This has been a tough week – a horrible, no-good, awful week. We had to say goodbye to our sweet, little ArtyOur cuddly, goofy darling has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and (we hope) is waiting for us on the other side. Our house is so much emptier without him.
We still don’t know exactly what happened, but about a week and a half ago, he started vomiting and couldn’t keep anything down, be it food or water. He got dehydrated very quickly, getting more and more lethargic, terrifying his kitty-parents. After four days with the emergency clinic, where he endured any number of tests, injections, IVs, he seemed to be getting better – he was hydrated, bright-eyed, and energetic. With palpable relief, we brought our baby home and smothered him with grateful cuddles.
Unfortunately, within a couple of days, it became very clear that the emergency vet had only been treating his symptoms and that they had not discovered the actual cause of his distress. He started vomiting again, losing weight, and becoming dehydrated all over again. His poor little digestive system was not working the way it was supposed to and no one could discern why. We consulted with our local vet and after examining a couple of x-rays, he saw something that could possibly be a source of blockage in Arty’s stomach. He proposed an exploratory surgery that might be able to help (and added that this was the only procedure left for us to try), but gave the possibility of success at about 50%.
We were heartbroken. We wailed and anguished about this decision for ages – how could we turn down the possibility of saving our baby’s life? How could we put him through more suffering? How could we responsibly spend that much money on more veterinary bills when we already spent so much with the emergency vet? Ultimately, we determined to prioritize minimizing Arty’s suffering. After two weeks of vomiting, dehydration, and vet tests, we determined that we could not put the poor thing through another painful procedure when the likelihood of success was so low. I think very few things are more difficult than saying goodbye to a beloved pet, especially when you’re the one to make the decision to end his suffering.
We’ll miss his cuddles, we’ll miss his face butts, we’ll miss his misguided attempts to help us with the housework. Every time I turn around, I still expect to see him waddling around the corner and it breaks my heart all over again. I can feel the little hole in my heart where his memories reside. I know that over time, the ache will ease and knowing how much joy we brought to each other in his too-short life brings a great deal of solace.
To anyone else who’s recently lost an animal or loved one, how did you deal with the pain of the loss? Do you care to share a favorite memory of the one you lost?
My husband and I have been spending a lot of time sharing our favorite memories of Arty’s many, many quirks. I know we’ll never find another cat just like him and that thought makes me miserable, but I’m grateful for the time we did share. Goodbye, Arty. You will be sorely missed.