Today I had one of my companion animals euthanized. She's been with me for 15 years. Cat was an incredibly sweet feline, feminine--a delicate flower of a girl.
She had a beautiful white bib and milk-stained pitty paws. She had the classic tabby "M" on her forehead as well as a cat face. She also had wagon wheels on either side of her body. She had tiny little paws with pink and black pads.
Even though I've had other cats, she felt like my first cat. For several years she was my lone animal companion. She inspired me to learn about cat behavior...like being sure to greet her by touching her nose whenever I came home...and to pet her from her head, down her back and down to the tip of her tail.
Because we lived by ourselves, I talked to her. She became a very vocal creature. One of the things I've loved but know I'll soon forget is her repetorie of trills, whirrs, yowls, and meows. One of my favorites was a questioning whirr when she was touched unexpectedly.
I sang songs to her, called her my swirlin' girl, my girl, sweetheart and cheetah burrito. The nonsense song I sang to her was:
You're a cheetah....burrito
A cheetah...that's neato
A cheetah burrito
Cheetah burrito today.
But I wanna...iguana
I wanna igunana
I wanna ignuana
I wanna iguana today.
It's been such a long time, I don't even remember the origin of the song or nickname.
I agonized over it for the past two days. Today I have peace that I did the right thing out of compassion.
The weird thing is that tonight I feel relief instead of the profound grief I thought I would. I think I front-loaded my grief as I delayed my decision. I almost feel guilty at feeling relief. I didn't know how much and how deeply the strain of having a sick pet affected me...together with the strain of losing my ministry and church and my own health issues...I guess having one of the strains lifted bring some relief.