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.