We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle easily and often breached.
Unable to accept it's awful gaps we still would live no other way
We cherish memory as the only certain immortality never fully understanding the necessary plan

Irving Townsend

I had a wonderful friend by the name of Fluffy. My son was 6 years old when I got her and he was 28 when she passed on. That makes it easy for me to keep in perspective just how long I had her with me. The time came just after her 22nd birthday and I knew the inevitable was here. She was getting frail, her organs had started shutting down and her quality of life was no longer enjoyable. It was time for me to free her from her discomfort and pain.
I went to my vet the day before, signed the necessary papers and paid so that I could make a speedy exit after I gave Fluffy to the vet. I knew I wouldn't have the composure to go through with these necessities after the fact. The day came and as I waited for the vet to come and take her from me, I realized I just couldn't just hand her over. I don't know what possessed me but I asked him if I could hold her while he gave her the needle. Being somewhat queezy I hadn't even given that a thought until then. 

He was wonderful and said yes. With Fluffy in my arms he gently
put the needle in her paw. Within a second or two at the most she
was gone. She was purring and there was not even the slightest
flinch. She just went to sleep beautifully.

Until this day I thank God I had the presence of mind to ask my vet to let me hold her at the end. I would never have forgiven myself if I had left her alone. This way she was with her best friend and she knew she was loved. I live with peace of mind that could only have come by witnessing her departure and knowing she didn't suffer.

Now this may not be for everyone but it certainly was the best decision for both me and Fluffy. It was not until later I realized people may not even know they can ask to be present for the final journey.  It's something we hate to think about let alone plan for so we leave it until the very last minute without making arrangements and when the time comes we are so upset we can't think straight.

Stick with me folks.  You'll be glad you did.

A couple weeks later a neighbor knocked on my door and said he had something for me. You guessed it - he put a basket on the floor and a newborn kitten popped its head out.

My initial reaction was - no way. I wasn't going to go through the anguish of losing another one and I also felt disloyal to Fluffly. I realize now that guilt played a big part in not wanting to get another cat. Well that lasted about 3 seconds. This tiny thing needed so much care and attention there was no way I couldn't take her. She was about 3 weeks old and abandoned in the lobby of my apartment building. Now I need to mention that the building I was living in was fairly high end in a good area. Security was tight and people did not just dump animals off at our address. In the 20 years the superintendent had been there he said this was the only time he could think this had happened.

There is no doubt in my mind that this little thing found me. She took my focus off of my heartache and helped me through the grieving process. That tiny little baby, Bijou, is now 15 years old and weighs about 18 pounds. She is still my baby though.

In figuring out her age the vet determined that she was born about the same time Fluffy left me. The incredible thing is that I truly believe Bijou has Fluffy's soul.

She has exactly the same gentle disposition and lovable personality. She sleeps in precisely the same spot and in the same position on my bed that Fluffy did every night. On a certain level I feel that Fluffy is still with me. I know I would have suffered needlessly for a very long time if Bijou had not been dropped into my lap. I wasn't being disloyal to Fluffy in keeping her. She didn't take Fluffys place in my heart, nothing ever will nor was she meant to. What she did was help to fill that hole left when Fluffy passed on. She opened me up to another wonderful experience with another wonderful pet who needed me as much as I needed her
Often after losing a precious pet we are afraid to make a commitment once again. We swear we will never get another animal as long as we live.  The fear of pain is natural and very real. Afterall why would you ever want to go through this again?

Some may feel they are being disloyal to their long time pet. That in effect they are replacing them with another one.

The pain which comes with losing a pet is far outweighed by the joy they bring up when we have them. It is hard to fathom what I would have missed had I stuck to my guns and not taken in Bijou. She was such a joy and I was so thankful for her being a huge part of my life.

You will never replace them. You are not trying to. A new pet does not take the place of the departed pet. Your departed pet would not want you to suffer. What a new pet does is give you
a focus away from your grief and in my opinion it is the best therapy to help get you through your grief. For some it is better to get a new pet soon after the passing. For others it may be easier to look into that after some time has passed. Only you can decide when the time is right.

Remember this. You need to keep your eyes opened if you have recently lost a beloved animal.

There is another one somewhere looking for you right now to help fill that hole in your heart. If it is meant to be you will find each other.
Until it was time for my 22 year old Fluffy to leave me I was not aware of this process.  I share Fluffy's Beautiful Exit below in the hopes it will help you resolve this difficult decision and come to terms with your loss as well as your plans for the future.  It is a subject we don't like to discuss but it is an unfortunate part of an animal lovers life.  This story has brought comfort and hope to people all over the world and it is my wish that you too will benefit from it.
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© 2001
My Beautiful Bijou
1992 - 2008
1970 - 1992
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I am heartbroken to report that on
January 22, 2008 my beautiful Bijou
passed on after almost 18 years
There will always be a cat in my life but never one like she was. She was my heart pet