Friday, August 12, 2011


This has been the worst week, and I am so glad it is over and done with. I spent today writing emails and making phone calls after discovering that my daughter's school materials (which had come earlier in the week) had arrived without of couple of the key components which I will need Monday morning.

Monday morning.

As in: the office is closed until Monday. I have been kicking myself all day long.

I blame myself because I should have checked as soon as the material arrived, but I didn't because...

My husband had a pretty substantial (but hopefully very temporary) change at work, and I did my very best to be supportive. I think I was pretty successful, but I probably should have done more to stay on track in other areas. I might have made it, too, but for one thing...

The unthinkable happened, which pretty much blew the whole rest of the week for me.

My husband noticed that our kitty, Petey, was acting weird. She was actually acting super-friendly and cuddly. Petey is normally shy and retiring, afraid of everything loud and busy, especially Clementine, so it really was odd. Right after he mentioned her to me, I picked her up and snuggled with her, and immediately noticed a strange scent. Her breath smelled strangely sour - a smell I was sadly familiar with. It was galvanizing.

I lost a cat, Winnie, years ago to kidney failure, and though I didn't know it then, soon found out that the scent was a byproduct of the illness. I smelled it as soon as I picked Winnie up that morning. She was acting odd, and I asked my (now) ex-husband to take her to the vet. He did, and soon the vet called to tell me she was in kidney failure, that there was nothing to be done.

I decided to have her put down. I can't remember the details, but I couldn't go into town that day, and never saw Winnie again.

I'd had Winnie since before we had children.
Since before we lived in the country.
Since before we lived in the state, or even the state before that.
Several houses, and two children and three states away. So much crammed into so little time.

We'd been through so much and she was so loving and she died without me. She was only five. I've never forgotten it.

Our vet was in town, quite a ways from home, near my (then) husband's office, and because there was nothing the vet could do for Winnie, my (then) husband went and held her while she was put to sleep, a kindness I will never forget and can never repay. I couldn't be there, and I couldn't make her wait until I could.

So, when I picked up Petey and smelled that smell, I wanted so badly to be wrong. As the evening progressed, I was less and less able to convince myself. Petey slept on our bed, cuddled with us, and seemed so frail and weak. Petey was not old and had not been sick, and the smell... I just knew.

Dan and I petting Petey together

Dan called early the next morning, got an 8:30 appointment, and I took Petey in. Our vet saw her and gently examined her, and took blood. He told me that he was going to keep her and would call me with the results, but something in his voice told me what I didn't want to hear. I cried all the way home.

The vet called within the hour and told me the news - she was in kidney failure. Her numbers were too high to accurately measure. There was nothing he could do. He would try if I wanted him to, but it probably wouldn't be a permanent fix and... I don't know what else he said, but I told him I'd talk to Dan and call back.

Dan and I decided to have her put down. There is no way to justify making an animal suffer if there is no way for them to get better.

Dan called our vet. I laid down on the bed and cried.

We went over a bit later, and we all held her and petted her while she was eased out of her pain.

Petey's beautiful golden-green eyes

She died before the vet had finished the injection.

It was painless and quiet.

We weren't sure, right before, if Clementine should see the process. Our vet said that he thought Clementine would be okay, but that she could leave if she wanted, one of us would go with her. That's what we told her.

But Clementine asked to stay, and we are all glad she did because right before the injection, Petey raised up and nuzzled Clementine, wanting to be petted. In the moments before she died, she snuggled with Clementine, something she almost never did. Clementine has always been too active and full of energy for shy little Petey.

We all cried. I am so grateful that Clementine's last moments with Petey were good. Grateful to Petey for one last gift. Thankful and grateful to God or whomever arranges such things in the Universe for giving our small child the priceless gift of acceptance and love from our cherished pet.

Thursday, we all went together at lunchtime and picked up Petey's ashes. I've never had a pet cremated before, but I badly needed to have her back, though I'm still not sure why.

Me and Petey

Today we got a note about Petey's passing from the vet. It was moving and heartfelt. We will always cherish it.


I should have looked through the material, and I have a good excuse as to why I didn't. But that doesn't really matter and now I'm kicking myself.

Having written this, though, I think I'll stop kicking myself. I think I'd rather spend my time thinking of other things, doing other things.

My cat is in a tasteful gray box on the mantle. I wish she wasn't, but I thank her for her love and companionship, and am glad to have the reminder.

My husband is home in bed, tired, after a good, productive, but slightly hectic week at work. I'm glad he's here. I hope the "slightly hectic" is ever-so temporary. I will be joining him upstairs soon. 

My sweet daughter is asleep in her bed. She asks questions about Petey several times a day. She thinks Petey is in Heaven with my Dad, and my cat Winnie, and her sister's cat, and the dog my dad had when he was a boy.

Clementine never met my Dad, his dog, Winnie, or her sister's cat. Petey gave her a connection to all those people and pets. All those souls and personalities. She knows that Petey is with them all, and is closer to them as a result.

Thank you, sweet Petey.

Thank you so much for everything.

We will all miss you and we will not ever forget you.