It’s always hard saying goodbye to a pet. Especially so soon after such a recent loss of another. But that is where I found myself this past week.
Gracie. Miss Gracie Girl, to be exact, came to me almost 9 years ago. She was a rescue kitty who had come from a horrible situation where she was in a house with dogs that were kept in kennels 22 of 24 hours. Those dogs eventually started busting out of their kennels, and in fits of energy and kennel rage, would chase the cats in the house and kill them.
Little Gracie survived those conditions by hiding, and not ever coming out really. I cannot imagine the fear and trauma those conditions would cause any animal, imcluding the dogs.
She lived in my guest bathroom, under the sink for the first 3 months she was with me. I put a comfy bed under the sink and she had plenty of room to stretch and decompress. Food, water and litter were in the bathroom, just outside of the cabinet. I have no dogs, so she never had to hear barking or fear death.
At 4 months she crept out of the bathroom and lived in the guess bedroom, mainly underneath the bed. I would spend time with her every day and take naps in the room to get her used to me. At 6 months I started picking her up and placing her in the bed with me, for snuggles, pets, and treats. At first she would run back to her safe place under the guest bed. But slowly she began to trust and would stay and socialize, accepting scratches and pets.
Then her personality really came out. She was playful, sweet, affectionate and loved exploring, especially outside in the fenced yard, where she came to feel safe, knowing she could come back in whenever she wanted. She would chase bugs, lay in the grass, and do other happy cat things.
And so the years with her passed by. And she moved with me to Texas. Once here she became more and more friendly, coming out to say hello to guests. She would frequently sing to her favorite socks that she carried around, her song interrupting many Zoom meetings as my coworkers stopped mid word. I would reassure them that she was not being tortured, nor was she in any pain, she was just singing. Loudly.
She was diagnosed with hyperthyroid at the ripe old at of 16. And for 2 years I gave her medicine everyday to keep her from losing weight. And after 2 years, hyperthyroid finally caught up with her, as it always does. She was 18, and getting weaker every day. She was having trouble swallowing and was skin and bones. But she ate and drank every day, even though her condition would often make her throw up. So I made the decision to call the vet to come to the house.
It was the right call, but never an easy one. When we adopt a pet, it is a promise to love them to keep them safe, healthy, and to do the kindest thing so they don’t suffer.
Miss Gracie Girl was rare- a female orange tabby. And she knew it. And I will miss her little spirit. Life is short, especially with pets. Always love on them when you can.
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