Monday, May 2, 2011

My Pet Story--In Memory of

In Memory of THOMAS:
1992 - 4/11/2009

This is probably the hardest pet story for me to tell, because it’s about my best friend “Thomas-Tommy” who passed over in April of 2009.
Since the 2nd. Anniversary of his passing was April 11th., I felt it was time and that I owed it to him, before I could tell any stories of the three critters I have now.
I had managed to get this great job as asst. manager of a high end gift shop at our mall in 1991. I love collectibles, figurines, artist dolls, Bradford exchange items & other unique statues & gifts that this shop offered. I was in gift heaven.
I had just moved to the town that I live in because of this job and I loved being in the mall. During lunch breaks or after work, I often shopped the other stores. I was ready for a kitten/cat and I checked the pet store that was there, at the time. This pet store was associated with a couple of vet offices in the area & sold cats that had been taken to the shelters or abandoned kittens, after medical checks, spay or neutering.
I walked in, only to be greeted by a sweet affectionate black 9 month old female cat, who had just been spayed. I fell in love with her & that was it. I had to give her a few days for recovery before I could take her home and I called her “Kiki”. She was just a wonderful loving cat and I never regretted the day I chose her.
When I took Kiki home, I told them that I was looking for a male kitten/cat with long silvery grey fur, because I had a couple of them before. One week later, I received a call in my store that they had gotten one in that was 14 weeks old and I went immediately to see him, when I got a break.
When I walked into the pet store, they told me that the kitten was in the back, getting a beauty treatment. I walked back & saw this gorgeous grey kitten in a cage with his fur blowing as if in the wind. He had just had a bath & they were gently drying him on the low speed of a hair dryer that was hooked up outside his cage, in front of him. It was so cute. Naturally I took him and made arrangements to pick him up & take him home after work.

I was elated, because here I was, in a new apartment, with a new job I loved, and two great cats, which were part of a few of my favorite breed types. How fortunate I felt.

Well, Kiki ended up being just the perfect cat and she took to Tommy ( which was named after the cat in Tom & Jerry). She was more mellow and Thomas was a rascal.
His nose was into everything and he wanted to watch everything that was going on.
So, I ended up putting Tommy on my shoulder to watch while I was cooking or doing dishes etc. because he was snoopy & loved heights. He loved that I carried him around the house like that constantly. He had to be up on the bathroom sink, if I was getting ready to go to work or anywhere else. He especially loved the smell of “clean” things & wanted to be held and cuddle around my neck after every shower.

I let them go out on my patio balcony, which was 1 & ½ stories up. There was another floor above us. We lived with the front of our apartment next to a glassed in hallway, so there was, sort of, a center, doorway, roof peak, to one side of our patio, at the entrance.
Thomas scared the heck out of me at first when he learned to jump from the patio to that pointed roof and then jumped from there to the roof, which was flat and it was crazy of him to do it. He brought home 2 or 3 birds one year and we had a bit of a battle with me trying to get the (still alive) birds from his mouth to let them go & fly away. I think he thought I didn't appreciate his efforts.
One evening, just after dark, he came in with a dark figure of a bird ( I thought) and it got free from him in our kitchen, after I chased him in there with it hanging from his mouth. Very quickly, I realized that it wasn’t a bird, but a black bat & panic set in with me screeching of course and I was trying to figure out what to do, to capture this bat & get it out of my house. I was petrified. YEEK!!
Eventually I caught the bat & trapped him between the side of my broom and in the dust pan. I flew to the patio door & threw it up in the air to fly away, with Tommy right there beside me, all of the while, not understanding why I didn’t appreciate his great gift.
Over the period of five years, Tommy made friends with the neighbors & their cats by going to the roof & getting down on their patios. Everyone loved Thomas.
Another favorite time for us, is when I would rock Tommy & Kiki in my rocker like babies. Kiki was merely OK with it once in a while, but Thomas “Loved it” and would cuddle & fall to sleep often. He was my sweet baby boy then. I rocked him for years and sometimes danced with him on my shoulder around the room. He loved that too. My daughter said she had never seen a cat so spoiled, because she'll never forget me cleaning his fuzzy little long haired butt, one time, when he had a messy accident. No wonder he thought I was his mother, she said. LOL!

Then, the following summer, my youngest daughter, who lived with me at the time, said she stopped by the pet store & I HAD to look at this new kitten that they just got in. She said she fell in love & knew that I would too, if I saw him. At first I was saying no & we didn’t need another cat etc., but she convinced me, because they had let her bring him with her to show me at work. Oh great! I saw “Max” for the first time. Max was a darling little long fur tuxedo kitten and she was right, I fell in love instantly & took him home. Kiki was Ok with him, but he was a feisty kitten & went after Thomas constantly to play. They ended up becoming good buddies & brothers. All of us lived a charmed life for 5 years, then I decided to move. We moved to the top part of a pretty 2 story house, near downtown & the kittles had more room & a big sun porch to play on.
However, that only lasted a year, because in that year I became totally disabled & had to give up my job. There were several adjustments we had to make & one of them was losing part of our happy family. Where I was moving to, didn’t allow pets. I was sick & frantic & it was too late to change anything. Eventually, I tried to find them good homes, but I only found someone to take Tommy. Poor Kiki & Max ended up in a shelter. It was so hard to take, and after a week, the lady that took Tommy called me up & said she couldn’t keep him, so I went to get him. In one way, I was so glad and in another, I didn’t know what to do then. But, I found out I could keep Tommy by getting a letter from my doctor recommending animal companionship. I did just that, because I had been so depressed over losing them & was determined to keep Tommy somehow. It was an omen to me that we were meant to stay together. Thomas and I were ready to spend the rest of our lives together. He was approximately 6 years old then.

He was always so healthy and active. We got extremely close and learned each other’s habit and developed our own language between us. He knew what I was saying and I knew what he was saying. He had certain meows that meant different things and he learned what I wanted when I said certain things, like “Lets go to bed or Let’s go outside” etc. We learned to carry on our own personal conversations about almost anything. Some cats are highly intelligent.
He became my best friend & confidant. We would go for walks together, because I never let him outside without me. He met & was kind to other cats and became friends with a couple in the neighborhood. He had such a gentle, kind & loving spirit. Everyone knew & loved him here too. I sometimes called him Boo or Bubba.
Thomas went through his share of dealing with cats & kittens, who taunted him over the years, that spent time with us. He let kittens play & jump on him & bite his butt & all of the things kittens do, but he had amazing patience & tolerance.

Over the next 10 years we were content with each other and I had never left him alone for any period of time, until My dad got very ill 3 & ½ years ago. My parents lived in another state, so I ended up having to leave Tommy for a couple of weeks. The first time ever apart for more than a night.
I got a neighbor girl who just loved him to look after him while I was gone. In less than 2 months, I made 3 trips to my parents & on the last one, Dad passed away. I was deeply distraught and I missed & worried about Thomas too. After Dad was buried and I went home, Thomas was so excited to see me, he had missed me so much. The first time I came back after the first 2 week stay, he ran around like a crazy kitten for 2 or 3 days, he was so happy. He made things a little easier for me, but he knew I was terribly sad. He only had a lot of patience & love to offer me.

Almost two years after that, Tommy got ill for the first time in his life and although he was throwing up from time to time, I didn’t take it seriously for a couple of months. I know now, that I should have been more concerned. He was drinking tons of water and cried out when he went to the bathroom. I made an appt. then to get him to the vet, though I had this dread inside that it was coming to an end. He was 17 years old in April of 2009 and the vet built him up with IV’s & meds, but said it may just hold him a little longer. It was only for a few weeks.
About 5 or 6 weeks later, he started to have bloody urine and I rushed him to the vet again one morning. I had taken a lot of pictures of him the day before & night before he passed on. I had a feeling that it would be my last night with Thomas & I stayed up all night petting him & talking to him. He always slept right by me on the other side of my pillows and I rubbed his wonderful soft fur & told him how much I loved him, over & over. He just looked at me with those eyes filled with love, as he tried to rest. When I got him to the vet that day, he confirmed my worst fears and told me that it was time to let Tommy go, because he was dieing. It broke my heart, but I did it for Tommy, to end his suffering and stood there with him, holdimg his paw and talking to him softly as I watched that special light fade from his loving green eyes. I came home and broke down and couldn’t stop bawling for 2 weeks. I FELT LIKE SOMEONE HAD SLUGGED ME IN THE GUT. I lost my best friend and companion of 17 years and didn’t know how I’d be able to go on. Losing Dad and Thomas was losing the 2 strongest & constant males in my life. I could hardly bare it. I'm sure a lot of you know that feeling, unfortunately.
I put Tommy’s dishes & quilt away that day, because I couldn't take seeing them right there in front of me.
My wonderful daughter, Renee, had him cremated for me & I got him back in a nice cedar box two weeks later. I had put it in a cabinet out of sight for a while. It took me months before I could look in the box and I put his toy mouse in there with him & there it stays, NOW in the curio cabinet. It took a year for me to recover some & another year before I could talk about him for this story.
So this is for you, my sweet and precious boy, whom I still love dearly and will always miss.
I’m only half now, of who I was with you here. There’ll never be another like you, My Dearest & Best Friend.


This story was submitted by BJ of EXPRESSIONS on Artfire
BJ is a member of our Crafting for Animals Guild and Columnist for or Blog.


El at Tantalizing Stitches said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story! Animals are so wonderful.

Michelle said...

(((HUGS))) I know how you feel- your Tommy sounds like my Ozzy, who also passed in 2009. And then Gramma passed a few months later. I don't know how I would have made it if I hadn't found Calcifer. He filled that big hole in my heart, and has given nothing but love and joy (and Calcifer rides around on my shoulders "supervising" everything I do too). They're our furry little angels, and they make our lives better just by being who they are. Thank you for sharing this very touching story.
-Michelle of CreativeCritters

JLynnPro said...

What a beautiful story! Thomas was lucky to have you as a mom, and your kids sound great, being so supportive!

I have a shoulder rider, too. His name is Toranaga. I should write his story and send it to you.

Debra said...

What a great pet companion Thomas was! It sure sounds liike he was incredibly special. No doubt he enjoyed his long life in your care as well. Some pets are just so special and so close to us...thanks for sharing.

Pam said...

Thank you for sharing your story of Thomas and the love you shared for so long. It is a lovely reflection of your lives together.

Expressions by BJ said...

Thank you all for your kind words of understanding. This was my Angel, my gift from heaven that I'll always cherish & miss.