How to Deal with a Pet's Death

6/25/2009 04:58:00 PM ·

What an emotional day it has been. Over the past three days, my 20 lb tomcat has been suffering through something that has been completely undetected. We had been feeding him ensure and and water through a syringe because he refused to take any food or water on his own.

Yesterday, he started wheezing and his back legs became completely paralyzed. I had no idea what to do, and I was in the middle of summer finals. I tried to stay with him all night, waking up sporadically to make sure he was still ok.

After I returned from my final today, I found him barely breathing on the floor in the laundry room. I told my fiance to get on some clothes, we're going to the VET.

When we got there, poor Tipsy was crying out in agony. We took him into a room with a sloped table. The nurse took his temperature and told me is was subnormal. I was completely dumbfounded. I just didn't understand. All of his symptoms had happened so suddenly and his entire body just shut down.

The Vet did a rectal exam and found a blockage. His entire body had filled with fluids and his lungs were flooded. His kidneys had shut down. She gave me the option of operating, which would give him a small chance of survival, while living with a terminal illness; or, she suggested putting him down.

The entire experience was surreal. I couldn't believe I had to make a choice to put down the first cat I ever owned. I contemplated, and figured it would be completely selfish of me to hold on to him. No one wants to see an animal suffer. I volunteered to stay in the room.

They took out the syringe of anesthesia, found a vein, and ended his agony. His eyes met mine and we gazed at each like a mother and child do when they are so devoted to one another. I knew that he wanted this to end. This single moment in my life was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make. I held the life of someone in my hands, and I made a choice,

On the ride home, I cried until my eyes swelled and I looked for a sign. Why would this happen to something so innocent and why was it allowed to happen at all?

I knew when this day did come, I wouldn't be able to handle it. I didn't know how to feel, and I couldn't stop the tears from running. I got in my car, and I seeked for something soothing. I found myself at the Humans Society, slowly drifting around, looking into the cages of so many loving and appreciative animals.

I went into the cat room, and in a moment of clarity, I looked to the left, and what should I find? There was a 20 lb black and white tomcat with the exact same demeanor and personality at Tipsy. Although I had no intentions of adopting him, I asked one of the workers about his history. She told me that he had been brought in as a stray, a couple hours ago. Ironically, the time stamp was the time of death of my Tipsy.

And so my point is, and I'm not really sure if there is one, with death comes life. I believe that animals spirits will live on through each other. At least it felt that way when I was there.

I was able to talk to a grief counselor about what had happened, and I was surrounded on every corner by adorable puppies and kittens. It was therapeutic for me, and for just one brief moment, I was at peace.

Let us remember Tipsy, and appreciate that joy he brought to my life for 6 years. I love you Chubbs.

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