Warning: this blog post is about pet loss. Anyone who has ever lost a pet can relate to this post. You may even find it personally therapeutic. If not, proceed with whatever you were doing previously. At the end of the week, I will be losing my best pal for the last 20 years, and I need to write about it.
Imagine a pet you have had a long time could talk. Imagine all the history it has been privy to and witnessed. Imagine all the human conditions they have endured: the love, the hate, the arguing, the crying, the grief, the worries, the family members that have come and gone, and all the people (as well as other animals) they have encountered throughout their lifetime. Imagine the challenges they have gone through themselves. Some pets go through numerous owners before they enter their own demise.
Fortunately, my cat, Pookie, lived his life knowing only one mommy. Pookie has endured many different types of interaction displayed by the humans: love, some hate, jealousy, and a lot of crying. Pookie is survived by many folks who I honestly didn’t expect him to outlive. This list includes my mother and father-in-laws, a close friend who died when she was barely 40, my brother-in-law (barely 50), and even my own sister. Pookie has gone through countless milestones, relocated three times with the family, and tolerated birds and other dogs. Pookie is survived by his late sister, one dog, and two birds. I was only married for six years when I acquired both him and his late sister Mookie. They were just weaned at six weeks old when I kidnapped them as they were curled up in one big, fuzzy ball of fur.
Pookie had a strange way of comforting me. I kept getting vibes that he knew why I was upset at times. I once had a ringneck dove named Mulder who died very suddenly. Ringneck doves have a pretty dramatic exit. As they begin their transition to the next life, their entire body forms into the shape of a cross. Witnessing the death unfold, Pookie was sitting very still and quiet, situated next to me and the bird as things progressed. It was as if he knew exactly what was happening, solely focusing on paying his respects. I will never forget that day for as long as I live.
Pookie just celebrated his 20th birthday. I never had trouble remembering his birthday because he was born on the same day my father died 24 years prior. But Pookie is not doing well: he has lost a tremendous amount of weight, has severe arthritis, and simpy not enjoying life anymore. A final decision was made over the weekend to enter him into eternal rest later in the week. I have been preparing for this for awhile, but I also realize that no matter how well prepared a person may be, you’re never really primed when that time comes.
I’ve always considered Pookie and his late sister as the ultimate gift. At times I wondered if they were the eyes, the voice, comfort, and warmth from the other world. I’ve always thought it was both weird and coincidental that they were born the same day my father died, and two days before my mother’s birthday. Even more coincidental, my sister owned the mama cat that gave birth to Pookie and the rest of the litter.
My sister selected Mookie for me exclusively. She was a gorgeous Calico that resembled no one else in the litter. But then when I saw her and Pookie (a tuxedo kitten) curled up in a ball, I didn’t have the heart to separate the two. I got Pookie by accident, and no one knew I had a second cat until we brought them home from my sister’s house that evening.
Non pet-owners need to understand that it’s not just about the unconditional love we get from our furbabies, they also possess so many memories that no other human can even fathom. Who knows what Pookie has seen and heard in the last 20 years, and those secrets will go with him into the next life. As of late, I am incredibly upset that I am about to lose my ultimate buddy, and have absolute zero interest in any human interaction, except when I have no choice. Pookie has been the love of my life and who has been at my side through every step of the way in every aspect of my life. He deserves a peaceful ending, and I find peace in that he has lived an outstanding long life with a loving family who cared and nurtured him through and through.
To my father……thank you for the gift of Pookie. I hope Pookie enters the next life with plenty of good reports.