Saturday, January 30, 2010

A sad day

I got a call from this morning that my cat, Ringtail, isn't doing so well. She was acting up last night and this morning and my mom took her to the vet and after some xrays, it was discovered that she has congestive heart failure.

Ringtail (a dumb name, I know) is 20 years old. I got her for my 7th birthday. Hence, the name is a directly related to me being a dumb 7-year-old who thought it would be clever to name the cat after the. . .wait for it. . . rings that she had around her tail. ::Sigh:: I make no excuses for myself. She was always a sweet cat. Part independence and spunk and another part sweetness and cuddler. She was the only cat and she was always a little regal in nature. She was in charge. And the dogs . . they knew it. The older she gets, the more she just wants attention. To lay in a lap and get her ears scratched. Unfortunately, I haven't been around much to do that lately.

I had 4 animals growing up. Squirt was a little terrier mix who was the sweetest, most loyal pet I've ever known. She was my first dog and I got her when I was 5. She was originally named "Lady" but "Lady" and "Lanie" got confusing (especially when my mom was shouting for one of us from across the house) so we decided to change her name. We had been calling her a little squirt ever since we'd gotten her and eventually the nickname stuck. She was dumb as a box of rocks but she loved me so much and I felt the same way about her. She died my first year away at college at 17 years old and I was absolutely heart-broken.

Jasmine was a rottweiler who wouldn't hurt a fly. We got her on my 11th birthday and I got her name from the movie Aladdin, that had just come out 6 months before. My mom had always loved rottweilers and when she heard about a friend who had rottweiler puppies, she couldn't resist. Supposedly, Jasmine was my dog. But we all knew better. Jasmine and I were buddies and we loved each other very much. But she was my mom's dog and everyone knew it. They had a bond from day 1. Some people were afraid of her (at her biggest, she weighed 140 pounds!) but her worst fault is she'd try to lick you to death if you gave her the chance. She absolutely loved people. When she passed, my mom was devastated. We both loved her but it really tore my mom up. She was 11 years old, too young and still so sweet.

Finally, Yup was the dog we didn't figure on. My mom's boyfriend brought him home from a site that he was working at. He was a stray lab-mix puppy at the time and only a few months younger than Jasmine. He was named for the activity that he did constantly throughout his puppyhood. Though, he did grow out of the barking habit eventually. Eventually this boyfriend moved in and brought his dog with him. Yup was a nice dog but he bonded more with Jasmine than anyone else in the house. Those two dogs were best buds. When one left for a while, the other would be miserable until they got back. When the boyfriend left the picture, we ended up keeping Yup because we couldn't bear to split the two up. Yup survived all my other dogs. And I know he hated losing Jasmine as much as the rest of us did. He died last year, out of the blue, at 15 years old.

And now Ringtail is sick. She is 20 years old and that cat outlasted them all. I'm 27 years old and these animals represent part of my childhood. It hurt so much to know that they are old and sick. I love them and have so many memories of each of them. Saying goodbye to them is so hard and I wonder if they know how much I still care about them, even if I'm not there everyday. I have a serious soft spot for these (and all) animals. They were so good to me, there for me and so loyal and and sweet. And now the last one is leaving me. I hate that I couldn't be there more for them and that even though they started out as mine, as I grew up I had to leave them. So I'm leaving now to join my mom at the vet's. It really is a sad day.

~Layne

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