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