An unlikely pet pal
Today’s Prompt: Write a thank you letter to your furry, feathery, or fishy friend for always being there for you. How have they helped you cope with your health condition?
I was skeptical of adopting when Daddy first told me about you. A work colleague needed to find a home for their part-Siamese cat. What little I knew about Siamese temperaments worked against your odds of getting adopted. If I had been given a choice, you would have never become a part of our family. However, as with every other four-legged, fur-covered adoption, I really didn’t get a vote. Sure, I probably had some level of veto power, but I rarely exercised it. Daddy just brought you home.
Your introduction went something like this…
“Honey, I want you to keep an open mind. (that’s usually the first sign that my opinion already didn’t count). She is really sweet and her owner was running out of time. Please, let’s just give it a try?”
That’s how we met.Lily showing her healing love to our daughter, circa 2003.
I have to admit, you were beautiful. You also had that characteristic Siamese attitude. But you tolerated the kids and the dog. You had no problem using the litter box and enjoyed roaming around our big back yard without disappearing for days. We developed an understanding: if you didn’t make more work for me, then you could stay.
Within a few weeks, we all got another surprise when we took you in to get spayed. We’re responsible pet parents, you see. The vet informed us that you were already pregnant. We had a choice to let your pregnancy continue or allow the vet to perform the spaying, which would also abort the babies. We reasoned that we had plenty of room and would either care for the babies ourselves or adopt them out to other responsible pet parents. Additionally, we thought it would be good for the kids to witness a birth. (We eventually found good homes for all the babies)
I remember the day your labor started. I was home with just our daughter when you started panting and refused to move from your chosen birthing spot. We brought the box of old towels to you and kept a close eye on your progress. Our daughter was young, no more than 7 years old and “over the moon” at the prospect of seeing the birth of kittens. She became your self-appointed midwife.
You were quite the trooper, little lady. I think you gave birth to 4 or 5 kittens. As is common, one did not survive and was buried in a decorated shoe box in our back yard. This event set off a kitten obsession from which our daughter (now 22) has never quite recovered. Thankfully, we spared you her obsession with a fast spaying right after your babies were weaned.
You and I have a different sort of bond.
You came into our lives about the same time that Cluster Headaches appeared and Migraine became chronic. As I lay in bed for hours in agony. you rarely left my side. You seemed to have a unique sense that I needed your love. When it got bad, you would lay on my head and purr. The soft, rhythmic vibration eased the pain and helped me relax. At other times you would lay on my chest, curl up against my back, or even stand guard at the foot of the bed.
You also had a knack for knowing when it was better that you keep the kids entertained while I rested. You were better than any nanny. I never worried that the kids would run off because you would circle the legs of anyone who crossed that invisible barrier at the end of our drive. Around and ’round you would herd the offender (even adults!) back inside the perimeter.
When I trained to become a Reiki Master, I was surprised to discover that you already knew what it was all about. You joined my clients on the treatment table. I would work at one end and you stepped up at the other. We’d pass each other at the Heart Chakra and keep on going. Clients loved you! You were also good at knowing where I needed treatment most and would park yourself right over the area and start purring.
Then everything changed.
One summer day we moved out of that big farmhouse, downsizing to a tiny little cottage across the street from the back entrance of our family’s store. You took the move in stride, bringing your compassion for your family along for the ride. It wasn’t long before we discovered that you preferred the open spaces at the store. With no ordinances against it, we permitted you to join us at work each day. You would even follow the kids home for lunch and escort them back for afternoon lessons (we home schooled them at the store).
One evening you stood at the door, pawing and meowing in desperation. You wanted out of the house right away. I almost didn’t let you. I only relented because you were so insistent. I thought you might keep everyone awake. The next morning I went about my business, assuming you were hiding somewhere in the storage room at the shop. By evening we all started to get concerned when you didn’t make an appearance to escort us home. Still, we expected you to show up in a day or two.
But you didn’t.
Daddy made the call to the local shelter, hoping someone had found you. Unfortunately, the news was far worse than we ever expected. Remember that night when you insisted I let you out? You were hit by a speeding car while trying to cross the street back to the store. The officer who found you was able to tell us what happened. Your injuries were too severe and you died. It still makes me sad to know that you were alone in those last hours when were were so close. We might not have been able to prevent your death, but at least we could have said a proper goodbye.
I’ve never again met an fur-child quite as intuitive as you. (Our current canine child comes close, but he has no ability to sit still. We all think he might have ADHD.) I miss you so much, especially when my head has been pounding for days and I’m starting to panic. When you were with us, you could sense my mood and help me stay calm. I don’t know how I could have made it through those early years of Cluster Headaches without you — especially the first six months when no one knew what was wrong.
My sister-in-law had a theory about furry kids like you.
She thought that special fur kids come into our lives for a specific reason and time. When their purpose is fulfilled, they move on. Sometimes they move on to other families and sometimes their job on Earth is done and they leave this world. I know why you came to us. I just wish you could have stayed around a lot longer.