Tributes

Pilot
Phoebe
Skippy
Kittles
Skweekie
Greg
Ernie - shelter cat
Precious
Dusty
Bosco
Parker 2 - shelter cat
Mr. Sidyney - shelter cat
Windy - shelter cat
Bud
Bruce and George - shelter cats
Murray (King Forest)
Mingo
Yellow Fur
Buttercup - foster kitty
Andie - volunteer's kitty
Patch

Trans Am
- shelter kitty
Baby
- shelter kitty
Coco
Shayla

Baby - volunteer's kitty
Kayla
Tuffy
Katy
Capone
J.C.
Rainbow
Peekachoo
Parker 3
Nutty
Park Ave 8
Diamond
Brutus
Tiger  
Ariel - former shelter/volunteer's kitty
Miss Bea (Beatrix) 
Boomer
Dixie
Mistletoe  
Pumpkin
Sneakers
Akira (formerly Blackie)
Smudge
Doodlebug
Snickers

One of our shelter supporters asked if we would post this beautiful tribute.  How could we refuse?
In Memory of Diamond

For nearly 20 years you were apart of our lives. Losing you has been so painful, but remembering all the joy you brought to us calms the pangs of grief.

We saved you from an awful fate an unwanted litter to be destroyed. You came into our home a frightened 6 week old baby. Holding your shivering body, we coaxed you with a little milk and ice cream on our fingers and you began to purrsomething it seems you never stopped doing. 

You were our second cat and learned right away that Shilo ruled the roost. He pretended not to want you around, but we knew it was an act. Often enough, we caught him washing your fur your much smaller body being held down by his big brother paws.

When Shilo died some 8 years ago, you became top kitty. The others learned quickly that you were small in size, but in charge of everything especially your loving human family.

Since you were a kitten, holidays were a big deal for you. As soon as the scents and decorations started to go up you knew it was going to be a good time. When your ribbon was brought out, you would jump up onto the chair and sit there patiently while I christma-fied you! You just seemed to knowthis was a time of joy.Every gathering every party all the comings and goings found you right in the middle. Visiting with friends and family and partaking of all the goodies you desired. You even learned how to open the treat cans and help yourself. Holidays will always have an empty aching spot in them from now on.

You were Dannys best buddy and he misses you deeply. We all miss watching you come to the hallway whenever Danny returned home from school and in later years from work. The way you talked to him at those times was mystifying to most, but you two certainly seemed to understand what was being said. Right up until your last days, he would carry you around cradling your little paws in his big hands, you licking at his cheeks and purring.

Your favorite human meal was pasta with sauce and I can still see your little pink nose with its white symmetrical blaze all reddish-orange from a feast. It is unclear to me if you believed you were human or that we were felines, but it was always certain you believed us all to be equal demanding your seat at the table for birthday party cake celebrations or general visiting.

I knew you would not be with us forever. I know we were very fortunate to have your love and company for so long. Still, it seems you were lost to us so fast. It seems like you went from pouncing on our feet under the bed covers to sitting quietly in the sun for hours in such a short time. Too soon, you needed help to make it to the bed for a nice cuddle on a cold winters night. And in the end, you needed to be cradled while a damp cloth simulated washing you the way you would have if you could.

So now you are at peace, leaving us to grieve, but to always remember the love you gave and the joy you brought to our lives. We love you little Diamond. We always will.

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Brutus - male - 8 years

Brutus

Brutus came to the shelter after his owner died.  He wasn't doing very well so we brought him to Tufts Veterinary hospital.  He was found to have an incurable liver problem.  We couldn't allow him to suffer.

 
 
 
 
Tiger

Tiger - female - 7 years

Tiger came to the shelter when her owner died.  She has gone to join her beloved companion for eternity.

 
 
 
 
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Ariel (July 1996 - December 31, 2000)

Ariel

Ariel became ill in November and was rushed into Tufts Emergency two weeks ago.  She spent the next two weeks alternating between the Intensive Care Unit and my house.  Her diagnosis was chronic lung disease, asthma, and possible pneumonia.  Her chest X-rays revealed terribly diseased lungs and puzzled the radiologists completely.  They could not figure out what was really wrong with her.  On Sunday afternoon, I made the painful decision to stop her suffering.  She wasn't responding to treatment and even the tiniest exertion caused her to struggle for each breath.  

I asked her permission to let her go and she gave it to me.

I found out today (01/10/01) that Ariel had cancer of the pancreas, the liver, the spleen and the lungs.  My poor little girl.  I know now that helping her over the bridge was the right decision. Everyone at Tufts fell in love with you and you touched so many other hearts.  I know because I've been hearing from all of your admirers.

Rest in peace, my sweet girl.  Wait for me.
Gita

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Miss Bea (formerly Beatrix) 11/20/00

Dear PBS -
I am so upset that I have to send you this message. Miss Bea or Beatrix as she was called at your shelter passed away on November 15th, 2000.

Miss Bea, content in her new home

She had mammary gland cancer and was recuperating from her second tumor removal surgery on Oct 24th when it was evident that there was a problem. She stopped eating and drinking, a bad sign in any animal. I noticed her breathing was labored and that she was weak; all this happened over a period of 48 hours. We took her to Hudson Animal and the doctor told us that the cancer had gone into her lungs. The kindest thing to do for her was to put her to sleep.

Both myself and my husband are devastated by the loss of this kitty. She was the sweetest, kindest and gentlest of creatures that we had ever had. She had moved into our hearts so quickly and we loved her very much. We only had her for 10 months as she was adopted at the end of January 2000 - way too short for her (and us). I hope she enjoyed her time with us and that she finally became "part" of a family. This was something she never had before and settled into readily with unconditional affection.

Losing her was one of the hardest things I've ever had to face.
Liz and Tom Colley

P.S. I had sent in a Success Story about her in May - if you read it you will see the part about her not wanting to come down the stairs. As she only had one eye and poor eyesight in the other she couldn't see the stairs very well. One day I sat down on the top step and put her between my legs and we went down together. From that point on she came down every day for her breakfast and dinner. How we will miss her!

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Boomer 

In loving memory of Boomer

Boomer was not one of our cats, but our first web site award came from him and his human companions.  Boomer crossed over the bridge on October 25th after suffering from a severe blood clot....  Our prayers go out to his family.

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Dixie (formerly Donna) 

Dixie (formerly Donna) has been in our family since March. Though she was only with us for a short time, Dixie was a very loved and well adjusted member to our household. She accepted the other 2 cats w/ease and adjusted well to the children. She had a strong purr but a small voice. Her meow was a silent one.

We noticed Dixie becoming very relaxed and lifeless the past few weeks.  Assuming it was due to the very hot weather we've been having, we didn't give it much thought, until we noticed her not eating. When she finally made it to the Vet to be examined, we discovered that her kidneys were 3 times the normal size and she had lost 2lbs. Upon the x-rays results, we were referred to TUFTS for more testing to determine her problem.  Having kidney problems myself, I sympathized w/her. :(

Once at Tufts we learned that Dixie had Intestinal cancer and it had spread to her kidneys :( She had a big mass on her intestines. The poor baby was loaded with cancer. Needless to say, we decided to put her down at 11pm last night (7/5/00). It was very hard for us to say good-bye to such a beauty and a precious, sweet kitty :(

Rest in Peace Dixie, we'll miss you!
The Pelham Family

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Mistletoe

Recently, our Mistletoe, (your "Shorty"), whom we adopted through your shelter some 6 years ago, died at 9 years old of kidney failure after 6 wonderful years here with our family. We miss her so much as she was a special little girl.

We will send some photos and a check soon, in memory of our dear little "Mistletoe". Thank you again for all you do for so many many cats,
Bill and Lynn Patton and family

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Snatched from the Jaws of Death
(Or at least from the jaws of Pumpkin)

By Madeleine MacCallum, Shelter Volunteer

Pumpkin was a beautiful longhaired orange male. He was very friendly, and affectionate, but you wouldn't want to get between him and a chipmunk. 

One Saturday at the shelter, we were finishing up the chores when the prospective adopters started coming in. One couple was looking for a laid back orange cat. So I suggested Pumpkin.  Priscilla and I went out to the yard to find him. He wasnt hard to find that day. He was the center of attention of most of the cats in the yard because he had a small chipmunk hanging out of his mouth.

Picture this: a chipmunk, stomach side up, with his lower end firmly anchored in Pumpkins mouth. He was still alive with a wild eyed look, and his front paws were dangling together over his chest like he was saying his prayers, which he probably was.

I said to Priscilla "He's got a chipmunk!"  She clamped down on him from behind. I tried to grab him closer to his neck and jaw to work the muscle to try to get him to release. He flailed out with his right paw and pinned down my right arm by snagging my bracelet. It seemed to take forever to extricate my arm, all the while watching the poor little chipmunks chest heaving up and down.

Pumpkin was none too happy with this turn of events. Especially after I pressed the sides of his jaw and popped the chipmunk out. We were right by the fence, and the lucky little guy had enough presence of mind to run from the cats, through the fence, and back out into the field. Priscilla and I were still holding Pumpkin, who was vocalizing his displeasure. At the count of three we lifted him slightly off the ground, and released him as if we were passing a basketball to Michael Jordan during the playoffs. He shot forward into the crowd of cats, as we jumped back, and everybody else scattered.

Pumpkin went off in a corner to groom himself and sulk. We decided that it wasnt a good time to introduce him to new people. So Pumpkins loss (in more ways than one) was Luci's gain. (Luci was another laid back orange male who did not have any small mammals hanging from his mouth that day). So he went home that day with the nice couple, and Pumpkin remained to terrorize the local wildlife foolish enough to cross his path.

We miss you.

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Sneakers the Cat
 Renee

We adopted Sneakers, a beautiful orange tabby cat, from the Pat Brody shelter in July 1997. My daughters and I visited the shelter in hopes of finding a cat to love. From the moment we walked into the room, he was actively campaigning to be adopted. While the other cats were shy, he rubbed against us and climbed into our laps. When we gave our attention to some of the other cats, he stepped in his water dish and did all sorts of things to attract our attention.

Bringing Sneakers home was the fulfillment of a dream for me. I have always loved animals but only had a few pets in my lifetime. Growing up, we had 2 kittens but both were killed by passing cars on our busy streets, even though we tried to keep them indoors. My parents said, "no more". Once I got married, we lived in an apartment with a no pets rule and by the time we bought our house I was expecting our first child. This time, it was the doctor who suggested we wait to get a cat. Once the baby was born, the people at the Pat Brody shelter suggested we wait until our youngest child was three before adopting. More waiting! Five years later, when our girls were 3 and 5, it was finally time.

Sneakers had so many sweet habits. He would curl up on our laps, follow us around the house, and always try to sneak into our bedroom at night. He learned to hide under the bed until after we'd turned off our light and then to jump up on my husband's side of the bed, knowing he would be sleeping too soundly to get up and put him out of the room.

He was very adept at catching mice but, alas, not adept at digesting them. I was the recipient of several unpleasant surprises because of this, but, true to his nature, he usually left these treasures for me to find in our cellar.

The one time he dropped a still-struggling mouse at our feet in the living room, my screams echoed through the house before I could stop myself.

Sneakers adapted well when we moved from Fitchburg to the Berkshires in the summer of 1998. Even though we now live on a quiet street, we decided to continue to make him a housecat because there were several tough cats in the neighborhood who were prone to fighting. On occasion, he would slip out and once got into quite a nasty fight with "the buttercream cat" who was a stray cat who lived in the neighborhood. Fortunately, we were usually successful in keeping him inside.

One morning in February, Sneakers slipped out when I left to bring my daughters to school. When I returned, he was not around. A short time later I saw him out on the deck and coaxed him inside. He came in as usual, appearing happy and content. Then he walked into the dining room, laid down on the floor, and began to gasp. My husband and I tried to encourage him to breathe but within seconds he was simply gone.

I brought him to our vet, barely able to be see to drive I was crying so hard, but she could not offer any insight except to tell me that, indeed, he was gone. We couldn't even bury our sweet kitty, because the ground was frozen. We had to leave him at the vet's to be cremated. Sneakers would have been three in March. He had lived with us for 2 1/2 years and seemed perfectly healthy up until the moment he lay down on the floor and began gasping.

The Lord is very good. He let us experience the love of a beautiful animal and left us with the assurance that Sneakers did not die a lingering death full of suffering. He died with people who loved him nearby. Although we miss him very much, our sadness has been eased by the addition of Sam and Samantha to our family. They are a brother and sister pair of former strays which we adopted from a shelter near our home. No cat will ever take Sneakers' place in our hearts, but thankfully the human heart has a huge capacity for love. There is room for the memories of Sneaker, as well as room for Sam and Samantha, in our hearts.

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In memory of Akira who died suddenly after being adopted.   She was one of the sweetest kitties we've known
2/2000 

Akira (formerly Blackie)

A man was riding his horse down a road, his dog padding along by their side. His cat was sitting in front of him on the saddle. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that his horse, cat, and dog had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He nudged the horse toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is heaven, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up."

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friends," gesturing downward towards his horse, cat, and dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept animals."

The man thought a moment and then turned his horse back toward the road and continued the way he had been going. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed.  There was no fence. As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

"Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there" The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in."

"How about my friends here?" the traveler asked.

"There should be a bowl and a bucket by the pump."

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl and a bucket beside it. The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then gave some to the dog, and the cat while he filled the bucket for his horse. When they all were satisfied, he led his horse back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them, The cat jumped back up onto the horse's saddle, and the dog followed faithfully behind.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is heaven," was the answer.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said.

"The man down the road said that was heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? "Nope. That's hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind" 

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In memory of Smudge 1/1/89 - 6/17/99

Smudge - In loving memory

Smudge had been at the Pat Brody Shelter for 3 1/2 years before we took her into our home on 4/15/95.  She was a very quiet cat but watching her stare at you, melted your heart.  She liked to be petted but not held.  Before we took her home, we found out she had a rough start in life.   She had lived in a horse barn with a colony of cats and almost starved.  The reason she was brought to the shelter was because the other cats had picked on her.  For some reason, I just bonded with her and had to have her.  She had no tail and only 3 teeth.  I was looking for a cat that would like me.  Instead I got a cat that loved me.

So the day came when Smudge was on her way to be a member of the David family.  We had 2 other cats, but after coming from the shelter, 2 cats was like a walk in the park.  Smudge was very good with us but was afraid of the house.  She had never had a 'home' before.  She had sneaked upstairs and gone under some floorboards.  After 1/2 a day or so she came out and we had to put her in the spare room until she got used to being there.  We called it room service.   She even had her own radio to get her used to noises.  My son, Eric, and I would visit her before school/work in the morning and feed her.  She would be hiding under the bed but would come out to see us.  At night, the same routine, hide under the bed but she'd come out to see us when we were in the room.  After the 5th day she was on top of the bed so I knew she was ready to see the rest of the house.

The first thing she came across were our other cats, Rainbow and Andie.  They hissed at her and she stared at them.  Smudge was a tough cat when she had to be.  They saw they couldn't rattle her, so they walked off.  The next things on her tour of the house were, of course, the food dishes.   Eating would soon turn out to be one of Smudge's greatest pleasures in life. 

Smudge turned out to be a very silent cat but was extremely comical.  She would actually do a little dance and follow you around the kitchen when it was time for her wet food.  She was also a diplomat.    Smudge would jump on the table to visit my husband, Fred, before he left for work.  Smudge was a black and white cat and Fred wore black pants and a white shirt to work.  When they were next to each other, we called it "Double Smudge."   Also, to make sure everyone was amused, she made a nightly ritual of playing with her 'crazy circle' for about 20 minutes.  She would get lazy and sometimes you would have to lay down next to her and push the ball to her paw.  Then, she would get motivated and go crazy herself.

Priscilla had told us to give her 1-2 months to get used to having a home.  She surprised us all by week 2.  I was watching TV and she jumped up on my lap.  I didn't want to move because I was afraid I'd disturb her.   Also, I think it was her first time to sit on someone's lap.

She even bonded with our older cat, Rainbow, which was a big surprise.  Rainbow acts like a spoiled, crabby old lady sometimes.   She didn't seem interested in other cats since her buddy Taffy died in 1989.   We were shocked to see that Rainbow actually let Smudge sit on the same chair with her.  Even better than that, she used to let Smudge lay on top of her.  Andie and Smudge just got along and never really fought with each other.  Sometimes I'd have all 3 cats on the counter with me in the morning waiting to be fed.

We also had another surprise with Smudge.  I told Fred that I would get Smudge used to being held.  He doubted me but I knew I could do it.  Every day I picked her up and every day she would jump down.  I figured if I was persistent, she would eventually get used to being held.  My plan worked.   After 2 months I held her tight one day, and after that, anybody could hold her.  I mean anybody.  It didn't matter if she knew them or not.

Smudge liked to play with cat toys and she used to like to bat around an empty plastic egg that held a vending machine toy.  My son would laugh no matter how often she did it.  She would also play air hockey with my son.  That was really hysterical.  She didn't need a bumper to hit the puck, she had her paw.

Things went well for about 3 years but last year I knew there was something wrong.  She had stayed on the couch for 2 whole days without moving.  She wouldn't even sit on my lap.  this is the same cat that would wake out of a sound sleep to jump on your lap when she saw someone sit on the couch.  She even refused tuna.  I called the vet and they suggested I bring her in.  It turned out she had kidney disease and I felt really depressed.  the vet suggested that we allow them to try treatment and see if they could improve her condition.  We couldn't see the harm in trying to help our sick friend, so we gave them the go ahead.   After a week, she was able to come back home, but needed to have fluids 5 nights/week.

Thus, "Team Smudge" was formed.  My son would hold her down while I would inject her with fluids.  I was panicked at first and had to take her to the vets for fluids many times.  After a while I became a pro and we were able to finish her fluids in 2 minutes.  Smudge didn't enjoy the injections, but she seemed to know we were only trying to help her.  She became herself again and started being the friendly, comical cat we all loved so much.  She used to give me kisses when I was done giving her fluids and I always gave her an extra treat and a hug. 

Rainbow was glad to have her buddy back and Andie, well, she took advantage of Smudge constantly having wet food around.  As you might guess, she had many samples and was told to get away more often than not.  By the time the holidays came, Andie and Rainbow both started gaining weight, but I noticed poor Smudge was losing weight.

Right around February, her friend, Ken, from Japan, came to visit us and spent many hours with Smudge.  She really loved him and always cuddled up on his lap.  I knew by the way she was losing weight that she wouldn't last past the summer.

Unfortunately, I was right.  By the time June came around, I kept telling my husband, Fred, that Smudge was too skinny.  Finally, I took her to Central Animal for a blood sample to see if she had an overactive thyroid.   That was the beginning of the end.  She meowed constantly for the first time in her life when they were taking a blood sample.  They weighed her and she only weighed 4 1/2 lbs.  When I took her home that night she stopped eating.  We were waiting for the test results, but my son and I said enough is enough.  My husband begged us to see if it was her thyroid before making the decision to put her down.   Her thyroid tests came back normal.  The kidney disease had won. 

So, on Thursday, June 17, I took her to the vets for her final visit.  Fred stayed home to dig a grave for her in our garden while tears were pouring down his face.  Eric and I had the unpleasant task of bringing her in for her final shot.  They weighed her one last time and was down to 3 3/4 lbs.   They agreed Smudge needed to go in dignity.  She almost couldn't walk.  I don't ever remember crying so much about the loss of a pet in my life.  I will never forget her.  I also know that Smudge would want us to give a home to another cat.

After 3 weeks, I couldn't take it anymore; I needed a cat of my own to love again.  Remember that Rainbow is Fred's cat and Andie is Eric's cat.  So when  I was working at the shelter on July 3, Fred and Eric came to the shelter to preview the cats.  We found a black and white kitty that was 3 years old named Mischief.  She was very sweet and blocked the entrance leaving the yard, so Fred thought it was a sign for us to adopt her.  Of all the cats we looked at, she was the oldest, so we thought she would probably be the hardest to place. 

We renamed her Mochee and she fits in very well with the family and cats.  She's got everything: teeth, tail and a meow.  Now Mochee is Rainbow's new friend.  She sleeps on top of the cat chair and Rainbow sleeps in the seat of the cat chair.

If anything, we'll always be grateful for the 4 years we had with Smudge.  It was worth the experience.  By the way, we've had Rainbow for 14 years and Andie for 7 years.   Andie is 8 years old and a former cat from the Brody Shelter.  My advice to people who lose a beloved pet: Please, there are so many homeless pets out there.  Give a home to one when you feel you are ready.

Darelene David  9/4/99

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In memory of "Doodlebug" 5/28/93 - 11/13/97

Iíll never forget the day we brought the kids home! My daughter has an illness we are just beginning to get a handle on, that day was not one of her better days. We walked in and she came out and sat hugging her knees as we opened the carrier. The first one out was Doodlebug...who immediately made a beeline to Sarah. At that point Sarah started to come back to us. That was the beginning of one of the best therapies she could ever hope for. Any time Sarah was down, Doodlebug could be found in her lap purring up a storm. To be truthful, if Sarah was home it didnít matter, Doodlebug was in her lap purring. Doodlebug was a constant companion. Sarahís room was Doodlebugís room. She would leave the room if Sarah was at work, to eat and socialize with the rest of the family, but most often she was asleep on their bed.

Last Christmas we rearranged the living room to accommodate our tree and Sarahís visitor. We arenít sure what set Doodlebug off, if it was the furniture being misplaced or if it was her being displaced from her room.. but she started using the living room carpet as her litter box. The vet suggested we put the furniture back and see what would happen. Nothing changed. Then he suggested she was now in the habit of using the carpet so she needed to be quarantined for a while to see if she could break the habit. We put her in the bathroom with her own litter box, food, water, toys and window hanging cat bed. Every day we spent time with her, even if it was just sitting on the floor reading with her in our laps. Several times we tried to release her and after a day or so she would go back to using the carpet. Iíve been told that a sick cat will let you know that they didnít feel good, such as not using the litter box, I thought maybe she was sick. The vet did a check on her, she even took a blood sample found nothing wrong.

Sarah was moving to North Carolina and as long as Doodlebug was healthy, planned on taking her. Maybe getting her by herself away from the other cats (we not only have her brother and sister but we also have 2 older cats) would do the trick. The vet thought it might be the answer.

In March, the week before Sarah left, my husband took Doodlebug in for her yearly check-up and shots. The day she was to go in I told my husband to have her x-rayed , he balked at the suggestion, I insisted. I have no idea where that thought came from but I was adamant. He came home with the devastating news, there was a massive growth in Doodlebug's chest cavity. The vet arranged for an ultrasound to be done and but nothing was conclusive. We took her to a Thoracic Surgeon and were told he could operate for an astronomical cost but we didnít care, she had done so much for Sarah when she was sick we could do nothing but return the favor. He told us with as advanced as this tumor was he would only be able to prolong her life a few months. I didnít feel right to put her through surgery to only have a few months, it wasnít fair. Sarah had already left. We brought her home to live her last month with free run of the house. She went about her business of living...

Sarah came home to visit and Doodlebug was here to take over her lap as if she hadnít been gone 2 months. Two months later Doodlebug was here waiving her tail in the air as if she didnít have a care in the world. (I remember Len Fehskens talking about Robin, Rocky & Blueberry strutting around with their tails in the air as he sang "Happy Tails to you"...and this is how we always saw Doodlebug, as her tail was spring loaded and never was anywhere but straight up in the air).

August marked the arrival of my first grandchild and Doodlebug was here to help us welcome her into the family. Labor Day came with Doodlebug laboring under the strain of sunning herself, making sure she had more than her share of food, making sure she had all the laps available to her even if she had to push someone else out of it...

She was breathing harder and using her stomach muscles instead of her chest and you could feel her heart beating against the ribcage on one side as the tumor pushed her heart out of position. In October she stopped eating, the vet said to keep an eye out for this as it was a sign of shutting down. I took her in and was told she had a virus that she would get well, or as well as she could get. They injected her with fluids that turned her into Doodlschwartzenkitty for a few hours. She started eating again!

Last week I was home from work sick and got out of bed long enough to vacuum the litter off the floor, when putting the vacuum back in the spare room I did a quick check before shutting the door - I have no idea why I didnít notice her absence, but when my husband came home I asked if he had seen her. We checked all her favorite haunts - then started opening doors, thatís when we found her. She was laying just inside the door to the spare room, that used to be Sarahís, she looked up as he opened the door and tried to get up, fell sideways and then dragged herself to sitting, stood up and went down the hall in a drunken state. My husband grabbed her and she started purring. I got a can of cat food and spoon fed her almost a whole can, the poor girl was starving. I was crying - how could I have done that to this poor little thing, we felt we failed her.

In the morning she didnít come for food. As I picked her up she took a couple of bites and pushed herself out of the kitchen, back to her favorite spot in the living room. I had to go to work, but I called the vet to get her in. I got home and she was laying at the bottom of the catpole, she looked up at me as if to say "Mommy..I canít get up there any more, whatís wrong?" I got her to the vet, her heart still strong and eyeís bright, but her legs werenít cooperating. The vet promised us she would not let Doodlebug suffer and she took a look at her and said "this is it". I was assured that I had NOT caused this, most likely she went into "her room" to hide and die on her own, we happened to find her before the end came. None of the other cats alerted us to her being in there, maybe they knew what she was trying to do and had already said their good-byes. As I held her little face and told her what a good girl she was the vet gave her her last injection, less then a minute she was gone. The end of her short life but long journey finally arrived, 7 months and 12 days after we were told "only a month to live".

I left her so the vet could do an autopsy in hopes of helping other cats down the road. We could never repay her for all the good she did for us, especially Sarah. I hope she knew how much we loved her and how much she will be missed. I felt you would want to know how we were doing and how the mysteries of life and death have again evaded the question of "Why". Boomer, Chessie, Casey Jones and the whole Belforti family want to thank you for letting us have "Doodlebug", even if it was for such a short time.

(Reprinted from our Paws for Thought  Newsletter of  August 1998)

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"Snickers"

Smudge - In loving memory

My husband Fred and I visited your shelter 13 years ago and this orange tabby named Snickers found us and we had to take him home with us! Snickers was a wonderful cat - he was all orange except for his chin and the tip of his tail were white.

His tail would go right up when he saw you and there was a little "shepherd's crook" on the end when he walked to greet you. He greeted us every time we came into the house!

Snickers loved water and would sleep in out bathroom sink. When he was thirsty, he would sit next to sink and meow and I knew what he wanted - water in the sink please! And he would paw the water first, do a little meow, and then drink!

When Snickers was a youngster, he would retrieve like a dog. I remember buying some Hershey's chocolate caramels wrapped in paper and he would love to run after a candy and bring it back in his mouth - ready for more tosses!

Snickers was a great mouser - one night he put his prize on my daughter's homework paper so she would see it when she got up the next morning. He kept our house mouse free all his time with us.

We dearly miss our Mr. Snickers - he never hissed, growled or swatted at us - when my daughter was very young, she would "play" with Snickers and he never got mad at her. I swear he was put on this earth to keep us peaceful and in love.

Thank you again for having Snickers there 13 years ago - I truly appreciate it.

Sue, Fred and Heather Ries


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