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Jan 28, 2009 General Nonsense |
Soon after I started cartooning, about 19 years ago, I got my first pet, a kitten. I named her Sarah, after an editor who gave me my big break in cartooning.

I found the kitten from an ad in the paper. A local woman's cat had a small litter in need of homes. They were little tuxedo cats, mostly black with white paws and mixed faces. The woman put them on her sofa as sort of a line up from which I could choose. Three of the cats ignored me, walking to one end and playing amongst themselves. The fourth stared me straight in the eyes and approached. She selected me. Or at least that is how it felt. She made me feel special from the first second I knew her, and I hoped to return the favor.

Sarah bonded with me immediately. When I whistled, she would come running, climb on my chest in the Sphynx position and begin purring. She was a one-human cat. Rarely could another touch her without risking bloodshed.

Other cats came and went as my living situation changed. Sarah didn't care for any of them. She loved me intensely, and in her view no cat or human could compete. In time she became my office cat, to better avoid all creatures that were not me.

Every day since 1990 she competed with my work. When I picked up a pen, or lately a stylus, she would come running, yelling in cat language that I should pick her up and give her my full attention. She was my forced work break, and there were many. She was my only company for most of my day. Cartooning is a lonely art, but I was never alone.

Recently her tiny body started to shut down. But it never stopped her enthusiasm in seeing me. She dragged her arthritic body over to me every time I entered the room, even if I had only been gone for a second. She never failed to purr. I loved her intensely.

In the past month she had been letting me know the end was approaching. Maybe it was the way she moved or just some sort of animal ESP. I just knew. And so I spent as much time as I could with her, extra petting, in just the ways she trained me. Recent visits to the vet confirmed that there was no cure for old. We tried to enjoy the time we had.

Yesterday all of her systems reached their limits. The vet explained the options to my wife and me. I asked the vet what she would do in this situation if it were her cat. She wisely refused to say. I asked my wife. She wisely refused to say. This was my decision, and Sarah's. That is how it had to be. I looked at Sarah and asked her if she was ready. Her eyes told me she was, but the pain of uncertainty was unbearable.

Sarah had a history with the vet. Her chart had a big warning: She's a biter, and she has all of her claws. No one touched this cat safely but me. She was a vet's nightmare. And so the vet explained how this would come down. If Sarah allowed her leg to be shaved, and the injection to go in, without fighting, this would be the best alternative. Otherwise they would have to use some sort of cat gas chamber. That option seemed unthinkable. But it would be worse to try one method, fail, and go to the second. Again, it was my decision. And I was in no frame of mind to make decisions.

I opted for the injection, and hoped for the best. Sarah still had some fight left in her, as we learned minutes ago while the vet checked her vitals. But somehow she knew this was different. She knew it was time. After 19 years of fighting veterinarians, she let the vet shave her leg without the least resistance. And in so doing, she told me I made the right decision. I looked in her eyes as the life drained out of them. I was devastated.

But today I am happy, even more than usual. I think about how much Sarah enriched my life and I am grateful. I think about how much I learned from my relationship with her, and even from her passing, and I am thankful for it all. Today everyone in my life seems more precious. I'll always carry Sarah with me, and I know I am better for it.

 
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Jan 29, 2009
I had to keep my face up to my monitor reading this with my morning coffee, to avoid my workmates knowing I am a blubber. But there you go - well expressed as ever. My sincerest condolences.

If you need a pet developer I might be looking for a new position, soon what with the recession and all? You seem like a good owner.
 
 
Jan 29, 2009
I am so sorry. I have read about Sarah in your blog for years. I had the same experience with my cat Fuzzy (25 lb Maine Coon-type, not an ounce of fat). 15 years old, he had to be put down d/t kidney failure. The best/hardest experience of my life was holding his face to look at me as the kind vet gently administered the injection. Always better to be there for them.
 
 
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Jan 29, 2009
I registered to tell you that this post made me cry, Scott.
 
 
Jan 29, 2009
That was a beautiful tribute.
 
 
Jan 29, 2009
RIP Sarah.
 
 
Jan 29, 2009
I can imagine how hard it was, I lost my dog 2 years ago and I lived more time with her then with my father (14 against 9). Fortunately she gone without our help.
My condolences for you
[ ]'s
 
 
Jan 29, 2009
We treasure unique personalities with their treats as well as their shortcomings, and we never forget them. I was both devastated and happy to read about Sarah, a trademark of an excellent memorandum.

RIP Sarah!

PS. My cats will get some extra attention today DS.
 
 
Jan 29, 2009
Sincere condolences, Scott. I hope you draw solace from happy thoughts, pictures and home videos of your cat.
 
 
Jan 29, 2009
First of all condolences.
Secondly I must say that once again you prove to be a great writer... from sadness for your lost friend (even though I'm a 'dog-person'), to feeling good in one page... you did it Scott.
 
 
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Jan 28, 2009
Scott, as a cat man, I know what it feels like, and I know what it is to have to take that decision. But it's better for Sarah that you took it, rather than not - which would have made her suffer. If you could see she was not well, then she was very not well. Strength and courage to you and your family.

I'm glad I'm not reading this in the office, because I'm blubbing like an idiot (OK, bigger idiot than usual).
 
 
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Jan 28, 2009
My condolences.
 
 
Jan 28, 2009
I'm sorry to hear about that, Scott. May Sarah rest in peace, and I'm happy for you that you managed to form such an amazing bond with Sarah. Thanks for sharing this touching story with us. :)
 
 
Jan 28, 2009
Extremely sorry Scott. I pray that your loss is replaced by an even more adoring pet.
 
 
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Jan 28, 2009
Sincere condolences, Scott.

I, too, have a home-office cat, my constant companion, about 4 years old.

But she used to have a brother, whom I called 'Nelson' as he was ginger too (I mean as well as the great Nelson Mandela). When I had had them both about 9 months, he was killed on the road outside my house. I, too , was devastated, and your story brought that feeling flooding back. I think of him often, and smile. Today I cried as I smiled. Thank you for reminding me of him and making me grateful for knowing both of them.
 
 
Jan 28, 2009
My condolences Scott,
 
 
Jan 28, 2009
Peace !!!
 
 
Jan 28, 2009
After reading your entry, I couldn't help but register and extend my condolences. You and Sarah seem to have truly deserved each other's companionship. Thank you for having the fortitude sharing such a personal, touching story with the world.
 
 
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Jan 28, 2009
Congratulations on having had so long with such an excellent pet.

Tom.
 
 
Jan 28, 2009
Sincerest condolences to you on the loss of Sara. I have a 19 year old cat who I got when she was 12 from Bide-A-Wee Shelter in New York City. Lola is my constant companion and as I write this stares at me and wonders how she can find her way onto the keyboard to prevent my typing and gain my undivided attention. As she gets along, and the cataracts get thicker, and the jump to the bed gets more difficult, she begins to need me more and more, just as your Sara did. And I think, when the time comes, Lola (just as Sara) will let me know when enough is enough. In granting your Sara peace, instead of misery, you have proven your unselfish love for a pet that gave you the same for 19 years. Peace to you both.
 
 
Jan 28, 2009
Because of this Sarah, I pushed my hand to register.
My condolences for you Scott

PS: It looks like this post will break the bearer 100 of comments like what u usually did in older dilbertblog
 
 
 
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