

“Thanks. He was doing ok last week, but then one of his tumors started bleeding on Sunday – the vet counted a total of six little tumors when we were in there last week -- and we noticed the big guy was breathing a bit harder, and I don’t think he was eating as much – Mary said she did not want him to suffer, that was his time to go.”

You had said his quality of life was pretty good last week, all things considered – it went downhill, then.

“Yeah. We knew his life was not going to get any better.”

You guys doing ok?

“Not really. I mean, we’ll be ok, but this is just as hard on us as when the old girl died back in August. In some ways, this was even harder – the old girl was ready to go at the end, but the big guy still had some energy left. And the old girl was almost fifteen years old, but the big guy was only nine. The worst part was when he would look at me like he did not understand what was going on, and like he did not want to go…”

I am sure you made your decision out of compassion for him.

“I know we did. But that does not stop me from feeling guilty, and does not stop me from missing him.”

How are the other cats doing?

“OK, I think. The old girl sometimes starts meowing in the middle of the night, but she’s been doing that for a while, it’s just part of her getting older. And the little guy, sometimes I see him looking around the house, like maybe he’s looking for the big guy. I think they both know that things have changed, again.”

You should not feel guilty – you and Mary gave him a good life.

“We tried our best. And I did try to come up with a list of ten things to be thankful for, like I did when the old girl died.”


“Well, there are some of the same things I had last time – like us going fifteen years since any of our pets died. And being very thankful for everything our vet did for us. But let’s start with this – the big guy survived over a year after his first cancer surgery, and he did pretty well on three legs.”

That was last October, right?

“Yeah. And although he had to go the vet one last time, his final moments were peaceful, Mary and I were both with him. And he did not suffer too much in his final days, like the old girl did.”

As I said, compassion.

“And it was Sunday when we noticed he was bleeding, so we got to spend his last day with him. And Mary said he slept next to her all that last night. And that leads me to the most important thing – it was Mary and her love for him that gave him a good life. He was a wild young cat, and I think his bond with her really calmed him down as he got older.”

I think that is about six things.

“And I got to spend a lot of time with him the last few weeks – we would sit together on the chair on the porch during the evening. And we took a bunch of great pictures of him during his last day.”

I think I know your last two things.

“Our other two cats. Without the queen and the little guy, our lives would just be too empty. They are there for us, and we will be giving them a lot of attention in the coming weeks.”

You and Mary take care.

“Thanks. Say hi to covivant for us.”

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