Friday, February 1, 2013

So Long, Old Friend . . .

Friday was a full day during setup for this weekend’s show in Lawrenceville, GA.  It was probably better that way – kept my mind occupied.  Because today, 500 miles from home, I had to say goodbye to an old friend.

DSCN0875

Tom has been a part of our family since he was born underneath our front porch in April 1995.  There were five kittens originally – we kept two, two went to friends, and one went to the mailman (who left a note in our mailbox that started “If you’re looking for a home for the gray and white kitten…” – and he still lives with them).

Dsc00118 Dsc00119

He was always Ryan’s cat – they just had a bond.  But Tom and I had a certain respect for each other – it started when he was three years old and went into convulsions.  We found out later that he had a whole body infection called toxoplasmosis – all we knew at the time was that Tom was in trouble.  I still remember the long drive to the veterinary emergency clinic at 11:00 at night, with Tom fighting for his life in the carrier beside me.  From that day on, he always looked at me differently – and I felt like he somehow gave me credit for saving him.  If cats truly have nine lives, Tom used up eight of his that night.

DSC00200 DSC00331

Over the years, Tom was quite a soothing influence on Ryan as he went through his teenage years.  When he needed a friend, Tom was always there.

Tom was always the greeter – he would come out on the driveway to check out anyone who came to visit.  By contrast, his sister was skittish and would run and hide.  My grandpa used to watch our house and feed the cats when we were out of town – and he would question whether we really had two cats since he only saw one each time he came to feed them.

0124091251

The last few years have been tough – kidney problems, emotional issues, joint stiffness.  Each time, thanks to Dr. Sue, another medicine was added to the routine and brought him back to health.  So many times, we made peace with the idea that Tom wouldn’t be around much longer.  And yet he survived.  Then the call came this morning, and Dr. Sue came on to tell me that his kidneys were failing, his temperature was down, his respirations were fast, and he was hurting, even though he wouldn’t let it show.  And it would take a lot to keep him alive until I got home – but it wouldn’t make him comfortable.  So the decision was made – it had to be made, but he was on my mind a lot today.

DSC00116 2012-11-09_18-17-16_846

This will be one of my lasting memories of Tom – the part he played in bringing Zoe into our lives.  The day I went to the pound to look for another dog, Tom was one of the “people” who came in during the morning to visit with her.  Since Tom ruled our yard, it seemed only right that he have a say in whether Zoe came to live with us.  He did the same with Nala just a few months ago – this was his way of welcoming her, when she climbed out of her bed to eat and Tom took her place.

Rest well, my friend . . .

16 comments:

  1. Greg, my heart goes out to u & your family on the loss of your sweet & faithful friend, Tom. It is never easy to make the decision to let them go but u showed how much u cared for him in doing so. How blessed he was to live in such a wonderful household!
    Marlene

    ReplyDelete
  2. So sad when our furry children have to leave our lives. You will always be blessed with paw-prints of memories!! God Bless everyone!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, Greg, I am so sorry. It is so hard to lose a furkid, especially if you can't be with them. Sending good thoughts and sloppy doggy drool from Zeke, my basset.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mary Frances AdamsFebruary 2, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    So sorry to hear of your family's loss. It is so hard to lose our fur babies. They give us such unconditional love. I remember the picture you posted awhile back of the trail in your yard that Tom had made. I kept it for quite awhile as it reminded me of a similar trail through some bushes that our beautiful cat, Dillon made. We lost him almost 7 years ago and we still miss both him and our beautiful Hobie. Take care and see you next week in Clearwater. We'll be thinking of you and Tom.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Tom knew that he could pass the torch to Zoe and Nahla, he'd trained them well. And 18 is a very good run for a cat. He couldn't have known how lucky he was to have been born under your porch. All of that doesn't make it any easier when it's time to say goodbye. Thinking of you and your family,
    R/

    ReplyDelete
  6. So sorry to hear of your loss.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for sharing so much with us....shedding a few tears thinking about the loss of a furry family member. They make such a difference in our lives. My best to you and you family.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I went through a similar decision Christmas Eve when I was 800 miles away from home and my sweet 12 year old dog Malcolm reached the end of his life. It's a difficult decision to make, but to not be there at the end was heart breaking. Thinking of you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You will meet up again at the Rainbow Bridge.
    Camille

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just read about Tom and I am so sorry. Our sweet friends spend such a short time in our lives but leave a forever mark on our souls. Thank you for telling us about Tom, you had to have given him all he needed for him to chose to stay with you for so many years. Thinking of you and your family, especially Ryan.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's so hard losing a member of the family. Hugs and prayers to you all.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It was sad to read of this loss to your family. I understand all too well. We lost my best friend of 18 years in October and it was devastating. This loving cat had seen me through some of the greatest challenges and the most wrenching losses of my life. She was my comfort and my companion. My beautiful, loving Divertimento (aka Verdi). I miss her desperately and love the sweet little boycat she sent as her gift to help us through the loss.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear Greg and family, I am so sorry and sad to read aboout Tom but he is pain-free and at peace. I cried when I read the news because I am reminded that some day in the future, I will face the same issues with 20 something year old Jerry Abu the Cat. In 1995 when we lost Beast, our 13 pound Seal Point Siamese, the vet told us that Beast would send us another cat whom we would love as much which was true. The precious summer we met Jerry the Cat at the farm in Iowa where she was our "summer" cat (she belonged to the neighbors and was double dipping) until she retired to Florida with me. So Tom has done his job. Ryan has Emily --congratuations and best wishes to them -- and you have Zoe and Nala. Of course, you will miss him horribly but you have happy memories and wonderful photos. RIP, Tom. With affection and deepest sympathy. Jean

    ReplyDelete
  14. So sorry to hear of your loss. We also lost our furry family member recently. Reading your entry was so similar to our story. Smokey was born March 1995 at the house next door. He was our daughter's constant companion, helped her through her teenage years. He was actually doing well until the arthritis set in a few years ago. He stopped climbing the stairs to my office but he was always waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs when I was done. Our daughter has also found the love of her life so Smokey's job was done. Bless you and your family. Beth

    ReplyDelete