Many of us on here have experienced a tremendous amount of tragedy and loss in our lives unfortunately. I wanted to share with you what I went through, and how it changed my life.
It all started on January 15, 2011. That morning, my parents had taken my 9-year-old cat Tiger to the vet. During the past few days, we noticed that he had become more distant from us, and began to suffer weight loss and smell odd. He also was found in places we normally didn’t find him, mainly my parents’ bathroom. However, being the foolish optimist that I was at the time, I never even thought of the possibility of something bad happening to anyone in my family, and was sure that we would be able to treat whatever was making him ill. But I was wrong. That afternoon, we got a call from my mom at the vet, announcing that Tiger had complete kidney failure, and that there was no hope for a recovery. I was advised to stay home while the rest of the family went to the vet to be with him before he was put down, for they felt it was not necessary for his current condition to be my last memory of him.
Days passed. I cried in the morning, afternoon, and night. My buddy was gone. There was no one there to sleep in my bed with me anymore. No one there to give me good-morning rubs. No one to come visit me while I did homework.
Finally, over three weeks past. We were told that the urn we had picked out for his ashes was ready to be sent home. During those weeks, I had tried to find comfort from schoolmates. Sadly, this is where I learned that society is often not sympathetic after one loses an animal. Unfair, right? The most I would get would be no more than a couple of days of hugs.
Suddenly, right before the one-month anniversary of Tiger’s death, our 19-year-old cat Tigger (called Boo-Boo), lost a serious amount of weight, and eventually stopped eating and using the litter box. He looked awful, and on February 10, was put out of his misery in the same vet Tiger died in.
Two animals gone, only our 7-year-old dog Bailey left. But life must have wanted to teach me a serious lesson about something, because soon after Boo-Boo was gone, she began to suffer stomach pain and wouldn’t get up. I thought she was grieving along with us, but upon visiting a vet in a nearby town, Bailey was diagnosed with cancer. I watched her slip away physically, until she was no longer able to climb the stairs by herself, run, or eat. On March 7, just over a month before her 8th birthday, doctors told us even surgery would not guarantee a full recovery, and she was gone.
The house was empty now, and I never looked forward to entering it. I hated myself for trusting life so much. I certainly had no interest in getting another dog (not that it’s THAT easy), or in anything else. I couldn’t play my guitar, concentrate in school, or write anything. Even while outside the house I was tortured by everything I saw or herd, such as people out walking with their dogs, kids at school talking about their cats, commercials for PetsMart, shows on Animal Planet. I needed a reason to feel whole again. In school, they tried to tell us that animal had no souls. After all that I went through, I wanted (and still want) no part in any religion of any kind, and do not believe in God (don’t hate me for it!).
After four awful months at home, Mom could no longer stand being in an empty house alone, and began searching online for different breeds. She expressed interest in a golden retriever. I let her talk away, because I had no interest at all. Finally, one day, she mentioned that a female golden retriever had hatched into the world on May 2, and needed a home. We never got to experience puppyhood with Bailey, since she had spent the first five months of her life in a canine academy, where weÂ attemptedÂ to train her. I decided to go. Why not? Maybe I’ll actually like this puppy.
We arrived at the breeding house, where an energetic puppy was scurrying frantically around her kennel. Excited to see new people, she grabbed the nearest toy and tried to decide which of us she would greet first. We sat with her for about an hour. The puppy was a little wet since she had fallen into her water bowl shortly before we arrived. She climbed all over us and showed off all her toys. I suddenly felt a warm sense of peace and happiness that I did not think I would ever feel again. We talked it over at home and on July 1, 2011, Lilly Grace was adopted and brought home into my life.
In closing, Lilly is now two years old, and has brought so much joy to me, and helped me to discover a new love and appreciation for life and for animals. Without her, I don’t know where I’d be today. I also look back on Tiger, Boo-Boo, and Bailey and think about how lucky I was to have them as part of my life. I don’t trust life the same way I did anymore, but that doesn’t stop me from loving Lilly as much as I do.