Monday, April 5, 2010

When sorrows come....

I promised you a post on the road trip I just took with my dad. And I will write it. However, if you're expecting this to be it, I'm sorry to disappoint.

Warning - if you don't need anything sad in your life right now. Please stop reading.

A family cat that we've had for 14 years died in my arms this afternoon, as I was driving him (as fast as the law might let me get away with) to the emergency room.

I won't get into details, but he was attacked by a loose pack of three dogs whom I've never seen in the neighborhood before. I was all alone at the house when it happened. He liked to challenge other cats when they dared set foot on the property. He often lost these challenges. When I heard him cry, I thought it was another cat.

One of the most wonderful qualities about this cat was that he loved dogs. A lot. Some of you might recall my post about the death of our family labrador, Lady. We had to put her down shortly before Christmas due to complications with cancer. Timon, our cat, loved Lady beyond belief. He would groom her, cuddle her, follow her around the house. We often used to joke that Timon was part dog. There's another black lab who lives elsewhere in the neighborhood, who was walked every evening at the same time. After Lady passed away, Timon would follow the lab and his owner for about half a block, thinking it was her companion. I'm not sure Timon ever realized that Lady had died; merely that she was living and being walked by an entirely different family for some unknown reason. It is then doubly tragic to think that Timon, the feline lover of dogs, would probably have walked right up to these dogs in a friendly greeting, an exposed belly, and dip of his head, which was his standard greeting to just about everyone (except other cats).

When I found him I yelled at the dogs and chased them away. I ran into the house, grabbing my keys, wallet, and cell phone, before running and grabbing a towel from the bathroom. I threw my wallet and keys in the car, dropped my cell phone, which split apart, hurriedly threw the pieces into my car. I scooped him up as gently as I could, got in the car, and started driving.

As a I turned onto one of the exiting streets of our neighborhood, I saw the devil dogs casually trotting down the road, and a non-chalant teenager walking past. By this point I was wailing in my car - he could probably hear me. I kept saying "please!" over and over again ... I kept checking him, to make sure he was awake. The emergency animal hospital is less than two miles away - it felt like hours. I finally pulled into the parking lot; I didn't bother to park.

Sometime between me pulling into the parking lot, and me giving him, sobbing uncontrollably, to the vet tech to be taken back to surgery, he died, though I didn't know it yet. The vet tech took me into a back room. I sat there shaking, trying to fill out paperwork. The vet came in, I looked up, he shook his head and said, "I'm sorry." He asked if I'd like to see Timon, if he wrapped him up. I said that I would. It all seemed completely insane (it still does) - Timon had been lying next to me all day while I worked on my bed. I let him out when I was putting away the dishes. I went to pull my laundry out of the drier, I heard him cry, I went outside, and then I was sitting in an exam room, waiting for the vet to bring in my poor, beautiful, kind, loving cat, the body that was no long living wrapped in a towel. When they brought him in, all I could do was pet his head and say, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

I've been wondering all night what would have happened if I had bothered to check the mail as I let him out, or if I had managed to make it outside faster than I did. And I know that it was a freak occurrence - I'd never seen these dogs before, let alone any *loose* dogs in the neighborhood. But I can't help feeling as though there was something I could have done to prevent this. Because if I had, he'd be curled up right next to me right now. And I wouldn't be crying, my heart wouldn't be breaking, and the necessity for this post would be non-existent.

Instead, my entire family is mourning, once again, for the loss of a family member. And all I can think to say is, "When sorrows come, they come not in single spies, but in battalions."  I know it's not my fault. I know that when dogs form packs they go crazy, and even the most kind dog can be vicious. I know that plaguing myself with "what if's" is fruitless. But I will never get that image of him out of my mind. And I will never stop wishing that he were still lying next to me.

6 comments:

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

What a horrible ordeal. I'm really sorry for your loss :(

H said...

You write so beautifully that my eyes are damp with tears as I reflect on what has happened to your beloved Timon. More hugs to you, My Dear Friend!

Robin said...

Losing a pet is like losing a family member. I am so sorry.

Lira said...

:::Hugs:::

Phoenix said...

Sending love and hugs your way, sweetie.

Radical Bradacal said...

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate your comments.