Sunday, October 16, 2016

R.I.P. Calliope Jane

I've been pretty busy these past couple of weeks with family life transitions. An older gentleman whose cares I'd assisted with over the past three years died after a lengthy illness. Then one of my nephews got married last weekend. And then my father-in-law died last week. I thought that I was finally due to settle back into routine and then life got away from me again.

My cat died tonight. Calliope Jane -- my nearly 18-year-old cat -- slipped once more into illness, leading Husband Mark and I to make the decision to euthanize our beloved cat.

Calliope was a stray kitten, presumably dumped in the country by somebody who didn't want to raise a bunch of kittens. One of my nephews found her stuck in a tree -- trapped by my parents' border collie. They were planning on visiting me that weekend with plans to deliver a deep freeze. My mother called me and told me that they were bringing something else to my home -- a kitten!

I really didn't want a kitten. I'm not a big fan of cats. I warned my mother that I very well might drop this kitten off at the animal shelter. But Calliope quickly won her way into our hearts and into our household.

Calliope was our second pet. She outlasted Moogie and Ms. Lion and she managed to push back against our standard poodle Nero even as she entered her teens and began experiencing poor health. During the past couple of years, Calliope found herself experiencing problems with her kidneys and her tummy. She went on a special diet which actually helped return her spark last year. But this year found her slipping back into decline. 

She struggled with low energy and stamina. She wasn't eating or drinking as much as she needed. Her weight had dropped to five pounds. And her body temperature began dropping about 10 degrees lower than it should be.

So -- fresh off the plane from my father-in-law's funeral -- Mark and I sat in the vet's office, holding her paws and stroking her fur. We whispered loving sentiments and shared favorite memories while Callie's doctor gave her those final shots. Two hours before, we were debating whether or not our plane would make it back to Iowa City in time to pick her up or if we would need to wait until tomorrow morning to bring her home. Within forty minutes of meeting up with her vet, we watched the glow disappear from her eyes.

Rest in peace, Calliope Jane. You are free once again of your aches and pains. Our presence changed our lives for the better. I still can't believe that you're gone.

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