2011 was a horrible year for me, as I lost more pets than any pet lover should be expected to endure. I had already lost my 15 year old lab/cocker mix Lucky in late 2010 and I expected that I would be spared any further losses for the foreseeable future. As it turned out I was wrong.
On July 19, 2011 I received a call from my neighbor that my precious Alpha was lying under a tree in her yard and appeared to be failing. I rushed home and found her there, laying under the tree, basking in the sun, but she was already gone. She was 15 years and three months old. While it is perhaps not old for a cat after the horrible time she had gone through in her life, with collapsed lungs, broken legs, smashed jaw, it was a surprise she lasted as long as she did and I am grateful, that in the end, she slipped over to the Rainbow Bridge lying under a tree, in the sun.
On September 6 I found Con (full name Amy’s Con) in the garden with an obvious broken leg. It appeared he had been hit by a car. I took him to the vet and they whisked him away and took x-rays. They led me into a darkened room and I looked in horror at the image of his shattered back leg. “Can you fix it” I said, my voice waivering ”no” the vet said “the break is too bad” “can you amputate?” I said, tears already washing down my face. “We could” the vet said “but he is an old cat (15), and he likes to be outdoors, it would not be fair to him”. I kept my eyes focused on the x-ray. “Sometimes you just have to know when to let go” the vet said. I stood there transfixed. “If he were mine” he said softly “I would let him go”. I signed the paperwork and kissed him on the head. “See you at the Rainbow Bridge” I said as I scritched his head and watched his eyes close. I picked up his ashes a few days later and wondered what to do with them. I thought of various places to put them, in the back yard with the other animals, but then I thought “no he hated the other animals, he would hate that” so he is where he always loved to be, behind my computer.
I am now copying this from a forum I post to the weekend that I lost Judy.
My most precious darling Judy chose Thursday October 13, 2011 to slip over to the Rainbow Bridge, on her own terms, and by her own rules. She jumped up onto the bed and snuggled up to me, and there she slept. At some point of me extracating myself from her body and going to work and my Mum getting up and checking on her she chose that moment to go to the rainbow bridge. I have no idea why, other than the fact that she was an 11 year old boxer and way older than she ought to be, she was still puppy like the day before, she frolicked in the yard with Cueball, she ate her dinner as heartily as any dog ate her dinner the night before. And yet, and yet, she knew it was time and she chose to take her leave while Gramma and Norman were visiting, in order to give me arms to grieve. There has never been a dog more perfect than Judy, a charming young lady, who always knew her manners, who was always a perfect polite boxer. I am slobbering at her loss, Cueball is beside himself with grief. Mum, Norman and I went away for the weekend after she died and her loss was out of my mind for a while, but now I get back to the house and she is not there, there is no joyous welcome, and her absence is palpable. I know that I was holding on way past the years that I was allowed to have, but damn, I would have wished for a few more days.
Us human animals lovers are doomed to grieve, our pets are never meant to outlive us, we are always meant to outlive them. The pain is never lessened by the inevitability however, we know it is going to happen and yet we take them into our hearts. I will never apologize for that.