Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Good Bye, Good Boy

This is the toughest post I've had to create in my short, non-illustrious, pro-bono career as author of this site.

Last Friday, 8 June 2007, I said, "Good bye" to a good mate of mine for the last time. One of my two pet cats, Buzzard, died after more than 13 years as my furry companion.

I'm not gonna get all sappy about it but I will say that he will be sadly missed. And not only by me. Those who 'knew' him, I believe, truly enjoyed his personality - which could be accurately described as 80% cat, 20% dog. At least that's the way I always looked at him.

There was a point last summer where he was looking uncharacteristically lethargic. After a visit to the vet, it was determined he had diabetes. I was told I would need to administer insulin injections twice a day... and immediately thought, "No way I can do this."

Thankfully, I have a friend who is great with cats and loves them more than anyone else I know. She ensured me it was "no big deal" and encouraged me through the initial period. After a few weeks, I was an old pro and - sure enough - it was "no big deal."

A month, or so, later, he was gaining weight, taking care of his black and white coat, and springing back to life before my eyes. I was thrilled. I think he was, as well.

Fast forward to this spring and his glucose levels were leveling out. About two months ago, I got the word from the vet that the insulin treatment was no longer necessary (of course, this was about two weeks after spending $150 on a tiny bottle of insulin!)

"I'm golden," I thought, as my impending trip to Ireland inched closer by the week. I didn't want to burden my friend with having to deal with the syringes and everything... nor did I want to, if avoidable, spring the cash to board him at the vets so they could take care of it.

However, about a month after that good news, he began losing weight again - and I could tell he wasn't taking good care of his coat, either. I was a bit worried, so during a follow-up visit, I mentioned his weight loss and was told that it was normal after being off the insulin treatments. As explained, it made sense to me.

As the following weeks went on, he appeared to be continuously losing weight and his coat was looking matty. He was shedding like a bastard - and I knew it was abnormal because my other cat had a clean, smooth, shiny coat that was hardly shedding... even after the early hot spells we had this spring (so hot, I was friggin' shedding, for crying out loud).

I called and made an apppointment to bring him in again. Things just didn't seem right with the l'il guy.

He had a severe loss of appetite - my friends that know him can attest, that is about as abnormal as he could get - and he was spending his entire day just sitting/laying up against the wall, under the window in the dining room. Another uncharacteristic trait, as he was always in my face, mewing his silent meow (he always had what seemed like permanent laryngitis - one of his many unique qualities).

This was last Tuesday - a week ago. The bloodwork came back the next day and he was diagnosed with pancreatitis. The urinalysis hadn't come back yet (that would take 5-7 days) but there was also the possibility of a kidney infection and/or UTI (urinary tract infection).

I was worried. Not so much about his health, as I was assured everything was treatable. I was worried about how I was going to manage to get the necessary medication into him on a daily basis. The old cliché about giving a cat a pill... well, it's a cliché for a reason. It ain't easy. Never mind four per day.

But, having gone through the insulin thing last summer and all winter, I was up for the task. Then, after a couple days of flying fur (his) and scratched hands (mine), he just stopped eating altogether. I called the doc and she suggested I bring him in so she could install a 'feeding tube'.

I know what alot of you might be thinking - this is outrageous. If you knew this guy, you'd probably go along with it, like I did.

So, I brought him in on Friday for the operation. Our drive to the vet that afternoon would be the last time I was with him while he was alive.

I got a call at about 7:45 Friday evening and my vet, distraught and crying, told me "we lost him." Due to some complications after the surgery, he was gone.

In no way do I hold the doctor responsible. How could I? After all, she was doing everything she could to get him back in good health. Far more than I could ever have done on my own... by a country mile. It was just an unfortunate event.

I'm gonna miss him all to hell, there's no doubt about that. But he lived a good 13-plus years. And not a day went by that he didn't manage to put a smile on my face in some way - even on my darkest days. He was the best. I'll remember him always.

Good Bye, Good Boy.


Anonymous said...

Nice post, G, in memory of a good guy.

Here are a couple of verses from this great Dylan tune, that seems appropriate during a time like this: "He Was a Friend of Mine"

He was a friend of mine
He was a friend of mine
Every time I think about him now
Lord I just can't keep from cryin'
'Cause he was a friend of mine

He never done no wrong
He never done no wrong
A thousand miles from home
And he never harmed no one
And he was a friend of mine

He was a friend of mine
He was a friend of mine
Every time I hear his name
Lord I just can't keep from cryin'
'Cause he was a friend of mine.

Rock on, little The Buzzard.


Maria Alva said...

Beautiful eulogy. I'm sure he'll never be too far from you...that's the way cats are.

Ég samhryggjast þig, Vizlát.

Viszlát Sjáumst said...

JG - Thanks so much, man. That's a great little tribute. Rock on, indeed.

Maria - I think you're right.

Takk kærlega. Ég þakka þinn hugsun.
(hope that makes sense!)