Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saying Goodbye

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.
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22 comments:

  1. I'm so incredibly sorry for your loss. I'm a huge cat lover and until last year, had the same one since I was 13. I understand your pain. Take time to heal :(

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  2. My heart goes out to you my friend. I know the feeling of petting your beloved friend while you say goodbye and it truly is heartbreaking. Dusty knew that he was loved and you gave him a wonderful life. Hugs to you, SP, and Baby Girl.

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  3. I'm in tears. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. Love you. And love that little guy. RIP Dusty.

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  4. You poor thing. I'm so sorry for the loss of your sweet cat! It sounds like you were an incredible blessing to him an gave him a life he may not have had otherwise. Thinking and praying for you today. :(

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  5. My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. It is so hard to lose a family member. Just this year our 14 year Jack Russell crossed he Rainbow Bridge. It amazes me how much love those four-legged family members give to us.

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  6. I'm so sorry Sarah - loosing a friend is never easy. He was one lucky cat though - you gave him a second chance at life, and it seems as though he lived it to the fullest. A big hug is sent over to you and your family.

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  7. I am so sorry to hear this sad news! It sounds like you and your family gave Dusty a great life. Hold on to all of those great memories!! You and your family are in my thoughts. Happy new year!

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  8. I'm very sorry, Sarah. I know how much you loved Dusty :(

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  9. I am so very sorry for your loss. You gave Dusty such an incredible life from the moment you saw him in that shelter and knew, despite being older and less feisty, that he was the cat for you. It's absolutely amazing the kind of mark our pets leave on our hearts - may you always treasure the sweet memories of him.

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  10. Wow, dusty does look a lot like my boy (as you mentioned earlier). He was SO lucky to have you guys - you saw through the torture that the animal shelter was putting him through and adopted him. What a service to adopt older cats - that seems to never happen!

    The biggest hardship of pet ownership is that we nearly always outline them. I haven't yet experience the loss of a pet, because like SP, my first pets came to me in adulthood. I wish I had more words of encouragement but I don't. I am thankful that you gave him a life out of the shelter and you were also able to give him a dignified passing.

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  11. I am so sorry for your loss. Your post brought tears to my eyes, as I know first hand what it's like to have the love of an animal. They are so much more than pets, they are family members. It sounds like your home was the best and most loving environment for Dusty over the past 7 years. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

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  12. I'm so sorry for your loss. My T&P to you and your family.

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  13. I'm so sorry...my heart goes out to you.
    Look forward to reading your blog when your ready to come back!

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  14. Praying for comfort and peace for you. I am sorry for your loss. Take as much time as you need--we understand.

    Blessings,
    Jessica

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  15. What a beautiful tribute to Dusty and the part he played in your lives. From giving an adult cat a second chance at happiness to being there when he needed you to make the most humane (and difficult) decision, he was as lucky to have you as you were to share in his life. I hope you find peace and comfort in happy memories.

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  16. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend Dusty. You, SP and Baby Girl are in my thoughts and prayers. I know how hard it is to lose one of those 4-legged friends.

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  17. I'm so sorry to hear about Dusty. It's so hard to lose a beloved pet and it sounds like Dusty had a very loving home with you, creating happy memories that will live on in your heart. You're in my thoughts xx

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  18. I am so sorry for you :( I know how hard it is to lose a pet. Hugs to you.

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  19. Sending you love and hugs. I'm so sorry for your loss. Back when I first started reading your blog, I used to love the cat photos you'd share. It's obvious how much you loved him and how cherished he was by your family. Thinking of you all.

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  20. I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is to lose a member of the family. My thoughts go out to every one of you.

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  21. I am so sorry to hear about Dusty. It sounds like he had a wonderful place in your home and loved you very much. Thinking of you, SP, and Baby Girl.

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  22. This just breaks my heart and I cried while reading. I adopted an older cat (Butters) in June 2011, and a mere two months of having him, he developed a tumor and we too, had to say goodbye to our beloved friend. I think about Butters all the time. But to make the best of things, I looked at it as his way of giving us the opportunity to rescue (two) other cats who are in need of loving homes. Trust that it will get better and take comfort in knowing he is no longer suffering.

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