Monday, February 12

We will never forget you, Sammy


Sammy was found abandoned in a plastic bag. The person that found him brought him to the local shelter where he was adopted by a family with small kids and a dog. Needless to say, traumatized cats don't do well with boisterous families. A couple of months later he ended up back at the shelter and remained there for about a year, until my husband and I found and brought him back to his forever home. The previous family had given him such a daft name, so we changed it to Sammy immediately.

The first two days in our home Sammy hid in one of the lower kitchen cupboards and no amount of cajoling or tuna made him come out. So we kept the cupboard doors open, set out some water and food and hoped he would eventually calm down and come out on his own. I guess it got boring in there, because on the third day he started exploring his new surroundings. Most shelter cats are skittish and it took about a year for Sammy to fully trust us. He bonded with my husband first and spent many happy hours in my husband's mancave thereafter. One day I was sitting on the couch and he jumped up and curled up on my lap. That's when I knew he finally felt safe. Over the years Sammy grew into a quite a large (and heavy) cat. The above photo was taken when he was in his prime. He was unusual in that he didn't display typical cat behavior. He didn't "hunt" flies or other small insects nor was he interested in bird watching. He basically preferred laying in a sun puddle all day watching me! 

He had a few annoying habits, like shredding our soft furnishings, but despite that we loved him to bits and spent many happy years getting to know each other. He was an expressive cat, meowing in agreement (or not) when we were having a conversation - it was too funny. When he slept he snored and the sound was somehow comforting. And most unusual in all the years he never once hissed.  Not once.

Last year we noticed that he was showing signs of old age. We had bought some plush covered little steps to make it easier for him to get up and down from the couch. We exchanged his big litter box for a flat tray as he seems to have difficulty getting in and out. We exchanged the food to an easily digestible one. We spread out blankets and cushions everywhere. 

Then last August we discovered a little lump on his left hip that turned out to be a tumor. He had it surgically removed and sadly it turned out to be malignant. He recovered surprisingly well, the scar had healed nicely and he was basically back to his normal self, when in January I discovered another lump. We were devastated. We went through all the options, then decided on a second surgery. Second time around it took longer for Sammy to recover, so we helped him all we could. Made sure water and food was close by. We took turns checking on him at night. Apart from being a bit wobbly on the legs he seemed to recover bit by bit and even played with his mousie. Then in the last week of January something changed. There was a noticeable decline in his overall health. I think Sammy felt it too, but still fought on like a brave little soldier.

Last week my husband and I had to make one of the most difficult decisions ever. It broke our hearts, but we needed to end the suffering and put our beloved Sammy to sleep. To make matters worse my pain symptoms that I had managed to get down to a tolerable level have come back with a vengeance. I'm up to my eyeballs in painkillers in order to write this blog post. But Sammy deserves a post. I featured him several times on this blog and through him I have met a bunch of wonderful blog friends with pets (you know who you are).

We had the vet come to our house to perform the euthanasia. We laid Sammy on his favorite pillow, gently stroking his furs and talking to him in a calm voice right until the end. It was beyond awful and I had to pull myself together not to break down. We had a proper burial and Sammy is now at peace in our garden beneath the oak tree. It's been almost a week without Sammy and it feels so strange. Apart from us crying in turns it's eerily quiet at our house. So much for a "happy" new year.

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21 comments:

  1. Oh, Duni...I am so very sorry. Losing Sammy is devastating...especially on top of all that is going on with you. You made the right decision so that he didn't suffer any longer. It is the greatest gift of love that we can offer our animal friends in their suffering. I've been there--it is difficult, but you can be sure that he did not suffer in his final moments. On the contrary--you surrounded him with comfort and love.

    I am thinking of you today and my heart aches for your pain (physical and emotional). Know that I am thinking of you and I pray that your sweet memories of Sammy make you smile in spite of the hurt.

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    1. Your kind words make me feel better already. Thank you, Lin

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  2. This is why I have resisted owning a pet. Then one day, Buddy came along. He's a family-oriented black cat of indoor/outdoor persuasion. Five summers ago he would show up when we were outside, and always going "meow, meow" - so we called him "Meow-Meow." He began coming inside. Then staying overnight. The one day a man from way up our street came by as I was sitting on the front porch reading a book. "Hello - I was wondering if you would like a cat?" I responded "why would you wonder that," and he answered back "well, Loki seems to be spending a lot of time down here, and I'm moving to the West Coast next week and can't take him." So I accepted the offer, received all of kitty's paperwork, and here he has been, re-named "Buddy" by one of the children. Sometimes when he and I are alone, me reading a book, he playing with his mouse toy, I'll say "Loki!" and he'll look up and go "meow-meow."

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    1. Thank you for sharing this sweet story, Dave. It made me smile.

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  3. I am so very sorry. I know how difficult it is to make that decision and even though it's the kindest thing we can do for them in some cases it's a painful one for those that love them so. Cherish the happy memories you have of Sammy's life with you

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    1. Thank you, Ann. We still can't believe he's gone...

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  4. I am so sorry ­čĺť

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  5. I'm so very sorry. Sparkle got to know Sammy way before I was even born. Many purrs to you.

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  6. I'm so sorry, Duni. I know how difficult and painful it is when our furkids have to leave us. Sammy was a very special mancat and he'll always be in your heart. The pain of losing him will never erase the joy he brought to your life. I wish I could give you a hug but know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your husband. (((hugs)))

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  7. Just when I finished replying to your email, this news went up in my page feed. I hope I can offer anything to make you feel better. When I started following your blog, Sammy was always a main stay in your posts. All those years of reading your blog meant seeing Sammy. I can't imagine the amount of pain you felt as he was put to sleep.

    On a positive note, I admired how you and your husband cared for Sammy. Sammy was treated beyond family. I hope all pet owners would be like you. You two are angels and blessings that Sammy will always remember.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Diane!

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  8. Liebste Duni,
    oh, das tut mir so leid, ich hab gerade Tr├Ąnen in den Augen ...
    Der liebe Sammy wird ├╝ber Dich wachen vom Katzenhimmel aus, liebste Dunni ... f├╝r den Moment ist es traurig, sehr traurig, aber die sch├Ânen Erinnerungen mit ihm bleiben f├╝r immer in Euren Herzen!
    Sei ganz lieb gedr├╝ckt, Deine Claudia

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    1. Danke meine liebe Claudia.

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  9. Meine liebe Duni,
    ich habe gerade Tr├Ąnen in den Augen - ich kann so mitf├╝hlen mit Dir!
    Es tut mir unendlich leid.
    Ich kann sehr gut verstehen, wie ruhig es jetzt ohne ihn ist.
    Er wird immer in Deinem Herzen sein!
    Alles Liebe f├╝r Dich.
    ANi

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  10. Duni, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. You and your husband are so wonderful for stepping up giving him a safe, comfortable life. This post is beautiful. I feel like I knew him too. Sending my hugs.

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  11. Duni,I am saddened by your loss ... and I understand perfectly. I already had to do the same to a cat of mine ... I love cats, so thank you for giving Sammy a happy life!

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  12. Duni, I am so very sorry to hear about Sammy. I know how much he touched your life and how much he meant to you. It is so hard to make the decision that you did, but even harder to watch him suffer. I know when we got to that point with our Cleo it took everything in me to be calm for her so she wouldn't be afraid. But it broke my heart. So Sorry Duni

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  13. Hallo liebe Duni,
    es tut mir so leid, dass Du Sammy verloren hast. Unsere Katze ist auch schon sehr alt (17 Jahre) und wird sicher auch nicht mehr ewig leben. Ich habe angefangen diesen Deinen Post zu lesen, aber es f├Ąllt mir schwer, ihn zu Ende zu lesen.
    Ganz viele liebe Gr├╝├če, Synn├Âve

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  14. Oh Duni, I am so sorry to hear about sweet Sammy. When we had to say goodbye to Bubby, we had the vets come to our house as well. This was 6 years ago and I still think about how glad I am that we did it that way. I know you must be heartbroken. Sending all my love your way.

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  15. Sending love and strength to you all. It was so thoughtful of you to make sure he had his favourite pillow. Sammie was lucky to have such a loving and caring family and Im sure you will carry him forever in your hearts. This post is a wonderful way to honour him Xx

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  16. Oi, eu sinto muito, sei o quanto ├ę triste, j├í passei por isso duas vezes, esses bichinhos chegam em nossas vidas nos enche de amor e depois se v├úo cedo demais,Deixo aqui todo meu carinho e pensamento positivo de que logo seu cora├ž├úo se refa├ža, bjs

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