Showing posts with label cats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cats. Show all posts

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A nice surprise

When I got home today I had received a letter from the University of Guelph. At first I thought it was some kind of junk mail letter.

I opened it and this is what it said:

 

Pet_trust_fund_letter_for_sam_on_behalf_of_blair_animal_hospital

 

Dear Paterson Family: 

We were truly sorry to learn of the passing of your beloved cat, Samantha. In recognition of your loving relationship with Samantha, Blair Animal Hospital has given a monetary donation to the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) Pet Trust. 

The OVC Pet Trust honours the amazing relationship between pets, their people and veterinary caregivers. This kind gift will support learning and lead to advances in our knowledge to improve the health of our companions. I think you will agree this is a wonderful tribute to your special friend. You can find out more about the OVC Pet Trust at www.pettrust.ca. 

As veterinarians and animal lovers we understand how painful losing a pet can be. We hope that you derive comfort knowing that this gift in memory of Samantha will help us move veterinary medicine forward. Our thoughts are with you at this difficult time. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. Gordon Kirby, DVM, MSc, PhD
Associate Dean, Research and Innovation

The Blair Animal Hospital was Sam's primary vet. When we took Sam to the Alta Vista Animal Hospital, we had to sign forms acknowledging that the Alta Vista Animal Hospital wasn't trying to take us away as clients, etc. and that they had permission to send all of the medical info back to the Blair Animal Hospital.

This really is awesome. Thank-you Blair Animal Hospital.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

It never hurts to ask

During the making of Samantha's video, I searched the web for music to use. I know from experience that YouTube can be pretty strict when it comes to enforcing copyright. In 2007 I created a video for our other cat, Quincy, and posted it on YouTube. Warner Music made a claim and YouTube stripped out the audio from the video. :(

They seem to be a little more relaxed now and add restrictions on where the "offending" video can be played, add a copyright notice, and prevent you from making any advertising money from them. I think that's a good solution. I wish they had done that with my other video.

This time I decided to look for something royalty-free and avoid the whole mess.

I couldn't find anything I liked, until I came across Joseph Akin's web site. While his music isn't free, I was instantly drawn to "Masterpeace". It was exactly what I was looking for. I thought about taking a chance and just using it, but I really didn't want to end up in the same situation as before. What were the chances of getting permission? I had nothing to lose. I found a contact email address and sent off a request with a brief explanation.

What I received later in the evening was not only permission to use it, but a recommendation of another song that he composed that he thought might be more suitable. He even sent along the MP3.

I had a smile from ear to ear. He didn't ask for anything other than the credit I said I would add to the video, and to let him know when the video was done. I immediately sent off a thank-you email.

In the end, I did use the song that he recommended — Spirit Touch — for the video.

Thanks again to Joseph for allowing me to use his music.

 

Friday, June 10, 2011

It'll stop... eventually

I realized on Monday that this is the first time in 18 years that we haven't had a pet in our home. It is also the first time in over 30 years that I haven't had some kind of pet.

We adopted Sam in 1993, the same year we got married. We picked her, and her "brother" Quincy, at the Ottawa Humane Society. I'll be honest and say that she wasn't my first pick. I had seen a solid grey kitten but it turned out that she had ear mites. They said they would give us the drops for them, but because we were getting two kittens, we'd have to buy more to treat the other cat at the same time as a preventative measure. I continued my search and noticed a black and white kitten. She stuck out a little more because she was a little larger than the other kittens. In the end, she was smaller than most cats and I couldn't have chosen a better cat. Or maybe she chose me; that's how it works with cats, isn't it?

We picked the names for Samantha and Quincy while we sat in the car at the Blair Animal Hospital, when we took them for their first visit to get a checkup. I don't remember why I chose "Samantha". Perhaps because it could be shortened.

I had other cats when I was growing up and none lived as long as Sam. We had a famiy dog, Peanut, who also lived to around 18 years old.

I took a break from surfing the web on Monday night and got up to get a cup of water. Without even thinking, I glanced over to where she would normally be lying on the floor, waiting for that familiar little "Mrrr?" as she would get up to follow me. Her floor space was empty.

"Oh yeh... right."

In the kitchen, as I finished filling my cup, I looked down at my feet so I wouldn't step on her if she was sitting behind me, waiting to ask for food.

I then instinctively looked to where her bowls used to sit, to see if she still had food, and they weren't there.

I heard noises, again, later as I was sitting at my computer. Not imaginary noises. I'm sure it's just the house settling, but the first thing I assumed was that it was Sam hopping off the couch or the automan, or playing with a toy... and then I remembered. It gave me goose bumps.

The other evenings this week were more of the same.

I keep replaying Sunday's events in my head. It's like a bad dream. She has a problem with her foot. They'll fix it. We'll pay a big vet bill. We'll all go home. That's how it was supposed play out.

We had canned food and an unopened bag of dry food that we bought from PetSmart a week or two ago. Sandra called them on Monday and they let us return it. I went to the Humane Society web site on Tuesday morning and made a donation.

For such a tiny furball, she sure left a big hole in our home.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Samantha (1993-2011)

On Sunday morning Sandra noticed that Sam was walking funny. She said it was if her left rear foot was "inverted", like she was walking on the top of her foot.

I went downstairs and found Sam lying on the kitchen floor. She looked up at me and meowed as if to say "feed me". She didn't appear to be in any pain or discomfort. Her back leg look ok. I got out a bag of cat treats and tossed one in front of her. She got up and limped awkwardly to eat it, just as Sandra described.

At first I thought maybe there's some kind of paralysis on her rear leg. Then I thought that perhaps she had an accident during the night and broke her foot. Regardless, it was painful to watch, despite the fact that she didn't appear to be in any pain. She even hobbled off to the living room and hopped up onto the couch.

We decided to take her to the Alta Vista Animal Hospital Emergency Care.

We woke up Kyle and Kaitlyn and told them we were taking Sam to the vet. They gave her a hug and Kyle loaded her into the carrier.

Sam really dislikes being in the carrier, and being a house cat, the outside stresses her out. She panted for at least half the ride to the animal hospital, which we had never seen her do, and she meowed the entire time — that was normal for her.

The vet was actually more concerned with Sam's breathing, even though this was the first time we had seen her like this. After the assessment, examination, a mild sedative, and chest x-rays, it turned out that the problem she had with her foot (he called it "knuckling") was due to a blood clot in her leg, which was caused by a heart murmur that she had been diagnosed with years ago. The labored breathing was caused by fluid in her lungs, as shown on the x-rays. All of this was leading to eventual congestive heart failure.

Back when she was diagnosed with a heart murmur, it was explained to me that this day could eventually come, but today this was totally unexpected, which makes it more difficult.

Two options were explained to us. The first was treatment which would have been extremely expensive with about a 50/50 chance of recovery, and yet there would always be a chance of more blood clots in her future with potentially worse results. From what I recall, the existing blood clot in her leg would also remain because the repair could do more damage than leaving it. The second option was euthanasia.

Given all of the facts, the decision was pretty clear.

Saying final goodbyes to pets is not new to us. We'd had to make this decision four times in the past. It's never been easy, but for Sam it was really difficult.

Up until a few years ago, Sam had always been the quiet one. Timid and shy. She was always wary of our kids and anyone else who came over. A few years ago, we believe that she lost her hearing. As strange as it sounds, this was probably one of the best things to happen. Without hearing, she was a calmer cat. She didn't startle.

She opened up a lot to Kyle and Kaitlyn. She let them hold her. She actually seemed like a much happier cat. She started approaching them for attention. She hung out in the den with Kyle and I while we used the computer. I have to admit that I was actually a little jealous of Kyle because she would willingly sleep on his lap as he used the computer. She didn't like my lap.

She also became very vocal. She'd often wander around at night talking to herself and anyone who would listen. Thankfully, this happened for only a few minutes at a time.

No matter where she was snoozing at night, which was usually on the floor near the den closet, when I got ready for bed she'd wake up and follow me to the kitchen and ask for food. She sensed it. I'd pour a little bit of dry food in the bowl, add a little water to it, she'd be content until morning.

By the time I was in bed, she'd start meowing in the dark in the living room. Perhaps she was saying good night, like they did on The Waltons.

It's almost sad to think of how much attention she missed out on in her life because she was so timid and shy for most of it. For the last 4 or 5 years of her life, there was certainly no shortage of attention and she enjoyed every minute of it.

Tonight, for the first time in 18 years, our home has no pets.

I keep expecting to see Sam sleeping on the floor when I turn around. Or as I walk into the kitchen to get a drink, she'll meow at me for food.

All there is is silence, and it's eerie.

Rest in peace, Sammy.

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