Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Passing...

Ann with Pickles.

Pickles and Wheatie.

I recently received this email from Ann, one of our first customers with Houndstooth. Her cats Pickles and Wheatie, both 17, had been struggling with cancer and passed on this last May.  After our session in January, she wrote a beautiful letter about her experience that we featured here on the Menagerie. We were very touched by her story and her eloquence at describing the difficulty of caring for her "guys" (as she called them) as they got sicker, as were many of our readers. With this new letter I know that once again, Ann's words describe an experience that is a such a natural and difficult part of loving a pet. Thank you Ann--we will miss Pickles and Wheatie as well. 


Sadly, Pickles and Wheatie both died in May, five days apart, on May 13 and 18. 
Pickles took a terrible turn for the worse one day and began having seizures---three before I got him to the vet.  He had another unexpected one there after they had given him drugs to stop the seizures. There was really nothing they could do, so I went back that afternoon---he was there for a few hours---and he was euthanized.  There was no decision on my part because he was suffering so much (he was also sort of coughing or having trouble breathing---they didn't understand what).  But it was very sad and I stayed with him---"my heart"---for a long time after he died, holding him most of the time, as I did when the doctor gave him the shot. Obviously his lymphoma had spread to his brain.  It was all so sudden, not that he wasn't sick and I knew he would die, but such a change from night to the next morning.
Then a few days later, Wheatie didn't seem like himself one night. I tested him with catnip, which he was crazy about. And after one leaf, he wasn't interested.  It wasn't like him at all.  I did the same thing the next morning---no interest, nothing like he had been in the past---all I had to do was walk through the door with some of the fresh stuff and he could smell it and started to cry for some.
Anyway, I took him the next day to the vet, and she noticed his breathing was a little labored.  She said he wasn't the cat she had known.  Then she took an x-ray and there was a spot in his lung, likely the cancer from the huge tumor on his leg had spread.  She said it could be pneumonia, but it didn't look like any pneumonia she had ever seen.  So I was left to make the terrible decision of whether or not to euthanize him.  I figured I would probably take him home for a few days, if that, and be back again because he had gone further downhill.  It was a very tough decision, but probably spared him suffering.  I held him too as he died and stayed with him after.  On the plaque on his box of ashes, it says, "Everyone loved you, Wheats," and they did.  For Pickles, I wrote, "My Heart."
I loved those cats so much.  I can't imagine ever having another cat I care about as much as I did Pickles. I cry as I read this message over---I miss them. 
If you still want to use my story after this sad ending, please, feel free to do so.  You can't know how happy I am that I had you take those photos.  I treasure them.  They are a huge gift of remembrance.  Just today I found a great book to put many of them in.  And, of course, some are sprinkled around the house in frames.


No comments: