It’s really an awful event when you lose a pet.
Pets are kind of a strange phenomenon. On the surface it can seem odd how these little animals become such huge parts of our lives. Yet, somehow they worm their way into our hearts, become another member of our families and soon become such a huge presence in our lives that having them there feels so natural. It’s an empty feeling when they have to finally leave us.
You begin to create a personal routine with them. You get to know their habits and they learn yours. This owner/pet relationship starts to expand more than just the obligation of feeding this creature; it starts to grow to heartfelt affection. Sure, they might get you aggravated at times, but any minor incidents are quickly forgiven.
Having to decide to put a pet out of pain is a terrible thing to experience. Perhaps non-pet owners wouldn’t understand how emotional it can be. You become wracked with guilt and remorse. Selfishly you don’t want to make the decision. Perhaps, you’ll be naively optimistic that things will get better and this life-ending decision will be taken away from you. But despite hope that doesn’t happen and you watch your furry pal sit and suffer. It’s on you to spare them further pain.
It’s a heavy burden your friend is trusting you with and depending on you for. They’ve trusted you all this time. Years of caring for them, they could always count on you and now you’re faced with this big decision that you have to make for their sake. It’s a tough emotional moment to be in.
When it came to the time for me to do this for my cat Bay aka Cotton, I forced myself to swallow the fact this had to happen and accepted it eclipsed my selfish desire to keep him longer. I felt it would have been even worse to drag his weakening condition out longer and have endure more pain.
It might seem like viewing this in a compassionate perspective will alleviate some of the sadness of it all. It might be the right thing and you’re sparing him, but it doesn’t make you feel any better having to do it. It certainly won’t make you feel any better having to say goodbye to your friend.
He was set free with compassion and sympathy. When it had come to that time I held my little pal as he was put to sleep. Fortunately, the vet was very kind and clearly understood what an upsetting thing this was for a pet owner to do. As he quickly slipped away and I felt his life leaving him the vet commented to me, “I’m sure he wants to thank you for giving him a good life.”
That statement gets me choked up everytime I think about it. Yes, he had a good life. He was well taken care of, was surrounded by people who loved him, was always well protected. Heck, he had the run of the house and staked out any spot he wanted at any time he wished. He had things pretty good.
But he also gave me a ‘good life’ too. He was able to brighten up my day just by doing his usual behavior that I got so used to. Hopping up on me as soon as he saw I was going to settle in for awhile, waking me up in the middle of the night by tapping my chest indicating he wanted to get under the covers too. He hated those cold winter nights.
Him knowing that with three snaps of my fingers I wanted him to come to me and he’d oblige and come running. Meowing at me to open the blinds so he could curiously look out the window and hopefully spot a squirrel or bird. Rubbing his head against my leg signaling to me he was looking for some attention. Falling asleep in the crook of my arm as I watched a movie late at night. Getting all excited when he’d see me grab his brush and he knew he was going to get a brushin’.
I really wish he could have stayed longer so I could have had more of what he gave back to me.
Now that he’s gone there’s a real void around here. I keep instinctively looking towards his various hangout spots half-expecting to see him sitting and staring at me like he always did. I’ll momentarily forget that when I sit down now he’s not going to be ready to leap up and relax with me. That first night after he left I had trouble sleeping with my mind preoccupied thinking about him. As I was finally dozing off to sleep I suddenly awoke thinking I heard him meowing outside my bedroom door.
I’m really going to miss that little guy. I hope I did give him a good life, because he certainly helped make mine brighter by being around. Farewell old friend.