It’s fourteen years today since I laid my cat and dog in their final resting place. Cedric, the cat, had cancer of the jaw. Jamie, the dog, had arthritis so bad he could barely walk anymore. Cedric had been with me for fifteen years and Jamie for ten.
There was nothing more that could be done for them. I knew I couldn’t go through it twice so decided they’d go together. My vet came to my house and did it quickly. I felt like it was Dr. Mengele walking in the door when he arrived with his little bag of needles. It wasn’t painless for me. Afterwards, four of us carried them to their grave. The vet, me and two friends. Cedric was wrapped in a towel and Jamie was in his bed. Four of us cried, one gave a eulogy, then we filled in the grave.
Next day, we made a perennial bed on the top of it. Tiger lilies for Cedric, a tortoiseshell, and orange and yellow dahlias for Jamie. The lilies were mottled colour and sleek like Cedric and the dahlias were happy looking, like Jamie.
Cedric came to me, very pregnant, soon after I’d been dumped by my boyfriend. He hadn’t wanted a cat or dog. I had, so the first thing I did when I got my own place was put out the word that I was cat-hunting. Friends had a stray that had got pregnant. Their own cat had terrorized the stray and they feared what would happen when the kittens were born. So I took the stray, fearing that she was going to give birth on the drive home. But it was a week before the kittens came – I was much more nervous than she was, and she was pretty nervous. I had my landlady come downstairs to help because she was a registered nurse.
Ceddie and I had a good life in many homes, and Jamie joined us when he decided he preferred our house to his own. He lived nearby, at the end of a long country lane. He was a social dog and preferred life in the village. So an agreement was reached and he stayed with us. He was a self-sufficient dog, didn’t have a lot of dog friends but had a wide circle of people friends. He’d do his visiting rounds every few days. When he started getting too lame and old to walk back, someone would drive him home or phone me to come get him. He made friends with a couple neighbour dogs. They’d come visit him or he’d go to their place. He walked along with you, but I don’t think he was ever trained by anyone. He’d run in the woods after rabbits, but never lost track of you.
Neither Cedric nor Jamie were ever my ‘fur-babies’. They were my friends and, especially Cedric, my advisors.
Less than a month after their death, a young stray tabby and white cat turned up around my house. No one ever claimed her, so Elsie moved in and is still with me. After a year, a German Shepherd pup needed a home. So Jack joined Elsie and me. I could hear Cedric and Jamie laughing and saying, ok, we got her sorted out.