Thursday, August 16, 2007

Summer '07 (the black hole) Part 2: Sox Passes Away

Sox, our beloved family pet of 15 years, was put to sleep at the New Minas Animal Hospital on July 31st, 2007. She was suffering from what we think was end-stage renal failure. Accompanying her at the end were Josh, Alex, and myself. She went quickly and (we hope) painlessly, but it was still sad for all of us. I always figured Sox would be one of those cats that live to be 20 or 21--she seemed so well preserved, like she was drying up as she aged, instead of falling apart--but I was wrong.

It was surreal (and really shitty) to see her lying there, limp, with her eyes open and glassy. I kissed her on her forehead (or the feline equivalent) and she smelled strongly of anaesthetic. We had to put her hindquarters in a plastic bag before we put her in her burial box for the ride home, because bodies get leaky when they're dead. We buried her out back of my mom's house, by the shed, in a 3 x 3 x 3 hole that Alex dug the day before.

It hurt my heart.

It's weird. When I was a child, I figured the stories my parents told us about "Cat Heaven," or "Dog Heaven" were just white lies meant to make us feel better. Now that I'm an adult, and my idea of the afterlife rests on the idea of my quasi-divine ancestors, in the distant future, having access to some technological means of locally or globally reconstructing space-time, I'm pretty sure that if people make it to Heaven, then the animals with whom we've developed meaningful and affectionate moral relationships probably do, too.

I'll never forget her elegant silhouette, her haughty, proud demeanor, and her charming, throaty, distinctly Siamese manner of catspeaking. I'll remember how we came home from Dad's house one weekend (I was 12) to find that our mother had got us a little gray kitten with white feet who was so freaked out by the sudden appearance of 5 scrambling, clutching, chattering children that she shat on the floor. She fell asleep curled up on my lap as I practiced the piano that night. I'll remember how every time I'd go off to college, once she started to get older, I'd find her right before I left and tell her that she'd better stick around until I got back. I'll remember how dense and heavy she was in her prime, for such a small animal, and how in the last 2 or 3 years of her life she seemed to weigh almost nothing, like she was made of paper.

She was a beautiful, exotic creature in a family of mutts. We'll all miss her.

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