Grieving Over a Lost Pet!
In Loving Memory
This article is dedicated to my beloved cat, Specks! I never had such a loving, sweet, and affectionate cat in my life. Her loss still is painful even though it has been over 3 years now since we had to part! God Bless you, Specks! You will always live in my heart, sweetie!
Losing a Pet
I am sure every pet owner out there has had to experience the loss of a beloved pet. Psychologists compare this loss as equal to losing a child! Since I have never had children of my own, I cannot compare the two, but I do recall the loss of Specks in vivid detail! Writing about this is not easy...it brings up a lot of sadness and pain. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and the tears just flow sometimes. Throughout this article, while making revisions and corrections, the tears are flowing! I made a memorial of Specks in a large picture frame that now hangs in my bedroom where Specks spent a lot of time napping. I used poems and prayers I found on the internet, along with several pictures of her. It is a reminder to me of a very special, sweet natured cat that added so much to my life that I can't even describe it.
Specks at about 2 years old
I found Specks on the day before Halloween at our local animal shelter. I had just moved into a condo and didn't want to take my other cat, Eowyn, since she was very old and thought she would be happier in my parents home. I just couldn't put her through a major change like that at her age. I lived close by so could always come by to visit. When I met Specks, she was only 8 weeks old. A family didn't want her anymore, so put her up for adoption. I cannot believe a family would give up such a wonderful, special kitty!!!! Even at that young age, Specks was not the typical kitten. Lucky for me, the people didn't keep her, because Specks had a very good life with me!
I remember the first time I saw her like it was yesterday! She was in a large cage with about 10 other cats. They were all playing or just sitting around. I walked up to the cage and said, "Come here kitties" or something like that. Specks was sitting on a little shelf completely oblivious to the other cats and was off in her own little world. When I spoke, Specks was the only cat that responded. She came running. and I mean running, right over to the cage where I was standing, flopped on the floor and just was begging to be petted. I love 'lap cats' and thought this cat would probably fit that desire. Little did I know 'lap cat' would be an understatement! LOL
I adopted Specks, her name was Pumpkin then, on the spot and took her home. That was the beginning of a wonderful 17 year relationship that I will never forget! Living alone isn't the greatest, though many people say it is fine. I didn't like it. Specks eased the loneliness more than you can possibly imagine. She followed me everywhere in the house to see what I was doing, keeping me company. Whenever I was on the computer or watching TV, she was either on me or by me. She just LOVED to be petted and cuddled and talk about a purr machine! I don't think Specks ever stopped purring.
Specks in Dreamland
Sharing My Life with Specks!
About a year later, I moved to Olympia,Washington. I drove up there with Specks. I had no idea how she would handle a 2100 mile trip in an SUV. I began with her in her cat carrier and she seemed to be fine, but I just couldn't confine her in that for the whole trip. I let her out finally and had no clue as to what she would do. At first, she wanted to crawl on my lap, but I couldn't let her do that since it wasn't safe. After a few 'no kitty', she finally found a place to travel...sitting on TOP of her carrier. I put a towel on top so she would be more comfortable, and she stayed there for almost the entire trip! At night, I would sneak her into my motel room so she could stretch and get some exercise. I never saw a cat so well behaved in my entire life!
This was just the beginning of the astonishing things Specks did while spending her life with me. I eventually returned home, but flew back, and of course, Specks flew back, but wasn't allowed in the passenger area..so she had to go into cargo. I was really not happy about that, but had no choice. Well, she came through it with 'flying colors'!
I went through some very difficult times during those years and Specks got me through them all! She seemed to sense when something wasn't right and would try to console me! She really helped, more than I describe here, but I have to tell you it did wonders! Nobody can convince me that animals don't understand emotions or cannot show empathy!
Over the years we spent together, Specks learned some unusual things. I didn't have a fenced yard and didn't want Specks roaming free. I certainly didn't want her get hit by a car or attacked by some animal. I trained her to go on a leash! She took to that like a duck to water! Eventually she wouldn't even try to go outdoors without her leash. I would even hold it up at the door and ask her if she wanted to go outside, and she would come running in from wherever she was, meowing like crazy to go out in her yard! She knew what many words meant, like "Outside, No, and Tup Time (Supper Time)" LOL
Specks had a very specific routine that she followed when she went out. She had a leash attached to about 50 feet of rope. The first thing she did when she got out the door was trot around the house from the backyard, along the garage, down the driveway to the sidewalk. There she would flop down and just roll all over the place, picking up leaves, grass, you name it. She was just filthy! Then she would walk around sniffing bushes around the other side of the house, growling if she smelled any cat scents on the plants. Then she would walk over near this stake we had in the ground and wait. I would put the end of her rope on it and she would just wander around the backyard or sleep on the concrete wall. Specks just loved her yard and even defended it from dogs. I always stayed out there with her to keep her safe.
Specks in One of Her Favorite Places
We spent our lives together and grew very close! Some people don't believe pets can feel emotions or understand love. I strongly disagree with that!! Specks somehow knew when I was down about something. She always loved to sit on my lap, lay on my chest when I was laying down on the couch or bed. She slept with me all the time, even up to her final day when she was so sick and I knew her time with me was drawing to an end! Her time with me will NEVER be forgotten and I will treasure the time she had with me forever! She is sorely missed!
Specks certainly new what love was!! She gave her love COMPLETELY and unconditionally. She taught me what unconditional love is! I lost Specks in the spring of 2008. She got a tumor in her throat and it grew so quickly! She couldn't eat hardly at all and her veterinarian said it would be almost impossible to remove. I considered surgery but just couldn't put Specks through that pain and suffering. She was 17 years old and we didn't think she could survive the anesthetic or operation. My poor baby's days were almost over!
Of course, I was completely devastated! But I had to put her down to ease her suffering. She couldn't even eat due to the mass in her throat. It was so heartbreaking! That horrible day finally came when I had to say good-bye to Specks. I was awake all night, but stayed in bed since Specks spent the night with me, cuddled between my legs to keep warm. It was a beautiful, sunny spring day and cool. I took Specks out one last time in her yard to walk around before going to the veterinarian. The tears were just flowing down my face. I had decided I would stay with my sweet Specks until she left this world! It was the hardest thing I ever did, but I owed it to her to be with her when she needed me most!
Thank God that she went very peacefully and quiet. I completely fell apart when the doctor told me she was gone! I stayed in the small examining room for quite awhile holding her lifeless body and kissing her sweet face! I cried a bucket of tears talking to my beloved Specks....I hope she heard me! I still grieve over her so much! I loved her deeply and felt like I was going to die! The first few days were the worst...I was just horribly upset and sad! I missed Specks terribly! Just seeing her food bowl and her toys when home just tore me apart. I went to a grief councelor at a local animal shelter and it helped some.
On a brighter note, I met a lady the very week Specks left who had abandoned cats. I saw a cat she had that really needed a loving, forever home! She and I talked for quite awhile and she decided to break the rules and let this cat 'visit' me for awhile. She knew full well what I was going through since she had gone through loss of her charges many times. This cat, named Olivia, was an unusual cat. Very self-assured, comical, and wouldn't go hiding for days in a strange home. Reluctantly, I agreed. I felt like I was betraying Specks by having another cat so soon! You just wouldn't believe the guilt; but finally talked with some experts about this. I am so glad I did, because after 4 days, I couldn't part with 'Livvy' and adopted her. I found out later Livvy had been adopted out before and kept being returned. I have no idea why to this day. She is a good cat, but was different from Specks. Livvy would never be Specks, and I will always have a large, special place in my heart for Specks, but Livvy did help me deal with the pain.
Livvy has been with me now for over 3 years. She is a character and
loves to drink out of water faucets, play with little yarn pom-pons all over
the house, loves to be chased and is just a funny cat. I still miss
Specks terribly, always will, and every day I think of her sweet face and
loving ways. But I do love Livvy very much too!
Specks added so much to my life and I will never forget her for that! She was so special to me that I can't even express it adequately. I love you, my sweet girl!!! I found this prayer and thought I would share it with you:
Heavenly Father, I thank you so much for allowing me to care for such a loving, sweet, affectionate, and loyal pet! The unconditional love she gave me was a true blessing from you! I place Specks in your loving arms to care for now....may Specks rest in eternal peace with You! --Amen
This little poem I wrote for her soon after her passing. I have a little wooden box that I put a couple of her toys, collar, and tags in. The poem is on the outside lid. I hope you like it!
"My beloved, sweet Specks,
My best friend and companion!
I will always love you deeply!
My dear, gentle, loving girl!
I miss you and love you, my forever pet!
Thank you for reading this tribute to my dear Specks! Please be kind to your animal companions and show them LOVE and AFFECTION every day! They deserve it!