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Willy, I'll Never Stop Missing You


Peg W

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Willy was born Feb. 19, 1997, 8 days before my husband of 35 years passed away very suddenly. At the time I had a 5 year-old female Persian and didn't think I'd get another cat. Then in May, 1997 I saw an ad in the paper for a litter of Persian kittens and decided to have a look. I came home with Willy, a pure white male with big copper eyes. Over the years he was extremely healthy, with just an occasional cough that was attributed to hairballs. I gave him hairball remedy and brushed him regularly. Last October the cough that he had grew more persistent and I took him to the vet. The vet said he thought he had feline asthma and treated him with prednisone. He didn't really get better and I took him back and they ran a blood workup, which did not show any problems, so the prednisone was continued. On Feb. 10 he hurt his front leg and couldn't walk on it. I was so scared that it was broken or something, but the vet examined him and said it was just a sprain. A week went by and the leg got better. Then on Feb. 17 I noticed he was having very labored breathing. I thought it might be the medicine causing it, so I waited two more days. On Monday afternoon he wasn't any better and I took him back to the vet who then did an x-ray. When he showed me the x-ray I couldn't believe my eyes. He had very little viable lung and the rest was filled with either fluid or a tumor. The vet did a chest tap, and said there was no fluid that it was a solid tumor, inoperable. I had to decide what to do, but I couldn't watch him struggle to breathe, and he was euthanized on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 8:15AM. He was 10 years old on Monday, Feb. 19. My adult daughter went with me, and I stayed with him until the end with my hand on his head. And now I cry, and cry and cry. He was my soulmate, the love of my life, and he came into my life at a time when I needed him most. He had very large shoes to fill, and he did it with ease and grace. He had a "purrrrrrsonality" like no other cat I've ever had. I have placed photos of him in every room in my home, as he went with me everywhere. If he were here now, he'd be sitting on the desk in front of me. Everywhere I look I see him. I know time will help, but I will never stop missing him. Following is the dedication that I wrote to him in the photo album I have made up:

Dear Willy - You were the light of my life. You filled my heart with joy and sunshine. Your love reverberates deep into my soul. This home will never be the same without you. I miss your sweet face and your always-ready rumble, your warm body in my lap or on my feet. You knew my moods and were always there for me no matter what. I love you so much!! Rest in peace my dear friend, you left this world way too soon!!

A wonderful poem that is helping me through the grieving process is The Rainbow Bridge. It has a marvelous message. [attachmentid=112]

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Peg,

I am so sorry about Willy. I enjoyed seeing the pictures, he was beautiful.

I wanted to share a cat story with you. On Dec.7th 2006 I lost my mom and that very same night I had to put my dog to sleep. It feels like I lost my 2 best friends in the same night. I have 2 barn cats, one is so loving and loves to cuddle. I have always been a dog person...until lately. When I am really sad and struggling thru the day, I often drive down to my barn, call the cat and out he comes, hops in my car and we just hang out. I don't know alot about cat behavior, but I think he is really happy sitting in the car with me! He purrs and purrs, rubs under my chin, and lays up around my neck.

I find so much comfort in being with him! I am so sorry you had to put Willy to sleep, I know how hard this is. Just thought you might like to hear from a "new cat lover".....I will keep you in my thoughts.

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Dear Peg,

I just wanted to let you know how sorry I am to hear of your loss. It is so difficult to lose a beloved pet. As you have already said, time will help, but you will always remember and miss him. That is how I've found it has been with Tawny, my precious dog that I had to euthanize 7 months ago. Time has helped heal the worst of the pain, but there are still times when the pain will return, and I know that I will never forgot her. She was only 1 1/2 years old when she had to be put down due to kidney failure so I also know the pain of losing an animal "too soon." And the year before both of my parents died 7 weeks apart. Why does it always seem that losses come in groups like that?

Thank you for sharing your pictures of Willy-he was absolutely beautiful. I wish you peace in your difficult journey of grief and let us know how you are doing.

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Annie,

Thank you so much for your note. Please accept my sincere condolences on your losses also. I can't imagine what you are going through. I lost my mom in 1978 and my dad in 1982, but there weren't any pets involved then. When I lost my husband in 1997, it was very sudden and unexpected, but Willy just seemed to know the role he had to fill and he was such a wonderful companion. He just filled that hole in my heart every day for 10 years. I've had dogs and cats, but I much prefer cats. I hope you and your new buddy form a great bond. It appears you already have, and he'll be there for you whenever you need him. Blessings to you.

Hi avsqr_dancer,

You don't give your name, but I just want to thank you for your note of sympathy. I've had to have pets euthanized before, but none hit me like this one. Willy was my precious kitty who came into my life at a time when I had a huge hole in my heart. He had a huge role to fill and he did that every day for 10 years. I know the pain will eventually go away, but now there is another hole in my heart without him. I am getting another kitty from the SPCA next week and I think that will help. I still have my 15-year-old Persian, but I know she won't be around too much longer either. Maybe I'll end up getting two cats. Anyway, thanks again for your note and my heart goes out to you on your loss also.

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To Willy's Mom:

Your story and pictures made my heart break again. I know the pain you're feeling and would like to share the story of my precious Snowball.

In 1992 I'd been in AZ for only a few months. I was working at a local hospital when my supervisor, who knew I was a cat person, rushed in and told me that an abandoned newborn kitten had been found in one of the courtyards (we had a large population of strays). I went out to look and there laying in the Arizona sun in August was a tiny white newborn with her umbilical cord still attached. She was obviously overheated and struggling to breathe. I put her tiny body on one of our huge hospital blankets and took her to a vet.

As young as she was, they were able to rehydrate her and I took her home. A woman vet tech at this vet's office became Snowball's weekday mommy and I got her on the weekends. We bottle fed her and she thrived. I'll always regret that I never took her back to visit this woman because I'm sure that much of Snowy's sweetness was because of the kindness she received as a baby.

I remember the exact moment I fell in love with her. She was still bottle feeding, but at least 2 or three weeks old. I held her in one hand and held her bottle in the other. When I looked down from the T.V., she was fast asleep in my hand, her bottle firmly in her mouth. That's when I knew she trusted me completely and that I was "mommy".

Some of the moments that stand out in the almost 15 years of her life include me teaching her to use a litter pan. She was just a tiny kitten when I put her in the litter pan. I took her little paw and moved it through the litter. It only took a couple of tries and she was doing it on her own. Another time I had dinner guests. Snowball was about 5 or 6 months old and we were sitting around talking when she ran out of my bedroom carrying a huge ball in her mouth. Her long fur was all puffed out. She looked so proud of herself and so cute. I only wish I'd had a camera.

The last time I'd like to tell you about is when I adopted the Smokey Joe kittens. I'd been fostering 4 grey kittens, but decided to keep them all. Up to that point they'd been separated from my others. When I let them out, I thought it would be showdown at the O.K. corral. My cats were on one side of the room and the kittens on the other. Some of my cats started growling until Snowball walked up to one of the kittens and started licking him. From then on they were accepted by my other kitties. That act of sweetness was typical of her personality. I later came to realize that she was part Ragdoll and that this breed is exceptionally sweet and loyal. By the way, all the Smokey Joes remained devoted to her for the rest of her life.

Snowy slept in the crook of my arm every night and greeted me when I came home from work. She sat in my lap when I worked, read or watched T.V. The men in my life came and went, but my baby was always a constant. If I was hurt or lonely, I held her when I cried.

When Snowy was about 10 years old, she developed health problems. I nursed her when sick, drove to Mexico several times a year to get her medicine because it was not available here, and fixed her medicine twice a day. Along the way I spent so much money on her, my family thought I was crazy...but to me it was worth it. Snowball had my heart. She saw me through my own health issues,as well as, the loss of friends and lovers.

On January 24, 2007 it became apparent that she was suffering. The vet said that she was in end-stage renal failure. I could've tried once more with more medicine and subcutaneous fluids...but she'd just be through that the month before and hated it. So, I made the decision to let her go.

I can honestly say that it was the most difficult decision I've ever made. I go to a great vet practice who let me be with her before, during and after the procedure, but I haven't cried that hard since I was a child.

Since she's been gone, the house seems empty. I cry almost every night because she's not there to curl up against my arm. I still have six cats, Snowy was the third cat I lost this year to old age and illness, but none of them is my special baby. I too have put pictures everywhere and have her ashes here with me. Half the time I feel numb and the other half desparate to have her with me again. My head knows that I won't be able to replace her, but my heart has pushed me to contact breeder after breeder looking for a kitten that resembles her. I have never in my life paid more than an adoption fee for my babies, but I keep hoping that by getting a Ragdoll, I'll get at least a little piece of her.

So you see you're not alone in your grief. There are others of us who have experienced that special love that you only give to and get from animals. My heart breaks for you and all the others who have lost someone special. I try to take solace in the fact that, given the choice, I would never have given up my time with Snowy or any of my other babies to avoid the pain I now feel. Snowball enriched my life so much and I learned to be a better person because of her. She taught my patience, unconditional acceptance, kindness, and devotion. She will always be with me and as I always told her...I will love you forever Snowball.

Thanks for letting me tell you about my special girl.

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Dear Snowball's mom,

What a beautiful heartwarming story! I am sorry for the pain of the loss you are feeling now. And you are right-there are many of us here who share in this pain and understand the deep attachment to an animal and its profound loss.

Kim,

My name is Serl. I hope that getting a new kitten will bring you at least some comfort. Everyone has a different take on if/when to get another pet after such a deep loss. But I want to share my story with you. Soon after Tawny died, I did get a new puppy, who happened to be from the same doggie parents as Tawny was and Tanner( her littermate) is. They are wonderful, sweet dogs and no animals before have given me the joy or captured my heart so completely as they have. My husband works with the owner of these dogs so that is how I heard about this puppy. He said that she was the last one left of the litter and needed a good home. So I went to look at her and held her, but still I didn't know what I should do-if I should take her home. But I did and I never regretted it!! I named her Sweet Pea, which was my nickname for Tawny, and she provided me so much comfort esp in the first days following Tawny's tremendous loss. No, she didn't replace Tawny, and the pain was still there, and the tears still flowed, but she was also able to provide me with smiles and some laughter. As I needed to housebreak her (she was 6 weeks old when we took her home) and other training, it helped me stay focused. So out of the tragedy came some good/ something positive. I know that we provide a much better home for her than the original owners do, and we saved her from going to the pound (if he couldn't find her a home). Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that getting a new pet soon after did work for me, and I also hope that it will help you too. Like I said, she didn't replace Tawny, and 7 months later, the pain is still there, but tempered with the love I have for Sweet Pea and for my also precious boy, Tanner.

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  • 9 months later...

Dear Snowball's Mom - Well, it has been nearly 10 months since you told me your story of Snowball. Your story was very similar to mine about my Willy. But good things have happened since my last post. On March 9 I went to a local SPCA shelter where they were overrun with cats. After a careful search, I decided to bring Smokey home. He was 18 mos old at the time and had been among 270 cats seized from a woman's home. He is part Russian Blue, has been neutered and is an exceptionally sweet kitty. He loves to play fetch with a ball, and he loves all visitors that come by. I decided I really wanted two kitties, and on April 19 I went to another SPCA shelter where a litter of 5 8-week-old kittens had been brought in the day before. I immediately fell in love with a grey male and brought Dusty home on April 21. He has turned into a gorgeous long-haired part Maine Coon large kitty. The two boys get along excellent, play together, eat together, sleep together, and follow me wherever I go. I love them both very much. They have really helped fill the void of losing Willy. Unfortunately, my 16-year-old female, Tilly, refused to get along with the boys and, with winter coming on, I couldn't leave her in my cold garage where she spent the summer. She refused to come in where it was warm, and I couldn't let her freeze. I put an ad in a local pennysaver to find a new home, not figuring anyone would want such an old cat. But a lovely couple called and came out the next day and took her home. She keeps in touch with me and Tilly is doing fine. I am thankful she can live out her last days in comfort, and I really haven't missed her too much. She was pretty much an anti-social cat. I'm attaching photos of my two boys.

Have a happy new year!!

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