This isn’t the post I imagined I would be writing last week when I said I wanted to start writing more often but it is one that needs to be written.
If you read my last post before this, you’ll know that I lost Callie this summer, the end of July. Well, last weekend, I lost my HoneyBun also. Two of the sweetest baby girls a fur mom could ever ask for. Each definitely each had their own personalities. As I always say to potential adopters, all animals are unique and have their own personality and quirks. Just like us.
Both of my girls had been with me through multiple cross-countries moves. From Boston to Utah, to Arizona, to Albuquerque in New Mexico, to Naples, to Boston, and then back to Florida via Cape Coral and then Naples once again. Seriously experienced in the moving game.
Callie loved water and by water, i mean ICE WATER. She loved that ice, boy. Every time you walked into the kitchen, there she was, with her little cry of “Rah rah. Rah rah” She would keep it up until you put some ice cubes in her mug of water. (Princesses drink out of mugs, not bowls, don’t you know??) She would start purring as soon as she put her head over the mug. She sometimes had the cutest little trill of a purr. A coworker of mine out in ABQ called her Velcro because when she would pick her up in the treatment area, Callie would hold onto her for dear life, like velcro. Hard to believe that when my ex-hb and I first adopted her, she didn’t like being picked up and held. She soon learned to love it.
When I first met HoneyBun in the shelter, she didn’t like you reaching over her head, so I learned to do what i called “drive-by petting.” You put your hand out to the side of your pet and start petting them on their side or their back and then slowly work your way up to their head. Get it? Drive by. 🙂 Worked like a charm for her and many others.When I first met HoneyBun in the shelter, she didn’t like you reaching over her head, so I learned to do what i called “drive-by petting.” You put your hand out to the side of your pet and start petting them on their side or their back and then slowly work your way up to their head. Get it? Drive by. 🙂 Worked like a charm for her and many others.
It was especially hard for me to lose Callie. She was the one tie I had in my (single) life that was also there when I was married. We adopted Callie in 2006 from the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA, when she was only one year old. A young girl who had fostered her wrote a letter about her to potential adopters and after reading it, I knew Callie was the right baby girl for us. So that’s how I knew Callie was 15 this year when she passed. She was such a beautiful little girl. So dainty. So talkative when she wanted her ice water. ❤
You’ll note two pics have both Snuggles and HoneyBun. On the round papasan chair, I can just imagine HoneyBun saying, “What the….dude, I was here first!” Note that both of my girls liked to drink out of their own individual glass/mug, given a choice.
With HoneyBun, I’ve never know her true age. I adopted her from the Animal Rescue League of Boston, whose vet had determined she was about 5. I took her to my own vet who said, “mmmm I think she might be older, like 8 or 9.” Older was fine with me. I’ve had a fond spot in my heart for seniors (the underdogs in the pet adoption world) for a long time. I’ve always been Team Animal Underdog. So I’ve always hoped that she was on that younger end of the age range, but it started to be more clear this year that she was more likely on the later end. She developed some cloudiness in her right eye, as you may see from one of the pictures of her. I had my vet here in Naples check her out. It wasn’t an ulcer, and it didn’t seem to be hurting her or like it was affecting her vision. We used some ointment for her eye, which she very sweetly tolerated (followed by a treat, of course). That was back in August.
Both of my baby girls lost weight at the end. We think Callie essentially had renal failure which is very common in cats as they get older, and possibly cancer as well. With HoneyBun, it was determined from blood tests and urinalysis, that she had liver failure and quite possibly cancer. Earlier in the week that she died, she had very high white blood cell counts, but no fever, very high liver numbers and gall bladder numbers. And she was dehydrated. So she got fluids and a long-acting antibiotic by injection and some other stuff as well as a stay overnight with my vet. Tuesday, she came home and she seemed to be doing much better. We scheduled an ultrasound for her the following day with a vet that would come from out of town, hoping to figure out if she had a mass on her liver or just more of an idea of what was going on. That was also when Tropical Storm/Eta was heading toward and made landfall on the Gulf Coast, right around the same time that out of town vet was trying to get to Naples, so her appointment was postponed to the following week.
Unlike with Callie who crashed at the end and crashed hard, HoneyBun seemed to bounce back for a few days. Even without an appetite stimulant, she was excited to eat food and actively engage with me. That Saturday, I volunteered at DAS (Domestic Animal Services, i.e. city/county pound) and when I came home, i had some work to do. HoneyBun was sleeping which didn’t seem out of the norm. After I finished my work, I looked and saw her bowl still had a lot of food left in it. And I noticed that she seemed lethargic and didn’t even want to drink too much water. She would sit by the water fountain or bowl but not actually drink from it. And then I saw her looking at the wall with a kind of blank look on her face. None of that was good.
Whereas HoneyBun had been only slightly anemic on Monday, her blood cell count on Saturday was down to 12 percent. The emergency animal hospital vet agreed with me that to let her go would be the kindest thing I could do for her. So I said goodbye. She and Callie’s ashes are right next to each other in my bedroom. I have all of my animals privately cremated these days so they can always travel with me and be with me, no matter where I may find myself. (For those of you not familiar with the term, “private cremation,” there are two types of animal cremations. Private means you get their ashes back. Group cremations means you don’t get the ashes back.”
So the Herd is getting smaller here on earth, but the Herd is growing up over the Rainbow Bridge. I hope that when my time comes to leave this earth, all my babies will be there to greet me and I will have to watch carefully to not trip over all of them if they all come running to see me. Until then, I have their pictures and their memories in my heart and in my mind.
If I could speak for all the animals that have been personally in my life and with whom I have interacted at the end of their life, I would like to make a plea on their behalf. Yes, I know it’s hard for us humans to say good bye to them in the end. Sometimes humans keep them alive longer than they should, when they are in pain or uncomfortable. And sometimes humans decide they can’t handle being with their furball when they close their eyes for the last time. But please, PLEASE find it in your heart to be with them at the end. They have loved you their entire lives, and it is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to them to be there for them in return. It’s an act of love. Being comforted by someone at the animal hospital just isn’t the same.
So, if you have a furry one in your life, hold them tight after you read this post and tell them you love them and let them lick your face or your hand. Thank you, from me and from them.
And I will close this post with a picture of my teeny-tiny Callie drinking out of a giant bowl of water containing LOTS of ice cubes.