Well it's September 25th. The day I dread most each year since 2008 when I had to say goodbye to my sweet boy "Shooter". It's the DAY I dread, but I don't dread the blog. Why? I'm not sure really...maybe it's a bit theraputic to 'talk' about Shooter and share memories and pictures with you?! I'm not really sure but for those of you who "get it" - THANK YOU!
To me, when you lose a pet you've lost a family member. Even though it is not widely recognized as such. Just because some people DON'T "get it" why should that matter? I mean, it doesn't change how it feels to the person who is grieving, right? Let's put it this way: If you lose a sibling you get bereavement from work, you get support from all over, etc. But you lose a pet and some insensitive people will even say stuff like "it was JUST a cat/dog...just get another one".
I hate that phrase more than I can tell you. To a woman during childbearing years who doesn't have children but adopts a pet, that IS her child. I rarely even hear from my siblings...and they certainly didn't cuddle with me on the couch every night for 15 years! When I went through a herniated disc issue I was in constant pain and much of the time I spent out like a light because of the medication. Were my siblings there? Nope. Did Shooter ever leave my side? Only to eat or go to the litter box. Seriously.
Shooter didn't really like people very much. He loved me and much later he learned to love Jim. The two were NOT immediate pals! In fact, one of the first things Jim said when he moved in was admitting "I'm not much of a cat person". Boy did Shooter turn THAT around!
Shooter was a rescue by the way...adopted by my Ex and I and my Dad went with us to pick out a furbaby. I walked by the little cage with some tiny little grey kittens in it. Most of them were snuggled together in the back. One came to the cage door and when I put my finger up to it, this lil grey puff ball wrapped his paws around it immediately. My ex said "well don't just pick the first one, let's look at all of them". My Dad said "too late, that one has already picked Doreen!" He was SO RIGHT! I remembered his markings so I would remember which one of the grey kittens "picked me" and that's the one I chose (back) :)
As I said earlier, Shooter didn't like many people. But he was REALLY attached to me. That's how I used to preface it when I would 'introduce' him to people. My Father-in-law at the time would tell my ex "She loses that cat she's gonna lose her mind". I recently told my Ex Father-in-law that he was right about that :(
Shooter had some health issues - - including going into renal failure at around 2 yrs old. TWO vets told me he had about 6 mo - 5 years tops. I got a third opinion from Dr. Allen in Plain City, Ohio. He said that Shooter was in renal failure but he wasn't going to give up on him just yet. With Dr. Allen's help, we were able to have Shooter for a full 15 years. For that I will always be grateful to that wonderful man!
But then September 2008 came and Shooter was having problems. I had to eventually take him to Medvet Animal hospital in Columbus and he had to be there overnight. He HATED being in the car. He liked this one Whitney Houston song though and I would have to sing it to him over and over all the way to and from the vet. The second I would stop, he's start meow-crying again. (TO THIS DAY I still can't hear that song, let alone try to sing it.)
So a week after his 15th birthday Shooter had to stay overnight at Medvet. I went home and brought back his favorite purple fleece blanket because I think in my heart I already knew. They told us Shooter had tumors in his belly and yes, the cancer could be removed but they would just grow back and they'd have to keep probing him (I won't go there), the tumors would just grow back and if I did nothing he would eventually just slowly starve to death. They left us alone to make that terrible decision.
Just then my co-worker Shaun texted or called me (not sure) but I just remember he was on the phone telling me "you know what you have to do and you know WHY you have to do it. To put Shooter through all of this would be for you and not for him. The unselfish thing for you to do is let him go and not have to go through the suffering". I hated that he was right.
They took my blanket and wrapped Shooter in it and brought him to me and I held him the whole time just telling him how much we loved him. I knew the second he was gone. "it" happened when I literally saw his light/spirit move from his right eye through his left eye and then out the side of his lil head and disappear. By best pal....my boy....my baby. Gone.
My husband took me directly to my family Dr. for any kind of medical help I could get. I couldn't take the pain. Since I am bawling my eyes out as I type this out, apparently I still can't. Our pets are family. I don't recommend telling anyone - especially me - "it was just a cat" He was SO much more.
The ONE THING that made me stop crying was we decided to take all of Shooter's indoor climbing toys etc... and build a little memorial 'park' in our backyard for the outside furbabies to play on. It took us the whole weekend and it started out small but we've kept up with it and today "Shooter park" is better than ever. A forever reminder of all he meant to me.
Shooter park Sept 2008
Shooter park 2013
So, today (and every day) I defend Pet loss grief on behalf of anyone who has lost a furry baby/furry family member. Their pawprints are forever left on our hearts :'( I know Shooter certainly left his on mine.