I work up early this morning to begin getting ready for a trail run. I fed the pets – not to forget the cats (not that Buster would let me forget). I knocked out several miles on Turkey Mountain with Ruby and a friend. Upon returning home I took on the usual tasks of unloading the car and bringing in Ru from our fun morning. As I was putting away items my boyfriend came into the kitchen carrying our elderly cat Buster. Buster has been in my life 15 years (our Vet Dr Huckaby at Bent Arrow thinks he is closer to 18-20 years old). After a quick call to the vet’s office we jumped into the truck and dashed off to Oklahoma Veterinary Specialists. On our way there Buster began to convulse (at 10:52 AM). These convulsions continued as we ran into the lobby and the receptionist called for a tech to the lobby STAT. The staff was super compassionate and quick. The vet came into the room and spoke with us conveying that Buster was in fact not doing well. My first question was what kind of quality of life Buster could expect going foward. She said it was impossible to know. I said “okay tell me about pain, Is there any chance he will ever not be in pain after this?” The vet told us that sadly from this day forward he would know a life of pain. That sealed the deal for me. I would never sentence a pet to pain just to postpone my emotional burden. They wrapped him up in a blanket and brought him in to us. I held him as the drugs were administered and he passed on. Even in the the last second I was looking him in the eyes and reassuring him that he was loved.
As is common when a loved one passes I immediately began to look through older photos. I chastised myself for having not made the time to take more photos of him and maybe even having him pose for a portrait. Why had I not? The honest awnser is that it would be like, well, it would be literally like herding cats. I looked back over the years Buster had been in my life. At the time I got Buster he was a fully-matured mouthy cat with quite the sense of humor. Not only did he enjoy sneaking up on my calico cat and scaring the living daylights out of her he preferred the company of dogs; specifically older dogs. He loved to curl up in the exact same position as the dog. He was a guard cat, a beggar and a food thief.He spent so many years sleeping next to my head all night long in this way he was like a teddy bear. Car rides made him nauseous (this was a particular disaster in cross-country moves). He loved to talk and had taught himself phrases like “Hello”, “Help”, “I love you”, “Mamma?” and his favorite “HAM!”
In the past year we have had to say good-bye to two fur-kids. First our old lady Boxer Philly, and now Buster.
The phrase “you never regret the photographs you take only the ones you fail to take” certainly ring true today.
For me today is a harsh reminder that you never know what can change in just a few hours. From here forward I vow to make an effort to take that photo that I have been neglecting. I hope you will, too.