Skippy, born April 1979, died May 1995, complications of cancer
     Shadow, born 1990, died June 1995, congestive heart failure
     Chati, born Fall 1986, died Sept 1996, kidney failure
     Charli, born March 1987, died March 2000, complications of cancer
     Buster, born Fall 1993, died April 2000, a victum of his need to protect us

     I remember going to look at Skippy, a lady-friend I had been dating called me and had me come over to a friends house to see (and maybe get) a new puppy. This little red and white, round, puppy walked up to me, put her front legs up on me and said "let's go home boss".
     I remember how she would do whatever I told her to, no matter how much she didn't want to. She would climb in the tub for a bath, she ate rice mixed with Peptobismal, because I told her too (she was sick and needed the mixture). I remember her strength, she could pull her dog house over a block, or my father around a field. She was absolutely birdy (she was a Lab-Britany Spaniel cross) and loved to chase them.
     I remember noticing a lump on her throat and taking her to the Vet. I remember the Vet running some tests and telling me it was Thyroid cancer, and this was little or nothing that could be done and that it was usually a fast acting cancer. I remember her living for three more years, as her cancer went into remission.
     I remember all the work to try to keep her weight up the last few months of her life, and the day I decided she was ready to die, she hadn't wagged her tail for me in couple of days. I even had to carry her up and down stairs.
     She had been my constant companion for many years, and the stories of the things she did would fill pages. I truely miss her still, years after her death.
     Loosing Shadow D'Cat hurt, but the time between when we learned what was wrong, and the time his heart actually started failing was long enough that we had time to be ready.
     I can still foundly remember the love he had for heat. While all cats are heat-sinks, Shadow raised this to new heights. He often slept on the hearth, under the woodstove, while it was hot. I even have one photo of him, on top of the wood stove, with the fire burning merrily just below him.
     We noticed he appeared to be having trouble breathing, so we took him into our (then) vet, the vet thought it was just a cold. A few days latter Shadow was laying on the carpet gasping. We then took him to the emergency room, where they stabilized him and we took him off for a testing with a vet internal specialist where he was diagnosed with heart disease.
     With the help of the Vets at the hospital, who had grown to love this little guy, we kept him alive and healthy for several weeks. Until the day arrived when something in his pulmonary system failed.

     Ellen and I were freshly engaged when she got Chatipus D'Cat. He as quite a young cat, into everything. Loved to dumpster dive in the kitchen garbage. As one might expect from his name, he was a very vocal kitty. Very outgoing, loved everyone. At one point we had a total stranger call at the house and ask to use the phone, while she was talking on the phone, Chati decided to leap to her shoulder and say hi. Needless to say this surprised her, a lot.
     He was also so cross-eyed he didn't see very well. One day he was out on the deck, above the rose garden, when Skippy came down the deck. This terrified him and he ran off the deck. I was below, pruning the rose bushes, when I looked up and saw a cat suddenly realize that he was eight feet in the air and falling into the roses. He hit the ground (not a rose bush) and was going back up the wall when I grabbed him.
     We noted that it looked like he was loosing weight, so we took him into our (then) Vet, the Vet decided that he was just off his feed and we shouldn't worry about it too much.
     So we went on a two week vacation.
     When we returned we had a note from the Cat sitter that she knew Chatti was ill, but she hadn't been able to find him to do anything about it. We found him and took him into the emergency room, where he died that night. We had no time to prepare for this loss.

     As you can tell from the above references, we didn't stick with the (then) vet after this. While some excuse might be made for missing the heart problems of Shadow, even the Vets at the hospital missed the noises of the heart problems. However this vet also missed the enlargement of Chati's kidneys and didn't think any other tests were needed.

     Charli D'Scamp had been been an engagement present from my wife.
     When Ellen brought Charli to her house, her (slightly older) kitten, Chattipus and Charli instantly bonded, a bond that would last all their lives. Ten years latter, when we lost Chatti, Charli walked about the house crying, looking for her best friend.
    I remember the night I brought her home, she demanded up on the bed and she spent the next 13 years following me around, napping in my lap, helping me, supervising me and demanding to be feed.
    It was this that gave the clue something was wrong, one day she didn't finish her meals at a sitting, as she had always done before. By three days later she didn't finish her meal before it was time for the next meal, so the next day she went to the DamnVet (always one word, according to her). They took xrays and drew blood, but things looked bad as there was lumps and other visual nodules. The following day the reports came back, so she stayed in the kitti hospital. After ultra-sound and other tests the Vet reported that it looks like fully involved cancer, in at least 4 major organs.
    We brought her home two days later, Thursday, obviously ill, but happy to be home, she spent the entire evening in my lap purring and napping. She appointments the following Saturday and Monday to have fluids drawn off her (again) to decrease her discomfort. However the following day she stopped eating. The nexy day she stopped purring when I touched her. She was in such obvious pain we took her into the Vet early. When they drew the fluid, it was mostly blood, she was obviously bleeding internally. At the Vets urging we took her home for a few more hours, but she was in such pain she would cry and look at me with those large yellow-green eyes of hers. Because of that pain, we took her in early for her last visit. It was 9 days from the first sign that something was wrong.
    The last thing she saw was the face of 'her' human.
    I awoke the next morning, not hearing her purr and chrip in my ear, telling me it was time to get up and feed her and the realization that I would never wake that way again. I went home from work, and the realization that I will never see her do her 'feed me' dance again.
    I've lost other pets, it just the way things are, but somehow losing this one was the hardest on me. I guess she had just gotten deeper into my heart then I realised. I will have other pets, but Charli D'Scamp will always be the kitten of my dreams.

    Buster T'Artichoke was a mutt, he loved us and wanted, above all, to protect us. The problem is he wanted to protect us from people that we didn't need protection from. Guests, visitors, people he already knew, it didn't matter. We had got him as a rescue, as we later learned, from an abusive home (x-rays showed over 12 pellets in him). In the end it was the problems this abusive start, and our inability to change him that led to the unhappy day he was put down, looking at me and trusting me, then going to sleep in my arms.

    Today they all sleep together, under a King George Rodie. The best friends, Charli D'Scamp and Chattipus D'Cat close to each other in the sun. Shadow D'Cat back in the back, hiding in the shadows, with Buster and Skippy, by themselves, away from the cats, just as they would want it.

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