I was out and about yesterday listening to talk radio and one of the commentators was speaking about having to put a family pet down tomorrow which would be to day.  My heart goes out to that family.  It is a hard to say goodbye to faithful friends.  I have had to do that a couple of times in my life though not like it is done now.

Today families can plan when a pet is going to be let go.  They can hold them as they fall into the eternal sleep.  It is much more than it was when our cats died when I was a kid.  We took them to the vet or buried them in the back yard and that was about it.  I think that today’ goodbyes are better as you can love your pet right up to the end.

As a kid we had a parade of cats and one dog.  Licorice looked like a lab and was the size of a large Jack Russell Terrier.  We called her ‘dingle dangle dog’ as her collar and tags would jingle as she came down the steps.  To this day if the moment is right I swear I hear that jingle in Dad’s house.

We had cats – Perri and Porro, Penny, Tiger and a couple of others and the names escape me.  In my own family the one in which I am the mother we have had only one pet – a cat named Cassiopia.  I think all this about pets came about today due to the radio yesterday and the fact that we have started our fish tank again.  Fish cannot be considered pets I do not think as you cannot touch them.

I also think I thought of Cass as this was her birth month in 1979.  She was 20 when she left us.  That is a long time in one family.

Cass was a calico cat.  My favorite.  She was mostly white though.  She came into this world from her mother Penny with only one brother.  We were at my dads shortly after the birth for spring break.  Our two children fell in love with Cass and wanted her.  My sisters children wanted the other one which was a long haired cat and came to be known as Crackerjack.  Worked out fine for the cats and how was I going to get my husband to agree.  Pets had no ever been a part of his childhood.

I told the kids they would have to ask dad.  I told my husband if he wanted to be a hero to his children to simply say yes and not worry as no cat had lasted much longer than a year or so in our house as they inevitably got sick.  I forgot that this mother was 16 when she had these two cats.  He said Yes and Cassiopia came home with us.

Our family has lots of Cass stories.  She would leave treats on the porch to show her hunting prowess when she was young.  In her later years she sat and watched a mouse run across the floor in one of our houses not motivated to move at all.

She was good company when my husband traveled so much.  She knew who loved her and would come in our bedroom listen on his side and come to my side – if he was in bed she would leave the room otherwise she would jump up and crawl in with me!!!

She was failing and I knew it and when we went on vacation in 2000 I was certain she would not be there when we got home.  I was indeed right her kidneys finally gave out at the kennel.  It was a hard call and one I knew I had to make for her sake.

Unless you have had a pet you truly cannot understand the sorrow of having to say goodbye to a life long friend.  They are not ‘just a dog’ or ‘just a cat’.  They have become part of the fabric of your families life.  They have shared some of your history.

As the Beck family says goodbye to Victor today my heart is with them.  Letting go of your family pet is hard.



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