This is a tough post to write, but it's got a bittersweet ending. Lots of changes around here lately, as Samantha moved out and into a beautiful new apartment across town. She loves it and she's very happy there. At 20, she's jumped the nest and is moving along on the mainstreet of life. She still works, full time, is going to school and is taking care of things on her own. We're excited for her, although the house without her gets a little more quiet every day. But she's happy; you can see it on her face and in her walk, and that is what we hoped for all along. I told her she'll always have a home here, she can come back anytime, because I believe that where your family is, that's where your home is. But I think she will be okay.
Also, I finally gave in and took Rico to the SPCA. His spraying was out of control, and he had begun to attack our oldest cat relentlessly. Percy, our old boy, took to staying in the master bedroom almost non stop, and Rico kept sneaking in the doggy door and go into the bedroom to look for him.
At the time, Samantha felt, and I'd have to agree, that Rico was trying to establish himself as the Alpha Cat, pushing Percy aside in the process. In any event, taking him to the shelter was extremely hard for me and I ended up staying in the car in a wash of tears while Rick handled the paperwork and the transfer. It didn't help that Rico meowed non-stop the entire way there.
To say I miss that cat would be an understatement. A few days before we took him in, I had a realization that maybe I was being the selfish one, thinking that we were the only possible good owners for him. Rico had to battle his way every single day to be accepted by our other two cats, and I've since found that you can't fight animal instincts with love alone.
In the weeks that have followed, the most amazing change has taken place: Percy now wants to go outside during the day and can often be found lying in the sun underneath the ferns or sound asleep on my gardening bench. He follows me around outside, something he hasn't done in... the more I think about it, a good 5 or 6 years. I cringe when I remember that we used to think he preferred being an indoor cat, when maybe he was staying inside because of Rico all along.
I made sure to put on the SPCA form the exact type of home that Rico needed. I may have been a little too specific, as I filled up the entire form with his habits, but he will make someone a wonderful pet - as long as they don't have other cats.
Following that, and the hardest to write about is that we lost our beloved Buddy last Friday.
All these years he's had a bad habit of eating socks and dish cloths whenever we would leave the house. Some of you know that he had diabetes that caused cataracts in his eyes which took his sight away. I noticed the more he lost his sight, the higher his level of anxiety increased.
He would walk into the living room looking in our general direction trying to see us, and you could see the worry on his face. It wasn't until I'd say something to him, that his entire body would sort of relax. He'd climb up on the couch with us and settle in, sighing contentedly. But when he couldn't find us, we'd end up seeing an assortment of dishtowels, socks, papers, bills, chewed up magazines, whatever he could find in the garbage can - all over the back yard. And the backyard became a minefield of sorts to walk through. Whatever he ate, he pooped out.
There are those who say that blind dogs simply adjust to their predicament. I'm of the opinion now that if you can afford it, definitely consider cataract surgery if your dog is healthy enough.
In any event, the day came when all the socks and whatnot piled up into a ball inside his stomach, making it impossible for him to go to the bathroom or to eat. He'd throw up his food and spent a long and painful week trying to poop. His legs gave out from under him till he could no longer stand. The vet said he needed surgery, something I didn't think we could afford to do. I brought him home, unable to make the decision on my own. After a long night with him, I decided to take him to the vet in the morning and say goodbye for good. But I found I couldn't carry him to the car, it was amazingly difficult.
To my amazement Rick wanted to go ahead with exploratory surgery, at a cost of $600 plus expenses. A lot of expenses. If you knew how frugal and tight with money my husband can be, that might surprise you. Surprised the hell out of me. And sure enough the surgery revealed a nice collection of socks and dishcloths, all wadded up together.
Buddy was fine after the surgery and the next day he walked around, wagging his tail, even peed. But he wouldn't eat. Threw up his food over and over. With diabetes, that's just not a good thing.
Fever set in the following day and when I went to see him early in the morning, I just knew it was time.
The vet wanted to wait a bit. Sometimes, he said, they actually pull out of their fever stage on their own. But I felt differently and told the vet he was in pain, and I didn't want him to suffer. I would give him till noon, but I knew. And so we said our last goodbyes and he passed away on his own terms on one of those glorious Florida mornings that are so cold and chilly and sunny all at the same time, without a cloud in the sky, and I couldn't help thinking it was kind of fitting because that's the type of morning we would have gone out for one of his beloved walks. If I didn't believe so strongly in my faith, I don't know what I'd do. I know he's in a better place at this point and I hope as he crossed the rainbow bridge he could, at last... see.
He was a damn good dog and we will miss him tremendously.