Today was one of the hardest days of my life. Today we had to say goodbye to our cat, Dusty.
We got Dusty the day the war in Iraq started back in March 2003. That day we drove around to all the local shelters to see who was up for adoption. Dusty was an older cat, already seven years old, and obviously very unhappy at the shelter. He was sitting in his litter box, subdued where the other cats and kittens were hyperactive. No one was paying him much attention since he wasn't as "fun" as the other cats. But I knew he was the one when he nuzzled my hand while I was petting him. We signed the papers that day and brought him home. Even though I'd grown up with cats and dogs, Dusty was SP's first pet. He was so excited, buying him toys and a bed to sleep in that he never even set one paw in the entire time we owned it. He came to us with the name Doobie, but after spending a month hiding under our bed he was christened Dusty (for obvious reasons). After that the nicknames came easily - Dusty Springfield; Dusty Wusty Was a Bear, Dusty Wusty Had No Hair; Dustman.
Dusty was with us for every major life event, from getting engaged, to getting married, buying our first home and having Baby Girl. He would sleep at the foot of our bed, always hopping off like clockwork 15 minutes after we turned the lights off. He loved to chase string and the light from a flash light. We nicknamed him Doctor Dusty for how concerned he was when one of us was sick. He was always so low-maintenance that we could leave a bowl of food out and he'd just graze all day. He was never a lap cat, but he would sit next to me on the couch every night while we watched TV.
In the almost 9 years we had him we only had to take him to the vet for illness once. A few years ago he stopped eating and we were using a syringe to force-feed him baby food. He bounced right back like nothing had happened. He's always been a chunker, so when he started losing weight about a year ago we got concerned. The vet said we might be looking at the big C. We monitored him and over the last few weeks it became clear that something was definitely wrong. It all came to a head today when we noticed that he was having trouble walking, that his back legs just didn't seem capable of supporting him anymore.
We knew it wasn't good when they put us in the Comfort Room at the vet's office. A quick talk with the vet confirmed our fears. We had known it was coming, but hearing the words made it unbearable. I will forever be in debt to the amazing vet who took the time to talk with us, make us comfortable and who seemed genuinely upset about what was happening. At the end SP was holding Dusty while I pet his head and we said soothing words to him. Right before the sedative kicked in, Dusty looked at me and nuzzled my hand. In that moment we came full circle. It was one of the best and one of the worst moments of my life. I hope I never forget it.
Dusty, you were the best cat in the world. You were more than a cat - you were a friend. You will be missed for the rest of our lives and there will always be a hole in our heart and someone missing from our family. We are better for knowing you and we love you.
Rest in peace, my friend.
PS. I'm planning to take a small break from blogging. Life has been incredibly difficult lately and I need to focus on other things right now. It won't be a long break since I've got another recipe swap coming up in a few weeks and a roundup from the last one to put together. Thank you, as always, for reading.