If you are a long-time reader here, you know that I have more than an abundance of pets! That’s because have a soft spot in my heart for most animals. Back in 2004, I tried to rescue all of the homeless animals at the local animal shelter–and then some! At one point, we owned 21 cats, 5 dogs, 2 rabbits, a hamster, and a parakeet! Our pet food bills were quite shocking in those days, and Ed was just about ready to jump ship.
Fast-forward nearly nine years later, and here we are–aging folks, left with aging pets! Ed and I have already said “good-bye” to several of “our dependents” over the past several years. These days we’re left with only 13 cats, 2 dogs, a parakeet and 6 chickens. I’m not sure of the age of “Tweety”, our parakeet, since he, too, is a “rescue”, but I’ve had him for over 8 years. He has to be living on borrowed time.
Several of our pets were older when I adopted them, so some passed away after a relatively short time. Some of our younger pets developed illnesses which cut their lives short, as well. Such is the life of a pet owner. Throughout the years, the area surrounding our home has become a virtual pet cemetery, with an assortment of occupants.
No matter how many pets we lose, it never gets any easier. After the initial shock of losing a pet has worn off, I always try to concentrate on all of the good days we had together, and the joy we brought each other. However, this doesn’t help to fill the empty void that losing a pet creates–even when many are still left!
A while back, I wrote about our struggles with our pet rabbit, Honey Bun. Honey Bun had been with me for over eight years. I’m not sure how old he was when I got him, but he was already big.
Near the end, Honey Bun eventually became paralyzed in his hind legs, and remained that way until his death, about 2 months later. We did the best we could by Honey Bun, but we were relieved (for him) when he took his last breath–the day before Ed’s 63rd birthday. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss that old brown rabbit, especially when I visit the carrot patch!
Eugene’s the gray cat, who’s looking at the camera
We lost one of our cats, named Eugene, to cancer, last year, too. Eugene struggled with eating for a long time because the growth affected his throat. We tried to make sure he had some soft food to eat, and let nature take its course.
In his final days, Eugene found a hiding place so he could be alone, but Ed found him, and took food to him. Then Eugene found another hiding place, which Ed wasn’t able to find. We assumed he’d gone off and died, as cats often do.
For several days Ed worried about Eugene, and said he just wanted to be able to give him a “proper burial”. Then, one day I went out to the cat cafe'( a structure Ed built to feed the cats on), and lo and behold, there lay Eugene, dead, underneath it. He was nestled among some junk that had been stored there. (Eugene had been dead for a day or two, which is how I managed to spot him.) Eugene had come home to die, and in doing so, granted Ed his wish to give him a “proper burial”.
Ethan (in younger years)
2013 isn’t looking so good for our old hound dog, Ethan. He was one of a litter of 10 puppies that were dropped off at the shelter, along with their mother. Each puppy was named after a cast member of the reality show “Survivor”, hence the name “Ethan”.
Ethan is about to celebrate his ninth birthday, but he suffers from a variety of issues, and is not in good health. We’re not positive, but we suspect he, too, may be a victim of some kind of cancer. A couple of weeks ago, Ethan was really sick, and I just knew the end was near for Ethan. After a day or two, he rallied and is still with us.
These days, Ethan spends most of his time basking in the sunshine on cooler days, or resting in the shade on the warmer days. Ethan LOVES to eat, and for the moment, his appetite is still good. He knows exactly what time supper is supposed to be served, and he will loudly remind us if we run late! Ethan is a bit lazy, and has always laid down to eat his food. The day Ethan starts refusing to eat, we’ll go ahead and get the shovel ready. It will take quite a hole to accommodate that dog!
Shakespeare once wrote, “Parting is such sweet sorrow…”, but, in my opinion, there is nothing “sweet” about parting through death. It’s the unfortunate downside of loving something– or someone. Saying goodbye is always so darn hard!