Thursday, September 11, 2008

Are You Going To Cross The Rainbow Bridge?

...Not that I'm in any hurry to be kicking off or anything, truth be known I have an extremely intense fear of dying. But, if I must, atleast I can look forward to crossing the Rainbow Bridge. By the time I get myself to the pearly gates after crossing said bridge they're going to think Noah's Ark has shown up, then they'll quickly put up the neon flashing 'No Vacancy' sign. Let's just say I've had my share of pets, adoptees, strays, etc... in my rather short life so far. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Rainbow Bridge here's what it's about (Have a tissue handy if you're a wussy like me):

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to the Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

So that's what it's about. It's a great theory, I'm going to go with it. I kind of feel bad though, it says it's only for animals who were particularly close to a human... what about a pet that wasn't? You know, the ones sitting in shelters who end being euthanized for space reason? They didn't get a chance to be close to someone, so where do they go? I guess it's not good enough that I worry about the animals that are alive, now I have to worry about the ones who aren't. Oh the humanity, where does it end?! And why am I such a sucker?! Did I mention a new stray has shown up in our yard? It did. Am I feeding it? Ofcourse I am. Do I plan to bring it in the house? Obviously. Is Mr. Pretties happy? Hells no. But he knew what I was like going into this so he deals. He's even been known to leave food out for the stray while pretending that he didn't. He's a sucker too, he just doesn't like to talk about it. Did I tell you he sat and held Thomas' life less body and cried the night he passed away? He even offered to be the one to stay up with him until he was gone, but I felt that was more my job. He wanted me to wake him up when he had gone though, and he wasn't in bed very long before that happened. So he does have wussy potential. He even thanked me for turning him into a marshmellow (In a really sarcastic kind of way though...).

So why are we back talking about my cats in a kind of depressing way? No particular reason, I've just really been missing them. I actually feel uber guilty about Ralphy and that's hard feeling to shake. Ralphy only needed to be euthanized because we didn't have the $2000 to have his eye removed. That's the only reason. He was an excellent cat who got dealt a crappy pile of cards. Simply because he got his eye scratched his life had to come to an end. All I can fathom is what a waste that was. Such a waste of such a great personality. Now when I saw we didn't have it, I meant we did not have it. Not, we had it, but it was too much to spend on a cat. No. If we'd had it we would have done it in a second, no questions asked. Now don't get me wrong Mr. Pretties and I tried just about everything to get that $2000 for him. Mr. Pretties applied for loans, care credit, Farley's Fund, we phoned animal shelters to see what his survival rate would be there (Nil, they were all full and either wanted to put him on waiting list or would have euthanized him for expense reasons), we contacted 20 local animal rescues and they were all full, didn't want to take on the financial liability, or simply didn't reply. By the time we took Ralphy to his appointment that night we were pretty much hoping for a miracle, that by some wave of good fortune Ralphy would only need a shot of some antibiotics and a patch and everything would be good. We knew it was a long shot, but we had to be sure we explored all avenues for him. I was right, his eye had to be removed asap or the infection that had taken over it would slowly eat away at his brain and kill him, all the while causing him extreme pain. This wasn't what I wanted to hear. At this point the clinic had a 9 month pregnant woman near hysterics and I think they were afraid I was going to go into labour. They said because he was a stray we could take him home and call Animal Control and tell them there was a stray hanging around with a bad eye and they'd pick him up for free and euthanize him. That obviously wasn't the way to go, Ralphy deserved better. I opted to have him euthanized there so that I could stay with him, atleast he knew that someone loved him and that he wasn't alone and scared. I have that atleast. The vets felt bad for us so they covered 75% of the cost of having it done too. He went very quickly, he was gone before the needle was empty. The vet said it was because his body was so infected he likely would have died on his own in a few days. I wrapped him up in his little orange blanket and kissed him good bye. It's hard to believe how much a little orange cat can shatter your heart. I miss him terribly, he was such a presence around here and can never be replaced. I can't wait to meet him on the Rainbow Bridge.

I miss Thomas too, he was a good, loyal companion for a long time, but he had been old and sick for a long time, we knew this was coming. He slept with me on the couch the night before he died and we had some excellent snuggle time, he didn't appear sick at all at that point. The next night I knew without a shadow of doubt that this was our lastnight with our faithful friend, but because we'd spent the money putting Ralphy to sleep we didn't have it to offer the same kindness to Thomas. That really bothers Mr. Pretties and I know he harbours a lot of guilt about that to this day. I slept on the couch again that night and layed Thomas beside me, I stroked his silky long orange fur (Yes Ralphy and Thomas were both Orange. So is Wilma for that matter, we have an orange cat fetish) and finally fell asleep with my hand on his side. I woke up shortly after that a knew he was gone. We spent a fair amount of time saying good bye to him and then cut up his favorite pillow and wrapped him in the case and packed him into a Staples box. We took him to the vets in the morning and had him cremated with Ralphy. We didn't get the ashes back because it was too spendy, if I could I would have in a heart beat. The vet had told me she would make a paw print of Ralphy and they'd call me to pick it up the next week. So when I went to pick it up it was all wrapped fancy in a gift bag with a card, etc... and I noticed the card said 'Ralphy & Thomas' so I took out the tissue paper and saw this:

Even though we hadn't asked they must've unpacked Thomas and did his paw print too. I thought that was the sweetest thing and cried profusely. I didn't think it was possible to have his done so I didn't ask and secretly I'd been really sad about not being able to have it. This was such a great gift, atleast now we'll always have 'something' and that means a lot. I really cherish these things.

I think the moral of this story should be that if you really love you pet, and the thought of losing them over something stupid like a scratched eye makes you break into a sweat, then pet insurance is your new best friend. We hadn't had time to have Ralphy vaccinated, neutered, chipped and insured yet, we had planned to later that month. Later that month was too late for Ralphy and he could have been saved if we'd had insurance. $20 a month could have insured that we would never loose him due to not being able to fund emergency procedures he may need. If you've never read about pet insurance, it's really awesome and a lot of people use it now.

There are tons more, but there are some. I know there are better companies too, ask your vets, they'll have all the pamphlets and the comparisons between companies. I can't stress how worth it is if you can do it. If we'd had it Ralphy would be here instead of spread in some cat garden somewhere with Thomas.

Thanks for reading my depressing post, I hate it when my posts aren't peppy and funny, but I just had to post about this, and show you my sweetheart's little paws. I have Thomas pictures but I can't find them in the 2000 pictures we have unlabeled (other than by number, oy!) on the computer, and the one and only picture we have of Ralphy is on the previous post about this topic.

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