Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Much Needed Update

Well, it has been a while since my last post, and much has been going on. George is now 2, Sean has a new job, and I have some sad news to report.

My much beloved cat, Lily, passed away on December 30th, 2009. She was approximately 15 years old and had apparently been suffering from renal failure. I made the heartbreaking decision to have her euthanized to end her obvious painful suffering. She had gotten to the point where she refused to eat or drink anything and had lost over half of her body weight. I could graze my fingers lightly over her fur and feel every bone in her back at that point. She slept most of the time but complained when picked up and suffered from major incontinence. Having dealt with her declining health for a while, I knew something had to be done. After much internal struggle with my easily guilted conscience, we took her to the vet's office and I held her as she drifted peacefully into sleep and then death.

I cannot begin to explain how traumatic it is to put your beloved and faithful friend to sleep and then be with them as they die. It has been over a month since she left us and I still tear up over her death. However, I wouldn't have done it any other way. I felt that I needed to be with her, that the last thing she saw was me soothing and loving her. I think most non-pet people don't understand that a pet owner grieves for a lost pet as much as they would grieve over a deceased family member. But if you think of it in the sense that this creature has been a companion for many years (in most cases), has lived with the person, and enjoyed a functional, loving relationship (the human provides food, shelter, and kindness while the animal provides unconditional love, comfort and warmth in return), then it makes sense to grieve for the loss.

Lily had lived with Sean and me for our entire married life and before, she slept on our bed every night, and would often follow me around the house throughout the day, even in the bathroom which I found a bit disturbing. I counted her as one of my best friends, and it was a comfort to know I could get stressful problems off of my chest without having to worry that she would break my confidence.

Now she is gone, and I am in the final stage of grief, acceptance. Her cremated remains currently grace our living room mantle while awaiting their final burial. When the weather warms up, I will plant a tree in the backyard as a memorial and bury her ashes and collar among its roots. A rather ironic end for a very agoraphobic feline.

After Lily died, I had an urgent need to see healthy, vibrant animals, so Sean took me to the city adoption shelter where I became acquainted with an adorable corgi mutt. After making sure that she got along with George, I ended up adopting her that very day. Menschi (named for the Pomeranian in Excel Saga, "Emergency Food Supply" is the rough translation) is now my new friend. She is a very smart 2 year old bundle of love. She is perfectly healthy, and will even protect George if she senses he's in danger or about to be in danger. Likewise, George will play with and mock her. She loves car rides and running around outside, but isn't a fan of the snow, ice, or rain. Welcome to our home, Menschi!

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