Dealing with Pet-Loss

I’m dealing with pet-loss.

picture of my cat Sammy

Do cats go to Heaven?

Silly question, I know… of course they do.

But dealing with pet-loss is still very hard.
I miss Sammy so much… it hurts so bad…
I know I am getting better but it’s like 2 steps forward and one step back again. I know I will be okay eventually. What helps me the most is thinking of how Sammy is the lucky one. He has gone to a better place where there is no more pain or sorrow. I’m really just feeling sorry for myself because I have to go on without him… and I can hardly do anything around the house without thinking about him and missing him terribly.

My Sammy Boy went to Heaven this past Sunday (9/4/2016). He was my very good friend. I can’t say “my best friend” because my wife, Jenny is my best friend of course. But Sammy was the first to greet me when I came home from work. I always took the time to say “Hi” and give him at least a rub on his head. He pretty much followed me everywhere I would go around the house if he could. And if for some reason, Sammy wasn’t waiting for me when I came out the door, all I had to do was call… and he came running to me… and I mean running! He loved me almost as much as I loved him.

Sammy has been with us for almost 15 years. But you would never guess his age by the way he acted. He still had the spirit of a kitten and was in great physical condition. He was beautiful also. I never thought I’d be dealing with pet-loss grief any time in the near future.

It must have been destiny that brought Sammy into our lives. I had always had an affection for cats but had never had one of my own. Jenny had never had cats as pets growing up on her family’s farm (just barn cats) and didn’t really have any desire to have one… until our daughter expressed a strong need for a feline companion. We found ourselves at the Humane Society browsing for cats of all things. The Animal Shelter was full to over-capacity and they were using one of their bathrooms as a nursery for a momma cat and a litter of kittens. That was the first time I saw Sammy. The kittens didn’t even have their eyes open yet and were crawling around helpless on the floor of the bathroom. I looked at Jenny as I pointed at Sammy and said, “That’s the one I want”. He was just a fuzzy little yellow TY toy. To this day I don’t really know why but I knew there was something special about him.

Sammy was blessed from the time he was born. He and his siblings had lost their real mother and had been taken to the Shelter to most likely die. But fate intervened as about the same time a mother cat at the Shelter had lost all her kittens and thankfully was more than willing to adopt these tiny refugees. I can attest to the devotion of Sammy’s step-mother as we ended up taking the whole tribe home with us and foster caring for them. Amazingly enough, it was my wife idea. We almost ended up keeping all of the cats, including the mother, but in the end, common sense prevailed. We ended up keeping Sammy, of course, and we had to keep his sister, Missy who was always watching out for him and keeping him out of trouble.

Sammy was a big baby for quite a while and he would have been lost without Missy there to take care of him. Missy is a rock. She was lost at first when Sammy was suddenly absent, but she is already recovering nicely. I was worried about her at first but now I know she is going to be alright. Missy is better at dealing with pet-loss than I am. She is now finally getting the attention from me that she didn’t always get when Sammy was around. I tried not to let it show but it was certainly no secret who was my favorite. I think Missy is trying to fill Sammy’s shoes now as she has begun to follow me around like Sammy always did.

I love Missy but I know she can never take Sammy’s place. No one can. Sammy was always the adventurer… the climber… the jumper… with dare devil antics abound. He had one cauliflower ear from falling out of the basement ceiling tile when he was just few years old. One of his favorite tricks in his younger days was to climb up on some piece of furniture like the refrigerator or the corner hutch and wait for me to walk close enough for him to leap on my shoulder. He scared the heck out of me more than once. One of our favorite tricks was to face each other and when I patted my chest and said “Jump!”, he would jump up into my arms and then climb upon my shoulder. He loved for me to carry him around on my shoulder and never tired of it.

I’m going to stop here for now but I will keep adding to this “Tribute” to my friend. It’s therapy for me.

I’m dealing with pet-loss as best I can.

photo of Sammy, Missy and Nicky
Nicky playing with Sammy while Missy lays in her box.