It is February 13, 2023, 12:15pm, and I am preparing to say good-bye to another beloved pet. The good-byes never get easier; if anything, I think they become more difficult the older I become. Maybe they remind me of my own mortality. Maybe it is just the sheer numbers of good-byes I’ve had to process over the years, through life’s pathways that often seem unbelievably cruel whether by death or the many circumstances that are just part of individual existence.
Mister, our orange and white boy, is dying of kidney failure. The signs of the disease were there, but none of us really saw them until it was too late to provide more than palliative care. The veterinarian said maybe 3 to 6 months; it’s just a bit over one. One of the meds that was to help prolong his life wasn’t feasible since he didn’t want to eat. You can’t put a powder on food when it turns one away from wanting it. The Mirataz prescribed to enhance his appetite built up in his impaired system and caused a seizure. The capsule created stress if I didn’t get it back in his mouth just right; six or seven tries to give it was a problem for a pill to be given twice a day.
So, our option was subcutaneous fluids by IV line every 3 days, likely not often enough to prevent the dehydration that is inevitable in kidney disease. The frequency was okay when he wanted to drink enough on his own. That has not been the case the last few days. Joe is the one who has administered the fluids. I am so thankful he has been able to do that. Mister would have made his Rainbow Bridge voyage before this without Joe.
After his diagnosis in early January and his four days in the hospital on constant IV fluids, Mister still was eating some on his own. That transitioned to hand feeding, followed by syringe feeding. He has now stopped really accepting the syringe which means he is ready to pass; his fight and earthly journey is almost finished.
We, Joe and I, have struggled with knowing when it is time to take him on his final ride to the vet. Last week, he was still drinking on his own, still accepting the food I gave him, still “sharpening” his non-existent front claws on the furniture, sleeping with me, wanting to enjoy a walk in the yard, still seeming to have some quality of life. The last couple days have shown he is tired and ready to leave. So, whether today, or tomorrow–Valentine’s Day, or the day following, we know it is time to give him peace.
Perhaps, tomorrow is fitting. Taking him on Valentine’s Day can be our final act of love for him, our time to say farewell to yet another much loved pet that came into our lives as many others have, as a foster that could no longer be with their owner.
Mister, you will always be in our hearts and our memories. Like the many others who have shared our home and our lives, we loved you dearly and will miss you so much. I hope that, in whatever way possible, we do meet again some day, in some form, some plane of existence. Until then, thank you for your love and companionship.
Now, it is Tuesday, February 21, 2023. The SPCA called today to say that Mister’s cremains were ready for pickup. He did not pass on Valentine’s Day. We gave him his fluids outside in the sunshine on the Day of Love, as he was still alert and interested in the world and did not yet seem ready to leave the earthly plane. Later that night, we knew that his time was shortening, and he was preparing to journey on.
Joe and I made the decision that we would call the vet’s office at noon on Wednesday, February 15, to make the arrangements for his passing. Martin had visited him on Valentine’s Day and asked that we let him know when Mister made his journey. I texted Wednesday morning to let him know that Mister was fading, and he planned to come over and say good-bye. He only asked that we take Mister outside in the sunshine since it was a beautiful and sunny, almost 70 degree, day. Martin did not have time to make it as Mister passed at 11:45am, 15 minutes before the planned call to the veterinarian. He left on his own time, and Devon was here to say good-bye, as were Joe and I.
These deaths never get any easier, and the losses never hurt any less. This is the dilemma with being human and accepting the love and joy of sharing our lives with creatures that have much shorter lifespans. For those who feel that they are “just animals” and can easily be replaced, I can only say that those persons have never truly loved one of these wonderful souls. If they had ever, even once, looked into the eyes of one of these beloved beings and accepted the love that is being reflected back into their own eyes, they would never look at life and love the same way again.