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A fond farewell to a friend

November 29, 2010 - Nikki Younk
Last Friday, I said goodbye to a good friend. My childhood pet Lily passed away at the ripe old age of 16.

We got Lily in the spring of 1994. I was just finishing third grade. My parents were in the process of getting a divorce, so things were pretty tough on everyone. Since my mom, my sister, my brother, and I would be moving into a new house, my mom thought that it would be a good idea to get us a pet. It would be a way to cheer us all up and to make our new house a home.

At the time Mom was looking for a pet, her aunt’s cat had a new litter of kittens. Talk about good timing. The kitten was brought to us about a month or two later. We named her Lily.

Lily was the most beautiful cat that I had ever seen. She was a calico with a bright white belly and brown and black spots on her head, back and tail. She didn’t just have the looks, though, she had the personality. Feisty, loving, silly, and crabby — she could be all that and more.

Throughout the years, Lily turned into an ace huntress. The terror of the big back yard. Many a time we would wake up to her howling outside after a kill. I like to think that she wanted to share her mice, rabbits, and other rodents with her human friends.

She slowed down a bit in her later years. Instead of sneaking outside, she would spend her time sleeping in cardboard boxes that were too small for her, fighting with her housemates Big Man and Nigel, and licking my arms. She was especially fond of cornering me after a shower, licking my legs, then rubbing her white fur all over them.

Earlier this year, Lily’s health started to decline at a fast pace. She lost weight. Her fur became more ragged. She had trouble climbing stairs. She began having facial twitches. After a trip to the vet’s office last Monday, we learned that she had a fractured jaw due to brittle bones caused by kidney failure.

We brought her home, hoping that she would improve, but knowing that we would eventually be saying our farewells. Lily mostly slept. Every so often she would drag herself to and from her food and water dish. Soon, she couldn’t even walk properly.

It’s terrible to have a pet die, but it might be even worse to decide when that pet will die. I had my doubts. Mom said that we couldn’t let her suffer any more.

The time had come.

Mom, my brother, and I brought her into the vet around 11:15 a.m. on Friday. The vet sedated her, shaved one of her white arms, and injected the euthanasia solution into her vein. She was dead in a matter of seconds.

I had a tough time with Lily’s passing, I still am, as a matter of fact.

However, I’m comforted that I got to spend time with her during her last days. I’m comforted that the rest of my family got to spend time with her. I’m comforted that she was surrounded by her family as she died. Mostly, I’m comforted that we still have our cats Big Man and Nigel. Just to remind us that life goes on.



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