Saturday, November 26, 2011

A terrible, terrible week . . .

by Lorna Barrett / Lorraine Bartlett / L.L. Bartlett

It was only a month ago that I wrote about the loss of my mother's dog, Jessie ... and sadly, now I've suffered another lost pet.  My dear sweet Bonnie.

Almost 15 years ago we brought Bonnie and her sister Betsy home from the local humane society in a cardboard pet carrier.  We had gone there to get one cat.  We were looking for a tabby and Bonnie fit the bill, but they were trying to foist off both sisters and ... well, what's one more cat anyway?  We couldn't leave Betsy behind.  When we first saw them they were in a cage together, their little arms wrapped around each other.

Bonnie and Betsy keep warm by the heat run -- 4 months old.
Right from the start I knew that little tabby would be named Bonnie.  It took us about a week to decide the right name for her sister.  They were about four months old and cute as all get out.  I remember that day as if it was yesterday, and how we had to go out and buy another litter box because we didn't have enough for five cats.

Our then dominant cat Larry took to the kittens like a daddy.  He protected them, disciplined them, and they looked at him like love-struck teenagers.  Alas, Larry died the next year of cancer ... so their friendship was to be short-lived.

Larry and Bonnie - 1997.
Six years ago we adopted two other siblings, but unlike Betsy and Bonnie, they didn't get along with the other cats.  We ended up keeping Fred, but his brother George went to a new, loving, forever home.  Unfortunately, the experience traumatized Bonnie, who spent most of the rest of her life hiding from the boys.  But every night she would come out come out and sit on my lap, and if Mr. L ever sat in an easy chair during the day, she was there to keep him company.  (Right up until the end.)  The girls were great little travelers and often went with us to our summer cottage where they could be on vacation from the boys, and spoiled rotten.  They thrived on it.

Bonnie checks out the cottage kitchen sink - 2008.

We always thought Betsy would be the first to go.  She had blood cancer three years ago.  She was terribly sick and we thought we'd lose her for sure, but she went through chemo and has been in remission ever since. (Albeit a lot more crabby.  But we'll take her as she comes.)

A little over 18 months ago, Bonnie went through Thyrocat -- radiation to kill off her diseased thyroid.  She had to spend 10 days at the vet, and when she came home she wasn't allowed to sit on our laps for another two weeks.  (Try telling that to a dedicated lap cat.)  Radiation can cause cancer.  Did we do the wrong thing by having her go through that treatment?  I'll never know for sure ... but I'm feeling mighty guilty about it now.

It was less than two weeks ago when we knew for sure something was terribly wrong with our girl.  We took her to the vet for blood work and everything came out normal.  Time for an ultrasound.  (Was it only 8 days ago?)  That's when we got the news that she had a large tumor on her liver and pancreas.  There was no hope for our dear girl.  And that traumatic experience sent her over the edge.  That morning she'd been herself ... after the ultrasound, our Bonnie quickly started disappearing.  It's almost as though she understood the diagnosis.

One of my favorite pictures of Bonnie--sitting on my lap.  June 2008
I've had to make the decision to take a pet to the vet one last time, and it's never easy, but this was the hardest yet.

Bonnie loved her cat cookies and was always the first to be ready at her treat bowl.  She had little white toes that we called her elephant toes because they reminded us of pachyderm feet.  She would sit pretty for her dinner.  She loved to spend the day having an adventure on the trundle bed at the cottage.  She always had a warm, dry nose. She liked to sleep in the sun on a winter's afternoon.  She loved to sit on our laps.  Always.  And when she spoke, she always said "Brack!"

Bonnie at the cottage -- Memorial Day Weekend 2011.
I miss you, my dear sweet Bon-Bon.
P.S.  I steal this from Susan Branch's blog.

"Nothing on earth can make up for the loss of one who has loved you."
--Selma Lagerl


Dru said...

This is a beautiful tribute to a lovely friend. {{{hugs}}}

ev said...

What a lovely story. Hugs to you all.

How is her sister handling this?

The Cat Bastet said...

I'm glad you have so many happy memories of your precious Bonnie to comfort you. It's always hard to lose a dear, furry friend.

Cathy AJ

Lynn in Texas said...

L, I'm so sorry for your loss. Bonnie was such a wonderful part of your family.

I know the feeling of grieving for a furry best pal, as we recently lost our 14 yr. old Siberian Husky right in the middle of me trying to complete NaNo and co-ordinating things with friends & family obligations. You have our deepest sympathy.

Victoria Hamilton said...

I'm so sorry! I've been there, and it is the worst thing, having to make the decision to spare the ones we love so much, the pain they are silently enduring. I wish, for you, peace and the serenity that comes from knowing you did the right thing.

The Cozy Mystery Journal said...

Such lovely tribute for such an adorable cat. I loved ER mischief in the sink! That reminds me of my own kitties. Big hugs from my kitty family to yours.

Kristin A. said...

Lorraine, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. May all the wonderful memories you have of sweet, little Bonnie and the lovely photographs bring you peace. May the Lord comfort your heart and your home.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I'm so sorry! They look so sweet, and you gave such a lovely tribute.

Aurian said...

I am very sorry for your loss! And admire of you taking home so many cats who really need one.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I had to make a hard decision for my poor Columbo a few weeks ago. They are always in our hearts, and we will be reunited in Heaven.

Shirley in Baltimore

Melissa said...

I'm crying as I just read your beautiful tribute to Bonnie. You had some wonderful years together, and you have wonderful memories, but it doesn't make the hurt any less. It is horrible that we have so little time with our fur babies. HUGS.

Jeannie said...

Bonnie , in my heart, feels your love. I know I do. Your tribute to Bonnie is touching and felt across the span of time and space.

Suzanne said...

I'm so sorry. She's had a great life with you and got to be with her sibling which is so nice.

Katreader said...

I am so sorry for your loss. Take time to grieve. Know that Bonnie is healthy now and waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge.

Mason Canyon said...

Lorraine, so sorry to hear about your loss. Letting go of one of our four-legged, furry children is hard. The photos are beautiful and such a sweet tribute. Sending you hugs and keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

Thoughts in Progress

Heather said...

So very sorry to hear about Bonnie. It is so hard to loose a feline companion!

Unknown said...

It's so hard to lose a pet. My family had O'Malley for 12 years. He died my sophomore year of college. When my dad was dying, 15 years after O'Malley died, we had a going-away party. My dad was in his hospice bed, my aunt Pat brought a pitcher of Old Fashioneds, and there were the untouched two pounds of peanut M&Ms on the nightstand.

We talked about everyone my dad would see in heaven: his own father, who had died in 1968, his best friend, who had died in a ship's fire in the 60s, and O'Malley.

How can it be heaven if your pets aren't there with you?