Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Farewell Dobie

Today was a tough day, we had to say goodbye to Dobie. He had been acting odd for the past couple days. So Ginger (along with Quinn who was still home) took him to the vet. We had no idea how bad off he was, but I had started to become worried this morning when I had scratched him and he didn't purr (normally it only took a little attention to get him happy and purring). We were hoping this was just going to be an in and out visit, but Ginger said she knew something was wrong when he didn't make any noise at all on the ride to the vet. Then the vet who was examining him started crying. At that point it sunk in this wasn't going to be a routine visit. Turns out he was suffering from kidney failure, probably due to cancer since one kidney was abnormally large. They ran some blood work hoping to find another explanation, but there wasn't any.

He's had lots of medical problems in the past (in fact he was born with a heart murmur and initially we weren't even sure he would survive his first year), but we usually just took him to the vet and he would improve. In fact, after our vacation last summer when we got back we thought at that point we were going to lose him because he was having trouble with his colon. We even had to explain to the kids the possibility that he might not be coming home at that time. But the doctor did some procedures and prescribed some medicine (which he would then have to take three times daily for the rest of his life) and for the next nine months he was much better. After that he was the favorite cat of the kids, especially Quinn.

Ginger called me at work with the bad news, and I decided to go pull Catherine out of school so she could have a chance to say goodbye if she wanted. When we arrived at the vet I was shocked at just how much he had deteriorated since that morning. He was just lying on the ground unable or unwilling to really move. It didn't really seem fair. I know he had a long life for a cat at 13 years, but he was still the youngest by far of our cats. I tried holding myself together, but I as the finality of the situation caught up with me I couldn't. Ginger was visibly shaken as well. We got to spend a last couple of moments with him, but by this time he was just shell of the cat we remembered.

Even though we knew there was no other choice the situation was just emotionally brutal. After the procedure was performed the realization really sunk in to what had happened and Quinn really became upset. I somehow managed to pull myself together enough to be able to help him.

Once we got home we dealt with the situation as best we could. Quinn was still depressed. My heart went out to Quinn as he slumped onto the couch and, probably unconsciously, started to scratch the couch with a finger, which is how he would call Dobie over to him.

Quinn continued to fluctuate through the rest of the day. If he got involved in doing something he was fine. And it was only when he would stop and remember that the emotions would come rolling back. Catherine was visibly saddened also. Quinn had the idea that during dinner we should talk about Dobie and remember all the good things we liked about him.

So we did. And Ginger told them once again about the story of how we had found Dobie in an old school house during my 10 year high school reunion. And how we had brought him home and become so attached to him that we couldn't give him up even though we had initially promised him to someone else. We remembered how as a kitten I had taught him to sleep in between Ginger and myself on the bed at night. We talked about how he liked to lie down in the sink when you were in the bathroom, and how when you were taking a shower he would always walk between the curtains. After that Quinn reminded us of how the previous week he had jumped into the shower while Quinn was in there. We don't know why, but he always liked to drink warm water. We even recalled the story of how one time when we went on vacation we had to call KennyG to go by the house because we realized we had shut him in our bedroom.

We told talked about how once the kids were born Dobie was also looking after them. He was never jealous of the kids, and always acted as their protector. In fact if either of the kids were ever crying he would start meowing to make sure Ginger or myself knew they needed attention. He never got upset when they would pull his tail, or would chase him around the house. The conversation made me realize how much a part of the family he really was and how much he'll be missed.

1 comment:

Kim said...

I am so sorry for your loss. We had to put our yellow lab to sleep last summer. We got him a few months after we got married - amazing he lived almost 15 years. He was our first "child" and it was a very painful decision. Quality of life is so hard to judge at times. I am glad you had a few moments to say goodbye.