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.