Posted in Cats

After Oliver – Life Goes on but the Pain Lingers

It’s been a week of ups and downs for me. It started out on a heartbreaking note last Saturday when I had to say goodbye to my handsome 17-year old cat, Oliver after only 4 1/2 short but wonderful years together. Oliver had been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney disease two years ago but had been leading a comfortable life up until August when a vet visit showed a weight loss of three pounds and some bloodwork revealed the progression of the disease to Stage 4. He remained asymptomatic, but cats are very adept at hiding their discomfort. I also noticed he continued to lose weight, especially in his hindquarters, despite eating well.

At the end of October, Oliver began acting very lethargic. He wasn’t mowing or purring and, while he still slept with me, he no longer came up by my pillow. He also had difficulty walking. His hind legs became weak, and he could no longer jump up on my bed but cried for me to lift him up. He become fussier with his food and would only eat boiled chicken or cat food heavy in sauce. Consulting a vet, we tried several days of fluid therapy, but there seemed to be no improvement in his condition. The last day of his life he hid on the floor behind my headboard, and I knew he was letting me know it was time for him to go to Rainbow Bridge.

After I said goodbye to Oliver, in my sorrow, I thought about a story I had written last year for the Solstice Publishing fantasy anthology, The Realms of Fantastic Stories. It was also published as an eBook. The story was a tale about Rainbow Bridge, a place where pets are supposed to be reunited with their loving human after they die. I asked my publisher if this book could be put up for free in memory of Oliver. I had not intended the book to become a bestseller and never imagined it would become an International one, but it ended up being #1 in the U.S. Amazon category for fantasy and science fiction short reads and also in the top 100 in the United Kingdom and Canada. Although I made no money off these sales, I received two 5-star verified reviews and made many new friends worldwide, some of whom sent me private messages about the loss of their own cats. Amid my sadness, I was happy to know that I’d helped others who were grieving for their special fur babies.

Something that most people don’t know about me is that, in addition to being a librarian and author, I also own and operate a pet memorial center in the virtual world of Second Life. I joined Second Life initially to meet librarians from around the world who were part of the Community Virtual Library group. However, a year after I joined, my cat Floppy passed away. With the help of a few other librarians, I created Rainbow Gardens Pet Memorial Center, a beautiful place that features a pet viewer with photos of real-life pets contributed by residents of Second Life. I’ve just added Oliver to the viewer. Although I’m not as active in Second Life as I used to be because of my writing and other offline commitments, I still maintain the memorial center by adding seasonal decorations and pet photos as requested.

There are other virtual memorials. One where pets can be remembered in a variety of ways is online at https://www.rainbowsbridge.com/

Although you can purchase an annual Rainbow Residency for your pet, the Monday candle lighting services are free. I will be participating in one for Oliver this Monday, November 12, at 9 p.m. Anyone who has lost a pet either recently or in the past can also join in. Information on how to do this is included at the website.

On a brighter note, some nice things happened to me last week. My publisher sent me the date I would start working with an editor to prepare my recently signed mystery novel, Reason to Die, for publication.

Amazon also approved my Kindle Scout campaign for my psychological mystery/thriller, Sea Scope, that is running until December 8. I’ve had quite a few nominations for this book already and am hoping to be offered a publishing contract at the end of the campaign. If this happens, everyone who nominated the book will receive an e-copy. For more information and to vote for the book, click on this link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2372SIVNZ28O0

 

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Posted in Monday Blog

The Pain of Pets Passing

floppymemorial2It’s never easy to say goodbye to a beloved pet. I was reminded of this recently when a fellow author and editor of my publisher had to put her dear dog to sleep and another author friend lost her young cat suddenly. Their stories touched me and brought back sad memories of all the wonderful pets I’ve had through the years who are now gone but still in my heart.

My very first encounter with death as a young child was when a sweet kitten my mother brought home from a pet store died from feline leukemia. I went on to loving and losing many more special pets. My last was Floppy, a gray and white shorthair I had for 15 years. When I first brought Floppy home to the apartment I shared with my new husband, I discovered he suffered from asthma. Our vet put him on Prednisone and warned us it might have some side effects. At 8, Floppy developed diabetes. I learned to administer insulin shots to him, but he started having problems with his liver and also suffered a bout of pancreatitis. My husband and I spent a small fortune on hospitalizations, and he rallied several times, but the time arrived when I knew I had no choice but to let him go. I was just glad I could be there as the vet gave him that final injection. It was one of the saddest days of my life.

cloudyrainbowAfter Floppy passed away, I didn’t get another cat right away. I wrote a book that featured him as a character in it, “Cloudy Rainbow,” and I self-published it in the hope that others who have lost a pet might find some comfort through reading it. My vet even placed a copy in his waiting room. I found some other ways to memorialize Floppy. I enrolled him in an online pet memorial site that features pets (for a fee, although many others are now free) and offers a candle lighting ceremony. I also purchased a framed photo holder that included a copy of the famous Rainbow Bridge poem about pets being reunited with their owners in a special area of heaven reserved for animals.

olivercatI now have two cats. One of them, Oliver, a Siamese, is considered elderly at the age of 16. He was my mother’s cat but has been with us for three years. I was reluctant to take him in initially, but my daughter insisted. She was very young when Floppy passed away but still remembers him. Oliver has bonded with both of us and is a wonderful addition to our family. I know I will miss him immensely when he passes, but I am enjoying every day with him until that time.

Since I thought I’d lose Floppy earlier than I did, I was prepared with a pet casket I purchased online. I am thinking of cremating Oliver and keeping his ashes in a special memorial urn. I’m hoping it will not be necessary to make that decision for some time. No matter how short or long a beloved pet is with you it is never enough.

I’m including some links to sites that offer pet loss support as well as sell pet caskets and urns. These are for information only. I am not endorsing any of them, and you can find dozens and dozens of others.

Losing a pet is like losing a member of the family, and, although the grief subsides eventually, those special fur kids leave pawprints on our hearts forever.

http://www.rainbowbridge.com/

http://www.petcaskets.com/

http://www.petmemorial.com/

https://www.ilovedmypet.com/

http://www.petloss.com/

https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/services/pet-loss-support-group

http://www.memorial-urns.com/Pet-Urns/

http://www.perfectmemorials.com/pet-urns/