|Ernie tries to get comfortable in the one area of the house he could never get permission to use: atop Caroline's bed.|
It's been said that pets tell you when it's time for them to die. I don't know if that was true of Ernie's passing. We decided to euthanize him yesterday. His heart and lungs were giving out, though that wasn't obvious to us. Something didn't seem right, though, and that sense prompted a visit to the vet that brought far sadder news than we were expecting.
Up until his final day with us he still sought affection from us. Rather than hiding he would look for chance after chance to get some petting from us. In hindsight, I think the affection from us was his ony way to escape the discomfort he was experiencing with every breath. He didn't seem to be able to sleep well or even for very long. His appetite was starting to abate. There was obviousness weakness in his steps. So he sought us out for comfort.
Affectionate. That's the quality he had his whole life. We adopted him in large part because of the warm purr he gave when Sherry first petted him through the cage. Ironically, it took a half a year or so for him to warm up to us once we got him home. But he grew out of the skittishness to become the most affectionate pet I've known. It's funny to think that he was described as somewhat feral when we adopted him in 2002. Looking back, it would seem he was just really scared. I'm glad he came to no longer fear us.
It took more courage to be merciful to him than I expected, and I appreciate what Sherry did this last week in caring for him and arranging for his peaceful death.
Sam has dealt with his death better than I expected, and for that I'm very grateful. He shared with me, though, that he, too, dreaded waking up this morning, the first morning in a decade we wouldn't hear Ernie calling for us or see him awaiting our arrival to the day. His death hit Sherry and I with greater force than I expected. And there's an emptiness to the house today that aches.
When one welcomes a pet into a household, one knows that a day like yesterday will come. We'll welcome another one, I'm sure. I'm conscious, though, that the pet that died yesterday might be the pet I'll always remember as the one I loved the most, and who loved us the most.
|He didn't really like being picked up. But in the last year or so, he didn't fight it too much.|
|On his birthday, 2017.|