Trudy Mae passed away yesterday. She had a mouth full of cancerous tumors. I didn’t know that and I certainly didn’t see losing her. At least not yesterday.
I took her to the vet for a follow-up to an ear infection that was possibly contributing to swelling on the side of her face. I did not take her knowing she was leaving the house for the last time. It could not have been further from my mind.
Trudy Mae and her sister Stella Rose were being given away for free in the parking lot in front of the local Dollar General 11 years ago. Trudy Mae was diligently and purposefully scrapping six pieces of dirt together in the bottom of the container they were in so she could pee. Gotta admire that tenacity. I sure did.
A few people came by and I heard them say, “I would take them if they were boys because boys don’t get pregnant.” I told the couple with the cats that I would take them both if they had a box I could put them in to carry them home.
Today I saw this post on Facebook and had to save it. Though Trudy Mae was not “a very old” cat, the message is still the same — our companions put us in the inevitable face of our own death, fragility, vulnerability. I think it aptly applies to any animal companion your share your life with.
Living with a very old dog means feeling your heart speeding up every time you see them a little more still than usual and approaching with the fear that they have stopped breathing.
Living with a very old dog means being aware that some of the things you’ll do together may be the last.
Living with a very old dog means thinking “this is their last summer “, “this is their last July “, “This could be the last morning”.
Living with a very old dog means they bark at any noise at any time, not because they know what they are barking at, its they feel they need to bark and let us know.
Living with a very old dog means, you have to lift them up into the truck, the bed, the couch, the stairs.
Living with a very old dog means putting off commitments because it’s important to be close to them.
Living with an old dog means we trip over them because they are so sound asleep they don’t hear us approaching them.
Living with an old dog means accidents in the house, its ok they don’t mean to do it.
Living with a very old dog means feeling guilty because you know you could have done more, giving them more runs, more travel, more hugs, more caresses, more everything.
I would like to say that living with a very old dog also puts us in the face of our own death, fragility, vulnerability.
Living with a very old dog means we got to experience life with a very old dog, which is one of the best joys on earth!