It’s been two years since Ernie left us but it still hurts just the same.
Meet Ernie. He had many variations on his name. Ernesto. Ernesto Valenzeulia. Ernst Q. Pussycat. Erniebernie.
Pets are really just hairy family members who speak a different language. They have their own agenda, especially cats. Maybe dogs do too, don’t know, never really owned one, except for co-habitting with Sasha the Lhasa Apso my grandparents owned, and well, as the posts about her explain, she and I did not see eye to eye.
Ernie arrived on the scene when he was a tiny wee kitten. He was smaller than the palm of a hand. He was too young to be away from his momma. Somehow, he arrived at the front door at the stand alone warehouse building that was located in a very non-developed part of town. He was brought home and taken to the vet for a check. We were sent home with formula and directions to clean his “little boy parts” . Ernie hadn’t been going to the bathroom and he was getting sick. If he didn’t go the the bathroom, we were going to lose him. We used a warm wet facecloth and cleaned him like a mother cat would. After an entire afternoon and the better part of an evening, he dribbled. Then, the flood gates opened, and Ernie went to the bathroom. We jumped for joy! He lapped at the formula from a dropper and learned to use a litter box.
Ernie liked to inspect everything. A small renovation was being done in the apartment and Ernie was sitting in the sink inspecting the new tap. A new door was put in and Ernie sat atop the header in the doorway. Ernie also liked to garden. Chives were grown on the enclosed balcony and Ernie liked to nibble them. His onion breath was legendary.
Then came the move. While searching for a home to buy, Ernie was left in the apartment with regular daily visits for food, snuggles and litter box attendance. The time away from Ernie was 1 week. He developed Separation Anxiety and stopped eating and going to the bathroom.
The move was completed with Ernie right in the middle of all the action. He made it clear he was not to excluded ever again.
At 7 years of age, it was noticed that he was drinking a lot of water. A lot. So a trip to the vet in the new town. The diagnosis came. Diabetes. The vet told us some folks put their animals down with this diagnosis. This was not to be Ernie’s fate. Blood sugar testing was learned. Injections were learned. Food was changed. An emergency syrup syringe was kept ready.
At 18 years of age Ernie developed arthritis in his shoulder. He was taken back to the same vet and his meds were adjusted to be in harmony with his insulin. He started to slow down a bit more each day. His meows began to change. He called to be carried down to his litter box. He announced he was ready to be carried upstairs to be with the family. Graduated steps were built to give him independence to get up on beds and chairs.
At his routine check up, his blood work showed kidney problems and pancreatitis. He was now 19 1/2 years old. The vet said when the time came, he could come to the house so Ernie would not have an awful car ride as his final memory. With heavy hearts, the decision was made. After the New Year, Ernie’s expression said he was ready. The vet and an assistant came to the house, gave Ernie a sedative to relax him and he was helped to sleep. The vet carried Ernie, wrapped in his favourite blanket, away to be cremated. He sat with Ernie in his lap the ride to the clinic.
They say losing a pet makes it easier to learn to deal with death. No. No, it doesn’t. it’s harder when you have to make the toughest decision.