Saturday, March 31, 2012

Synchronicity

   I came home from work last night and took care of the animals, which is the first thing I always do. Gypsy hadn't eaten a bite... for the second day in a row. (The dogs love this, because I give them Gypsy's leftovers.) She seemed to rally after the low around Christmastime, and was back up to 11 lbs, from 9. But her appetite has been weak again since I returned from San Francisco on March 6.
   She always acts very interested in food—even follows me around shouting at me when she's hungry, pronouncing every letter in "MEOW!"—but when I put one of about 15 different foods down, she sniffs it and walks away. It's very frustrating. She's getting lighter and lighter.
   Later I went down to the laundry room to find that she had vomited clear liquid. Not good... definitely something to watch.
   This morning I saw that she hadn't eaten anything overnight, and she had vomited in the basement again. I called Joni to tell her I'd join them later for our hike if I could, and headed right for the vet, who graciously squeezed us in.
   We saw Dr. Miller, who hadn't checked Gypsy before. I could see the concern on his face when he read her charts. She was back down to 9.4 lbs. and he recommended bloodwork to check her kidney levels, subcutaneous fluids, and an anti-nausea injection. He palpated her and noted that her kidneys were huge... which has never been the case before. It's definitely cancer. And when you add that to the renal disease, it equates to, "we can't do anything but keep her comfortable and try to give her a good quality of life a little longer".
   None of this was a surprise, of course, given the last few months of history. But it did break my heart. I only lost Atom five months ago, Gypsy has been up and down since, and Taylor is seriously ill as well. They say things come in threes. I've found my unlucky number...
   I brought Gypsy home and comforted her, then took the dogs up to the dog park to meet Joni & friends. I shared the bad news, but we didn't dwell on it—I needed to get my mind off it for a couple of hours.
   When I got home, I opened up today's paper to see this:
   Synchronicity. Unfortunately, the article didn't offer any answers or much comfort. The author just confirmed that the lost of a beloved pet, a being who is devoted to you and depends on you, is very difficult—often moreso than losing a friend or close human family member. Again, not a surprise. Despite my other three pets, the house feels empty without Atom's presence.
   At dinner last night (Joni and I piled up the kaiten-zushi plates at Sakura), we talked about this subject. She noted that you always think your pets will live until tomorrow; but eventually tomorrow becomes today, and today becomes now. We agreed that the one good side to pets' lives being so short is that if you could keep them forever, you'd lose the opportunity to rescue more of them.
   I agree with that, but somehow I know I won't adopt another kitty. I've already had the two best kitties anyone could have... I can't imagine another that would live up to the standard mine have set. Most likely I will begin to foster dogs again, someday when time has helped heal my heart.
   Until that day, I have to be thankful for every moment I have with Gypsy. It's tough because it is plain to see that she is slipping through my hands, and though she is still here, my heart is raw, anticipating the inevitable. I have to keep reminding myself that I thought I was going to lose her on my birthday, so the last three months have been bonus time, and I'm thankful for it.
   Joni just emailed and reminded me: "Beginnings and endings are what life is all about.  It's what makes life so hard.  And it's what makes life so magical." She's a wise friend.