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Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Final Gift

This has been one of those "Dr. Death" weeks, where I've had to euthanize several pets.  All of them were severely ill and terminal, so it was completely justified.  But it still isn't easy for me or the clients, and I found myself teary-eyed more than once.

Euthanasia is hard.  But it allows an ease of suffering and a peaceful passing.  In many ways it's a gift, the final one we can give.  Our pets have given us so much life and joy, and we can help them end life peacefully.  This was brought to my attention in this way by one of my clients whose pet I put to sleep.  She has lost pets before and with her permission I'm sharing a poem she wrote about the experience.  I hope this can help those who have lost their own furry, feathered, or scaly loved one.

The Gift

It was Christmas of Nineteen Eighty Five
And my beloved cat Prince was no longer alive.
He'd died of pneumonia just three weeks ago
Prince was only three - it was a terrible blow.

That Christmas began just like any other -
Presents exchanged between sister, father, and mother,
But - surprise!  One final gift, sitting in Mom's lap
A teen week old bundle of fur, taking a nap.

She opened her eyes; they were a lovely amber-green,
Then, much to our delight, she started to preen.
She had a beautiful tail and long soft hair.
Cute white feet - a dainty lady most fair.

All she needed was a name, for she was all mine.
It had to be special for a kitten so fine.
Because it was Christmas, I chose Tiffany
It was appropriate, meaning "God's Gift" to me.

She was with me for many of life's trials.
My parents' divorce, a move of many miles.
A new school, new friends, my first summer job
She soothed me when all I could do was sob.

Then she had kittens - five months, two litters!
A total of ten, but they were cute little critters.
Mom said "Spay her!" so my first gift to her
Was no more worry about becoming a mother.

Then came college and yet another move
Tiffy took it in stride, like she had something to prove.
Then marriage, more moving, finally my degree.
And always Tiffany; her presence was her gift to me.

Many years passed and Tiffany grew older.
She didn't play as much, just wanted me to hold her.
Then an unexplained illness, and the dreaded answer.
My beloved gift was suffering from terminal cancer.

The veterinarian kindly explained there was no hope
After fifteen years together how could I cope?
So we took her home to love her while we could.
We gave plenty of treats, but not more than we should.

Finally, the time came, when she would no longer eat.
We took her to the vet and gave her one final favorite treat.
Never again to hear her loving, sweet purr.
No more suffering, eternal peace, my final gift to her.