Usually when I think of blessings, I think of positive things that I find incredibly heartwarming or awesome, that have happened in my life. Today, I’m counting a blessing that is bittersweet.
Our tabby striped, 12-year-old Maine Coon cat, Tikey, had to be euthanized last night at the vet, amidst hugs and an ocean of tears. What my husband, Joe, and I thought was an aggressive ear polyp that was next to his eardrum and had begun bothering him (with dizziness and nausea which had caused him to stop eating), was compounded by stomach/colon lymphoma. A good quality of life was no longer possible for him and I believe he was in pain.
So, where is the blessing in this, you might ask?
It’s at these times that I wonder if adopting pets is worth the sadness and pain at the end. I still have to answer wholeheartedly “yes.”
When I adopt a pet, I commit to giving him or her the best life possible. Joe and I loved him to pieces. He was hugged, kissed, brushed, fed and played with – he was part of our family. He also was loved by his kitty brother, Ollie, and his two sisters, Gracie and Raja. He was a leader in kitty shenanigans in our house, would play fetch with his green rubber ball and sometimes barked like a dog.
He’d get excited after a good meal (or poop) and race around the house like a marathon runner. He and our 84-pound dog, Hershey, were on speaking terms. He was the first kitty that we didn’t declaw and he never used his claws for evil. He was a gentle soul.
We adopted him as a kitten after he showed up at my friend, Sandy’s, back door with a terrible respiratory infection. He suffered from chronic sneezing and (not to be gross but …) his snotty discharge could have been patented as the next super glue. We loved him even more, if that were possible.
He once escaped from the house, went into survival mode and it took us two weeks to live-trap him back into the house. He was not getting away from us that easily!
I couldn’t have asked for more joy. Yesterday I imagined God creating Tikey. I envisioned God in the kitty design lab, “Okay, this one is going to be extremely furry. And super cute, with a white bowtie under his nose, soft curly tummy hair, and a fluffy tail. And, to ensure that he’s unconditionally loved, he’s going to be a sneezer so he leaves a special mark on everyone he meets.” Then God plopped him on Sandy’s doorstep and the rest is history. A warm, cuddly, funny, sweet, gentle, handsome branch of our family tree.
A final commitment I make to adopted family members is that no matter how heartbreaking, I will try to ensure that they don’t suffer. That I’ll be with them and love them until their last breath. That I’ll reluctantly help them journey back to God. I so didn’t want to fulfill this last promise to Tikey, but God, my husband and Sandy gave me courage to do so.
Joe talked about how hard it was for me to hold him and hug him for the last time. My heart broke into a million pieces. But the pieces slowly came back together when I realized that as much as we loved Tikey, God loved him even more. And, he was returning to his Maker who welcomed him into loving arms where he’d stay forever. I pray God gives him lots of hugs and kisses, until I can once again be present with him to do the same. Tikey is the blessing that I celebrate today.
This post is part of the Five Minute Friday Linkup.