I have been putting off this post for a long time, but I’m having this moment of “just rip the band-aid off and write the thing.” So here goes, short and sweet-ish.
The Menagerie page has changed significantly. Three of our furriest family members’ photos have been moved to the “Gone Away” section of the page.
Mom and I lost Plumpy the cat, John the dog, and Sam the horse between December 2012 and May 2013.
Plumpy developed the kitty version of breast cancer and underwent chemo treatment, but it didn’t work. I saw her at Christmas, knowing it was probably the last time I would see her. She slept by my ear as she always does, and was happy to sit with me at the table. Usually she tries to snatch food off my plate, but she wouldn’t even eat eggs offered to her. After I left, she went downhill quickly, and the tumor had grown considerably in just a few days. She wouldn’t leave my room, she didn’t want to be touched, and she wouldn’t eat. There was no question it was time, and Mom promised me she told Plumpy I was so sorry I couldn’t be there.
John defied the odds of big dogs and his breed, living until the very old age of 16. Besides being stiff and slightly senile, he was in fairly good health well into old age. But when he started losing control of his hindquarters and getting up and down became difficult… at least he wasn’t in bad shape for very long. John was the last of the original canine crew. He passed on May 2nd. Because I was in the midst of making tough decisions about Sam, mom waited 10 days or so before she told me about John. I was slightly furious, because by not telling me, I wasn’t able to be there for her when it was most painful, but I understand and appreciate her attempts at giving me one thing to deal with at a time.
The most shocking and by far the most difficult loss for me was my sweet Sam. I can’t bear to speak about it much just yet, but as we were treating a stubborn ethmoid hematoma, he developed an undifferentiated sarcoma that had begun to invade his brain. His vet said there is no medical link between the two… it’s just an unfair coincidence. He was having extreme neurological symptoms. We got him home, just barely, he picked a shady spot by the drive, and we gave him a glorious send off. May 3rd was the day.
In the last year-and-a-half, we’ve lost four animals to cancer: Joey, B, Plumpy, and Sam… John has been the only one to see a very old age and a natural decline. It seems very much like a rude coincidence from the universe, but we know all our animals come into our lives for very good reasons. Maybe the powers that be, whatever they may be, know we are the right people to care for them until the very end of their days. Though it goes without saying, the world is more empty without each one of them.