Sunday Gratitude ... and Having to Say Goodbye to my Best Pal
We had to say goodbye to our beautiful boy Spartacus Pete this past Thursday. So what can I possibly be grateful for about that? Stick with me for a few minutes. My sweet Pete had a cancerous mass removed in December. Doc told us that if it didn't come back within a year, we were likely good. I think Sarah and I were in a little bit of denial as it started coming back, always asking each other, "Is this his mass coming back or is this his bone? I can't tell. Can you?" We kept telling ourselves it was his bone. Long story short, we were denial, and his cancer had come back, but we didn't have that confirmed until another issue arose.
We were home in Jacksonville the week of July 13 taking care of some routine doctor and dentist appointments when I started noticing him acting strangely, his breathing labored. By the next day, I just felt in my bones that something was wrong, so we rushed back to Tallahassee to get him to his vet there. Turns out that not only had his mass on his side come back, but he also had a large mass in his chest which was creating fluid and flooding his lungs. Doc drained his lungs so he didn't have to struggle to breathe, and we decided to put him on some prednisolone, bring him home and love him for long as we could keep him comfortable. I couldn't bear to put him through surgery again, knowing the cancer would continue to come back.
Pete's always slept with me most nights, and he actually woke me up about 4am Wednesday morning - my girls' birthday - struggling to breathe again. I tried to comfort him and prayed hard for God to give him just one more good day so that he didn't die on the girls' birthday. I'm grateful God granted my prayer, as Pete soon was able to settle down, his breathing steadied, and he went back to sleep. He had a pretty good day Wednesday but started struggling to breathe again Wednesday night. Thursday morning he continued to have labored breathing and didn't want to eat even the best stinky wet food - and Pete loved to eat - so we knew it was time.
This boy brought us so much love and joy in his six short years. He was our first foster failure. We fostered him and his brother Repeat (yes, Pete and Repeat, and even we messed up the names), and hadn't planned on foster failing (of course, you never PLAN to foster fail). I took them both back to the shelter when they were ready for adoption, but three days later when Repeat had gotten adopted and Pete had not, we took that as a sign that he was meant to be ours.
He loved his toys and had them all over the house, but his favorites were the pillows out of the girls' doll house and his taco fish. The girls finally gave up and let him have all the doll house pillows, and he often left his taco fish for me on my pillow. He was a champion baseboard surfer, he loved to lay on my desk under the lamp whenever I was working on my computer or across Sarah's bed in a sunny spot with her, and one of his all time favorite places was on my left shoulder. He'd stand up on a counter or the bed and crawl right on up and hang out there, purring, as long as I'd let him. Sometimes I'd pass him from my shoulder to Sarah's, and he'd just keep on purring. He often held down the refrigerator for us so it couldn't get away, and he sometimes was that creeper who lain in wait on the top of the kitchen cabinets, just his eyes and ears peeking over the top.
Here's what I'm grateful for. First, the power of prayer. So incredibly grateful that the good Lord gave us that one extra day so he could be there, comfortably, for the girls' birthday. Second, in these days of COVID when we've all spent so much time at home, I'm grateful I had that extra time with him and grateful for those last 12 days we were given to help prepare us to ease his suffering. I'm grateful that we chose to foster kittens, and we chose to foster fail with this fella. And I'm grateful for every day and every cheek rub and every purr in the ear he gave us. I've cried a lot of tears over the past two weeks, but my boy is not struggling any more, and for that, yes, I'm grateful. See you at the Rainbow Bridge, my sweet Spartacus Pete, for I know we will meet again. Find Savannah; she'll show you the way. We were so blessed to share our lives with you. You were most certainly one of a kind, and I loved you with all my heart.