Tuesday, November 29, 2011

saying goodbye

Today is one of those days that you wish weren't happening, but which the poignant memories will stay with me and sustain me.  This morning we realized with great sadness that it was time to say goodbye to our beloved furry companion, Pippa.  She had been ill for just a few days and after I ran tests on her yesterday (I'm a vet, in case you didn't know) I realized that she was sicker than we thought.  We still held onto hope, though, that we might be able to manage failing kidneys and crazy messed up electrolyte levels, to keep her here and comfortable with us for a while longer.  But as I lay in bed last night, crying a little, and praying, I prayed that God would make it clear how long we were to hold on to her. I have seen too many of my patients linger on with barely a "life" left, I have seen too many of my clients agonizing on whether "it's time" or not. I did not want to be in that place, especially with the kids just 3 and 6, I did not want them to see her slowly becoming a shadow of what she once was.

And so, God gave me a gift. A bittersweet gift, to be sure, but still one I can give thanks for. This morning my dear little kitty was unable to stand on her own, and could barely lift her head. It was time, and we all knew it. All four of us cuddled around her, showing our love and sadness.  And we talked about heaven, for I know that God cares for all the animals just as He entrusted us to care for them. And even the kids could see that Pippa was just barely holding on to this world to be with us.  So with final kisses and pats, the children said their goodbyes, knowing that while they were at school Mommy would take their dear girl to work and give her the special medicine that would let her first sleep and then go to heaven. And that's just what we did, with many tears (mostly mine), and soft goodbyes.

Oh, how I will miss her.  This little black kitty came to me as a stray while I was a veterinary student, in 1999. She had a broken leg and needed quickly to find a home to save her life. At the same time, I had been thinking about finding a companion for my other cat at the time, Cricket. And so God brought me Pippa. She spent the first 6 months with me mostly in a large dog crate, nursing that stubborn broken leg that didn't want to heal.  And she was never a good patient! All through her life she was one of those pets who had to be sedated for any kind of veterinary care!  She was with me through three moves, and my marriage, and the birth of both children.  And she loved to climb the christmas tree and sit in the upper branches, looking out the bay window. And she let the kids pick her up and drag her around like just another of their stuffed animals. She sat on the arm of the sofa each night as hubby and I relaxed in the evenings. She loved a warm lap and a warm afghan. She was always there, a faithful companion. We called her Pippa, or Pippy, Pip-squeak, Pip-ster, and just Pip. I often just called her sweet kitty, and she was. Oh, how I will miss her.

Saying goodbye is hard. It breaks my heart. But God sustains. And today, I fall on him, and praise him for this wonderful cat, for the life she shared with me.  Pippa, I loved you.


  1. I had written a long heart felt comment, but it's not here! Oh well, it pretty much said that I can sympathize with you. I had cried when reading your post because I have lost many pets/companions. Some more painful then others, but they all had a special place in my heart and life. We have been keeping you all in our prayers. God bless.

  2. I am so sorry that you had to put your sweet cat down... I just had to make the tough decision to put Riley down and it was excruciating. hugs.