Renee called yesterday to tell me that the kittens she adopted had taken a sudden and totally unexpected turn for the worse. Smudge, aka Clover, died at the veterinary ER yesterday morning; his brother Smitty, aka Boris, passed away in the afternoon, both victims of feline panleukopenia virus.
I was in tears all day yesterday, and I still get choked up when I look at their pictures. But I don’t regret rescuing them. These kittens had short lives, but they spent the end of those lives clean, safe, well-fed, free of fleas and, most importantly, loved. I wonder whether, after fighting for so long, they finally felt that they’d found a safe place where they could let go in peace.
The best gift we can give our pets is a promise to love and care for
them for their entire lives, no matter how long those lives are. I
volunteer at an open-access shelter that is forced to euthanize pets
for illness, behavior and, unfortunately, space. The deaths of those
animals are tragedies, in my opinion. But the death of a pet who knew
love until the end is what we should hope for for every animal.
shouldn’t be afraid to adopt a senior or special-needs pet because we
want to spare ourselves the pain of its death. We should instead
focus on our ability to bring happiness to a living creature, any
living creature, for the rest of its life.