Last night I had to put my cat down. He started to act sick this last week, and I will spare you all the gory details, but it turned out that he just kept getting more sick and the only option was to put him down. I didn't want him to suffer.
His name was Leo, or as I fondly called him Leo-skee-opia. (Did I mention I have this thing about giving animals weird nicknames?) I didn't intend to adopt Leo....but I went to the shelter with my mom who was looking for a cat to adopt and there he was. I wish I had a picture, because my words won't do him justice. He was grey and white, and of course cute, as most kittens are. But he was different. See some a$$hole had decided that Leo needed to be declawed....with pliers. Supposedly the procedure didn't go well so they dropped him off at the shelter. His feet were damaged and he had bandages on both legs. He was a sight let me tell you! It was so endearing though. And I had to rescue him.
I spent the next couple weeks bandaging and unbandaging and treating his poor little feet. During this time we bonded and I fell in love with him right away. Since he had such a bad experience at a young age he was always VERY wary of people. And spent most of the time under the bed if anyone else besides me was around. He was happy though, and every night he would sleep curled up next to me.
The love Leo gave me was real and unconditional. Through many moves, many life experiences, tough times, apartments, houses, other animals, etc...He stuck with me. The love Leo gave to me, and a very few select people in his life was priceless, because Leo didn't love everyone. It always made me feel special that I got him to trust me.
Animals give us something that nothing else in life can. It is PRICELESS! It is a rock in an ever changing life. A life that is so fast paced and modern and stressful....it's amazing how pets can ground you. Bring you back to the simple things that matter. That simple happiness they have, that unconditional love they show, the way the greet life everyday.
I think we can all learn lessons from the animals that spend time with us throughout our life. We just have to listen and be open and love them the way they love us. I know animals have made me a better person, a happier person. I have seen animals change people's lives, and I know they have changed mine.
Today I miss Leo, but I am thankful he chose me that day in that shelter. And I am thankful he shared his life and love with me. I will never forget him.
"If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans" ~ James Herriot