Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cost of Loving

A dear friend called sobbing yesterday because it was time to put down his beloved cat, a sweetie names Eyes who had been his loyal companion of thirteen years.

Judd was so sweet and empathetic when I put Calliope down last May, and was in the room for the much less humane "putting down" of Mom (what the HELL is wrong with our health system that she had to suffer for 12 extra hours, but our cats are lovingly put to sleep in 12 seconds?). So of course Brenda (Nurse Sis) and I dragged ourselves out of our own deathbeds to be present at another passing yesterday. At one point she drolly opined that we're getting so good at this, we should figure out a way to get paid. To which I replied, no way in hell am I witnessing death every work day, no matter how much money.

Eyes, this is for you:

PUTTING DOWN THE CAT
by Billy Collins

The assistant holds her on the table,
the fur hanging limp from her tiny skeleton,
and the veterinarian raises the needle of fluid
which will put the line through her ninth life.

"Painless," he reassures me, "like counting
backwards from a hundred," but I want to tell him
that our poor cat cannot count at all,
much less to a hundred, much less backwards.

3 comments:

MIMBlogger said...

Ouch, my sympathies to your friend. I remember when my cat, Fuzzy, was lost, seemingly forever after 4 winter months and 2 dozen trips to animal shelters in San Gabriel, Pasadena and Downey, CC and I decided to go to the Pasadena Humane Society and adopt a new one.

Right when we saw one we liked, it dawned on me that I was never going to see Fuzzy again, and I stood in a visiting area crying. I think a little girl, maybe 7 years old, actually came up to me and asked if I was OK.

Never thought I'd be a cat person, but that was about 3 years ago.

Peace.

MIM

Lynda said...

Oh, that is so difficult.

I agree with you about how we almost treat our animals better than people. I also agree with you that I would not want to witness death as a profession.

My regards to your friend.

Heidi said...

*sniff* I was thinking about that (in my fatalistic way) as I was holding my new Roger: someday he'll be gone too. I'm thankful for Eyes that the vet was an option at least. When my Seamus was at the end I couldn't afford the vet and he had to suffer for weeks. Awful! I guess that was humane according to the treatment of mom. Sad.