Today was one of the saddest days I've had in a long, long time. So why am I sharing this instead of something more inspiring? Hang on for a paragraph or two and you'll see...
We've been watching the declining health of our beloved feline, Maggie, for the past three months. At first we thought it might just be age, as she was approaching eleven years old by our calculations. However, the vet suspected that a lump he felt in her stomach was some form of cancer. We couldn't afford the operation to find out exactly what it was, and x-rays were inconclusive, so we just took care of her as best we could.
She still ate, but her condition reached a point where the food would go straight through her in a matter of minutes, so she continued to lose weight. She did nothing but lie on the floor all day, although she would occasionally spend some time sitting in my wife's lap, purring softly. Early on we got some medicine for her, and kept hoping she would get better. As time went on, we realized the medicine wasn't doing any good, so we stopped administering it a few days ago.
Last night we talked a good deal about what to do, and decided that it was time to end Maggie's suffering. I delayed my trip in to work, and we took her to the vet first thing this morning and had her put to sleep. When you don't have kids, you invest a lot more love in your pets, and I was devastated at the thought of letting her go. As we said our goodbyes while she slowly drifted into an eternal sleep, I cried like I haven't cried in ages.
The reason I'm sharing this here is because Maggie was inspiring to me. She has been such a joy in our lives since we got her roughly three-and-a-half years ago. She was a very vocal cat, and there were times when she meowed in the oddest way, causing my wife and I to nearly fall over with laughter. We also discovered shortly after getting her that she loved to play "fetch" with her toy mice. She would bring one to us with a happy trill in her voice when she wanted to start playing, and if we played the game at night before falling asleep, we would frequently awake the next morning to find that the toy had been faithfully returned, and had somehow made its way under the covers. There were times when she would wake up my wife or I by licking our closed eyelids, and we knew that it was either time to play, or time to eat. As an animator, it was fascinating to not only watch her physical movements on a daily basis, but to notice her particular personality traits, which are forever locked away in the back of my mind for the day when I get to animate a cat. Maggie was quite a joy, and quite an inspiration.
The picture below was taken just a couple days after getting my new camera this past summer, while Maggie sat in one of her favorite spots, which happened to be in front of a special piece of needlework we received as a gift. When I began thinking of a picture we could share with friends and family as we announced this sad news, this image immediately came to mind. Maggie was and always will be family, and we look forward to seeing her again after this life is over. As my wife so eloquently pointed out today, heaven just wouldn't be heaven without our pets. :)
Rest in peace, Mags...