Sunday, March 25, 2007
Tribute to a lost friend
About 10 years ago, just after buying his first house, my brother Peter had our mom visit, and she took him out to get a pet. He adopted a pair of cats, brothers from different litters, named Bagheera and Baloo, from characters in The Jungle Book. Peter tried renaming them, Random and Pixel (he's a computer guy) but he eventually gave up. When Peter moved in with us last year he brought the boys with him and there was a bit of tension as our cats Samson and Delilah had some issues with these bigger, clawed cats living in THEIR home. They adjusted eventually and the only issue became Peter's cats using the doggie door to come and go as they pleased, which upset Lucy (our Basset Hound) that cats were crossing through her kitchen and escaping over the baby gates that keep her downstairs.
For about three weeks now, Baloo has not been well. He had lost a great deal of weight and pretty much laid around all day. We encouraged Peter to take him to the vet, but his time and desire were lacking. We watched as the poor guy got thinner and weaker, though he was eating and drinking. Today it got to the point where I picked him up off the floor in the hallway to take him to Peter's bed and he didn't have the strength to stand up. I told Peter I didn't think he had more than a day and a half left. Around 9pm I went to check on him and he was lying on the bed again with no strength to stand. At 11pm I was about to go to bed and I looked in to find he was not on the bed. I found him on the floor next to the bed where he had died.
I struggled with how to handle this. Peter was out for the night, and I pondered wether to leave him for Peter or to tend to him, and then what to do with the body if I did do anything. I opted to get dressed and find a place to bury him as I thought it cruel and insensitive to place him in the trash to be tossed in a truck and carted to a landfill, so at 11:15 at night I went to a spot near some trees on our property and took care of things.
I came back inside and sent Peter a text message with the news. About 5 minutes later Peter arrived home. He told me he expected he would have to take care of things when he got home tonight. He did not thank me, and he did not express any feelings. My emotions got the best of me (as they often can) such that I called Amy to tell her and after stating the basic news I could not speak any more. I worked to compose myself and called her back, afterwards I went and spoke to Peter again. He did wipe his eyes briefly but only said he had been expecting this when I asked him if he was okay.
It leaves me to wonder why we have to endure emotional distress over animals. Granted they are like family, but I certainly wish sometimes I could control my emotions, as now over an hour later, tears roll down my face as I type this. It's been a rough few months as in late December we lost Jasmine, and in January we lost Rascal. Jasmine and Rascal were a pair of cats I adopted while in college and that I left with my mother when I moved out since they were as much hers as mine. I talked to her today and she had received a call from her brother Ray today too. He had called her in tears because his cat had died in the past couple of days as well. Below is a pic of Jasmine (the calico) and Rascal I found among my photos.