Once In a While

People sometimes ask if I am a cat person or a dog person and I never quite know how to answer.


In truth I’ve had a mix of dogs and cats since I was about 14, and I really can’t imagine life without both. There is no either/or. I like them for different reasons, and over the years that means that I have given my heart to 9 cats and 4 dogs. It also means that I have had my heart broken by 8 cats and 3 dogs. This is what it means to be an animal person. You will give your heart to what cannot outlive you. You will pour love and care and concern (and often large amounts of money) into an animal and it will reward you with purring and barking and doggy smiles and cat drool (and barfing on your shoes), until the day it can’t.

As I type this, brave, brave sir Toby is slowly walking around my back yard. I am sitting on a chair and working away, and he is doing his best impression of a brave explorer cat. I’m keeping a watchful eye out for the bully magpies.

This is Toby’s last day. The vet and I, in February, thought that he might make it 2 months with the pancreatitis, but he’s actually made it 5. Now there are more days with strong pain medication than without, Subcutaneous fluids every night, and he’s starting to eat less and hide more. He is slowing down and it is time.

Today is a glorious last day. Crab for breakfast, cuddles in the chair in my office. He has been laying in the sunshine, and in a few hours we will drive to the vet. I have promised him that I will stay with him to the end. My voice will be the last thing he hears. I will scratch his ears until there is nothing left to feel. I’ll get his ashes back and he’ll go under Gabe’s tree, next to Maggie and Delta.

My heart is broken and it will be more so after tonight.

It is but a trifle. The smallest bit of inconvenience to have shared 7 spectacular years with Brave, Brave Sir Toby.


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8 Responses to Once In a While

  1. sandra says:

    Oh, Cheryl I feel for you. Loving them and then having to say goodbye and let go is heart wrenching. But you’ll remember the purrs and morning mouse presents. You’ll always have those memories.

  2. Mali says:

    Aw, Toby. Sending hugs. When we lost our last cat, I didn’t know it was her last day. It’s always the kindest thing, but always hard to do.

  3. Chris says:

    I am so sorry. It is so hard to lose our fur babies- I started crying reading this. Remembering our last loss 4 years ago, as I sit here tonight comforting 2 unhappy terriers as we all listen to the fireworks (illegal here and yet….). The love they bring us is worth the broken hearts and yet…my heart breaks every time. Thinking of you tonight.

  4. Naomi says:

    I’m sorry to hear this. I’m relatively new to pet ownership, so have yet to experience this heartache (although my dog once had a severe case of poisoning and I thought her end was nigh). It sounds like you gave Toby a wonderful life and send off. I hope your happy memories of him bring you comfort.

  5. Ruby says:

    I sense that the pain of losing Toby is excruciating. I am so sorry for your loss. I imagine that your heart will be hurting for many days. I admire the courage it must have taken to let him go. I also admire how you have gallantly stated that this sadness is part of sharing a pet’s life (after having gone through this too, I must admit a part of me lives in fear of experiencing it again, but I too believe that the pain of the eventual loss is so worth all of the years of joy and love). My heart goes out to you, and I will be thinking of you. Hugs.

  6. loribeth says:

    *sniffle* I am sorry, Mrs. Spit. As someone said above, you gave Toby a good life and sendoff. (((hugs)))

  7. a says:

    I’m sorry for your loss…

  8. Jane says:

    Oh, I’m sorry to hear that Brave Sir Toby’s no longer with us.

    It takes such courage to let them go.

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