Every time I take one of our pets to the vet I see someone bringing in their cat or dog to be euthanized. Every. Single. Time. Last night I took our two cats in for vaccinations and as I was checking out a family of four came in with their cat snuggled in a fleece blanket. At first I thought that maybe they had a kitten in there who just needed a check-up, but then the receptionist gave them a form to fill out and asked the mom, “Do you want to be with her?” She said yes (right answer), and then the tears started. Mine, not hers.
I’ve lost a few pets in my lifetime, but never one that was truly ‘mine’ the way our two cats and dogs are ‘mine.’ First was Gretchen, our family dog. She was a German Shepherd mix who got older and had issues with her hips. My parents took her to be put down while I stayed home and re-read one of my Baby-Sitters Club books (Kristy and the Snobs – thank you google) where Kristy’s family dog was put to sleep. It just made me cry more, but I guess I needed it.
I think our cat Breezy was the next to go. I remember this one clearly. I was in high school and it was the day our soccer team was having a car wash. My mom or dad was supposed to pick me up and take me to the pool where I worked. I saw the car, went over and saw both my parents. Weird. I went to get in and saw my mom had the cat on her lap. Awesome. Just a quick stop at the SPCA on the way to work. No big deal. She was old and it was the right thing to do, but I didn’t really want to be there.
Next was Nosy. She must have known something was up because the day she was going to get put down she went and died under my parents’ bed instead. She got buried in the backyard.
My senior year of high school we adopted a cat and named him Ralph. He had been left by my friend’s neighbor when they moved. Nice people. He was not the smartest cat I’ve ever met and he got hit by a car on my birthday my freshman year of college.
Inky met his end on the living room floor. The most memorable part of that death was the fact that my brother came home after being out with friends and noticed the cat was dead on the living room floor. Did he tell anyone? No. He went to bed and let one of my parents discover it in the morning.
Sox was a sudden one. I was in Hawaii with my husband. It was about 7:00 a.m. Hawaii time when my phone rang. It was my mom and the first words out of her mouth were, “Sox is dead!” I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, but no one else was home or answering their phone. Apparently she went out to run errands and came home to find the cat dead on the kitchen floor. No clear explanation of what happened. I blame the dog.
White Face (weird name, I know….long story) was Sox’s son. He died of old age, blind, incontinent and living in fear of my parents’ dog.
Either before or after White Face was Tiger. He was a HUGE cat and that probably had something to do with his death. He had a blood clot or something that was really painful and there was nothing the vet could do for him. Another one that kind of came out of nowhere.
I dread the day any of my current pets have to be put to sleep. The cats might just pass quietly in the night (hoping) but I rarely hear of dogs going naturally. Dogs also don’t tend to live as long as cats, which means my kids will be younger when we have to explain where we’re taking Zoe and why she isn’t coming home. As I left to take the cats to the vet last night Madeline said, “I want my kitty cats!” We had to explain that they were coming back with Mommy. When I got home and went to kiss her good night she immediately asked, “My kitties home?” She assured me that she was okay while I was gone because Zoe and Daddy stayed with her. She loves these animals so much and they have been in her face since the day she came home.
I also know that I will stay with the dog if/when the time comes. Jay and I have had this discussion, usually inspired by me watching Marley & Me EVERY time it is on tv. I just can’t help myself. Even though I know what happens and even though my reaction is just as bad as when I saw it in the theater and spent the whole movie wiping snot on my sleeve.
Please feel free to share your pet memories. I love a good cry.