Saying Good-bye to a Friend©
Community Spirit pervades the homes and households of most people in my Valley area. And most of these homes harbor a variety of fellow creatures of both the domestic and non-domestic variety. There is usually a story behind how each one comes into our lives, a story about the period during which our lives parallel, and then a story when they transition out of our lives. This Maddie’s story.
Maddie, a beautiful Calico, found herself in a very small cage at the Marin Humane Society. She had been there for approximately two months, longer than a worker indicated they were comfortable with. It seemed that she “may scratch or bite,” and this may have turned folks away. Lucky for us! Her prior owner indicated that she had had free access to the house and a “country yard.” ‘Perfect!’ I thought. She was also good sized and short-haired, also desirable for a country cat. She had gotten along well with another cat. Dogs were not mentioned, and we had two! We were told that she didn’t like to be picked up and that – like most cats I know – sought affection on her own terms.
Well, how wrong the warnings turned out to be. She managed the two or three week adjustment period very well in spite of being confined to a small room with a litter box while our dogs sniffed from outside. Once free she quickly let the dogs know she was more than willing to play but she could hold her own if their kind of play wasn’t to her liking. For the next eight years neither the canine nor the feline ever solved the problem of how to play dog if a cat or cat if a dog.
And so as the years rode with their seasons she came to blend in with the rhythms of the adult and canine population. She allowed herself to be picked up and cuddled upside down in my arms. She only affectionately nipped if I wasn’t giving her enough.! She was a working and loving member of the household.
Then about 2 or 3 weeks prior to her death she disappeared for 3 days. This was not at all like her. We thought we had lost her, until, to our relief, she came back, thin but seemingly fine. We wondered if she had accidentally gotten locked in a barn. She never gained her weight back, but came and went and ate normally. Then one Saturday morning, she called to me from a different door than was usual . I found her unable to stand but seemingly relieved to be carried inside where she took water but no food. Our vet was very supportive and gentle. Maddie’s heart was failing her and a blood clot was the cause of the paralysis.
Maddie seemed to understand for she greeted her transition to her next life purring.