The One Thing Only Pet Owners Can Relate to….

The loss of a pet…

2020 is officially a rubbish year!!! We have lock-down due to a Pandemic, so much division and hate, we’re facing job insecurity as global economies fail. What could be worse? Yeah I know full well one of the things that could be worse (aside to losing a loved one to COVID). Losing your pet possibly due to the current circumstances.

When I first created the SLS brand the profile picture on most of my social media profile was of one of my cat family, Knuckles. On my You Tube channel, he was the face of when I was exploring facial animation software back in 2012.

He was instrumental when I had did a version of the Harlem Shake You Tube craze:

He was a silent gentleman in that he would try to protect me outside and then cave in through fear if something kicked off in the garden leaving his mum to do her ‘veloceraptor’ stuff. More than anything he was a big part of our little family.

When lockdown started we were of course spending more time at home and initially all of our feline family were over the moon that we were actually home 24/7. For Knuckles it was as though it was Christmas every day because the secret treats of tuna and prime quality turkey would be given to him by my two as well as myself without us all realising. But I also began to notice that he was beginning to lose weight. He was still his bubbly ‘bad-boy’ self, terrorising his little brother and pushing his mum out of her feeding bowl – but in spite of having food pretty much on demand the weight loss gradually continued. So we upped our game, changed his diet to less dry food and more meat wet food. He appeared to improve over the weeks and through all this time was so content, having play mates (my son) giving him long grass to play with, as well as receiving loving tummy rubs on demand (with the food and treats), but it seemed that by just over a week ago he went downhill to the degree that I needed to take him to the vets. The difficulty with this decision was that I also knew just how much he feared the vets – he didn’t just hate going but he would literally tremble with fear. But I also knew that to not take him would be wrong.

One of the biggest regrets I have ever made recently was to accept an appointment at the vets at 4.30 pm on one of the hottest days of the year so far. I could not get an appointment with my regular vets which was 5 mins down from where I lived – again due to the pandemic the vets were spreading out appointments throughout my city. Instead the only available appointment was a 20 minute ride away. My gut instinct was to not accept it and try for either an early morning or late evening, but I ignored

that feeling and rushed him to the vets further away. He had been playing in the garden before it had gotten too hot and when we coaxed him indoors he had just enjoyed 4 packets of top quality cat food and had guzzled loads of water. He was purring until he saw the pet carrier…… and was so upset (as I knew he would be) when he got inside it.

We can’t afford a car with air conditioning and so I had the car doors and windows open for half an hour prior to leaving and broke speed limits to turn a 20 minute journey to 15 mins.  But as a result of that journey, the trauma of hating where he was going had accelerated his deterioration. That particular vets stabilised him but did not have the facility to keep him overnight so I was forced to make the same journey back home. They managed to take his bloods and said it would be ready by the next morning – I was instructed to take him again to my nearer vets as soon as they opened in the morning.

That morning, I rang my local vets to find that the bloods had not come back but they still wanted him in. I got a second opinion from another emergency vet and our consensus was that it would be better to not have him endure another traumatic ride until the test results came back. It took this company until 6pm Friday to tell me that Knuckles had a hyper active thyroid but there was also readings linked to his liver.

To cut a long story short I was able to take him to an emergency over night veterinary clinic (so one last traumatic drive in a cooled car in the evening). They ran some ultrasound tests and told me that my kitty had a tumour the size of a golf ball on his liver as well as hyperthyroidism – it was time to let him go.

I told my kids and we all got in the car about 11 pm to take the ride to say our final goodbyes. I watched as my oldest daughter went in – we had to enter into the surgery one at a time with masks on. When it was time for my son to go in, I could see this 9 year old boy gird himself up to keep it together long enough to say bye and pet his buddy.

Eventually I returned my son back to the car and held my cat one last time as the vet administered the euphanasia injection, stroking his head as his life left him. I thank God it was quick and that he went to sleep for the final time.

I was present when Coco had given birth to Knuckles on my cream bedroom carpet and away from the birthing box that I had made for her. I am proud that the stain still couldn’t come out but we have the exact spot that Knuckles came into the world which about sums up what an impact he made on our lives. I was present when he took his first steps outside in the garden, guided by his mum but petrified none the less. I was there when he use to flash us such a face of betrayal when we’d pretend to throw some turkey for him to catch and eat and it would remain in our hand. From the 24th August 2007 to 26th June 2020 I was there.

But for the first time as a family we are experiencing 2020 with out him…

So yeah, 2020 proper sucks about now but I can thank God for the last 12 years of fun laughter, and love that this beautiful example of God’s creation had brought into all of our lives.

RIP old buddy I may not understand all of the biblical references relating to pets but I pray that in the new heaven and new earth you will be there..

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