In our family, the order was Lucy, Hobbes, Facilities Manager and then me, Tamara. Next came the chickens and Sweet Pea the turkey.
The captain of our family is gone. My heart is damaged beyond a measure I did not know existed. David and I do not have children; our Furry Family are our children. I just lost my little girl.
I received Lucy on January 28, 2006. She was 6 months old. She was a rescue from a Bengal cat breeder who could not sell her. She was too shy, too sensitive, no one wanted to buy her. I adopted Lucy without seeing a photo first. She was brought home to me with much joy and love. This is the very first photo of her.
Lucy slowly warmed up to me and even on her first day together, was willing to play with some silly toys I had gathered in anticipation of bringing my furry baby home.
She and I became inseparable right away. This is one of my favorite photos of her because she looks like she has a goofy overbite, an endearing image if ever there was one.
We had good times together. We were best buddies. She was my rock, and I knew that, especially when I was down or sick. Lucy was always by my side when I was home. She was my Lucy Bear.
I had to give her a proper birthday party for her first, so I invited her buddy Chui the Bengal over as well as a bunch of non-furry friends for cocktails and cat food cake. And sushi for the non-furry ones. This was the front of her birthday party invitation. We had quite a turnout and gathered toys and food for a local shelter in lieu of birthday presents (she was pretty spoiled already).
A very bad photo of that cat food cake. The sushi was great, though.
One day, after realizing Lucy was lonely in my little apartment while I worked all day, I decided to adopt a buddy. This is the look on her face when I told her I had found her brother and he was going to come live with us.
The short story is Hobbes is her litter-mate brother. He was sold to a cattery in Idaho as a breeding stud for a hefty sum. Unfortunately, he had a heart condition known as HCM and was neutered so could no longer be a part of a breeding household. I randomly found him online on their website under the tab "adults for adoption" while looking for an adult cat in need of a good home. I immediately recognized his photo as one that Lucy's breeder had sent me to give me an idea of what she looked like as she had no other photo. It was fate.
One plane ride later, Hobbes came home to his sister. They were both just one year old when they were reunited.
Lucy was pleased.
We met our future Facilities Manager and were one big happy family in 2009. It was a complete unit from that point to now. She and Hobbes (aka, her Bigbee) were two peas in a pod and on a chilly day could always be seen together on their cat bed.
No, really. They loved each other.
See? They really did. We have this one framed in our bedroom.
After knowing about Hobbes' HCM and the fact they came from the same litter, it came as no great surprise when she became sick earlier this summer. She was lethargic, not her usual spunky self. It turned out, after several emergency vet visits, that she, too, had heart issues, namely congestive heart failure. Dove Lewis Emergency Pet Hospital became her chief cardiologist and champion. Those folks are great, they let us know everything we needed to know step by step, constantly checking in with us to see her progress. It was all pretty stable until a few days ago when she stopped or rather could not drink or eat any longer. Her kidneys had also failed, dammit.
What do you do? Am I enough of an authority to determine when to take a life? When to say enough? We are their spokespeople, these furry pets. We know them intimately from snuggling up at night, we touch, rub bellies (Lucy's was her squishy), we kiss them and are physically close to them. Did I do the right thing? Everyone says I did, but I have doubts. Then I think of her final difficult days and realize that she would never be better. It was inevitable. We decided to end her incredible pain. That seemed the compassionate thing to do. But so painful, so very difficult to go through.
We said goodbye while she was in my arms. There are many, many, many tears in this household, for I am so sorry she had to go through so much pain. I feel like I failed her on some level, and then I realize that everyone must go and that I must look at the time we had together through love, not pain.
Already the house is quiet. No more asking for salmon treats or a squeak to go outside to graze on grasses and catnip (Facilities Manager called her "Squeaker Toy" when she meowed like that). No more greeting Mommy at the door every evening. No more "did Lucy have her goo?" referring to her myriad of daily prescription medicine ground up in her wet food.
Hobbes is confused. He sniffed her body and moaned a sorrowful meow when we returned from Dove Lewis. I know he will search her out in the coming days. So will we, and we will likely see her out of the corners of our eyes.
Today, after a really good cry, we buried her under the oak tree where we can see her grave. We placed a bouquet of her favorite catnip between her paws, wrapped her in her bengal blankie and put her inside her crackle bag, her favorite napping spot when the temperatures were cool. We will plant a tree in her honor, I know not what or where, but it's coming. She gave us her trust and 13 wonderful years of companionship for me (10 for Facilities Manager), I am lucky to have spent time on this planet with such a gentle soul. Loooosay, Lucy, Lucy Bear, Loopy, Squeaker Toy. You were the jewel in our lives, our sun, moon and stars. You were our captain, our #1.
This is the last photo taken of her in the garden. I'd like to think the garden was a haven for her that brought her much joy and peace. I imagine now she's walking this same path towards a fabulous garden over that rainbow bridge where she's no longer in pain.
July 7, 2005 - September 1, 2018
All life is sorrowful. All life is suffering. All life is joy. To participate fully in life, by saying YES to life with all of its suffering and loss, you become a part of this world. I said YES with wide open arms to life, to my Lucy, knowing the pain and emptiness I would likely face in one day losing her.
I would do it all over again if given the choice.
As well as saying goodbye to my little girl, I am saying goodbye to this blog for a few weeks. I hope you all understand.
Here's to Lucy and every furry family member we have ever had the good fortune to know and love.