The last couple of years, we’ve not had good luck with the cats in our lives.
The cat our daughters grew up with, Slick, was 15 or 16 years old, but had stopped eating, so we’d scheduled an appointment at the vet to put him to sleep. He was always and indoor and outdoor cat. Even in his pain, he loved being outside, so on his last day with us, he meowed meekly at the door and went out. He never came back. 😦 His body was so tired, our hope was that he laid down in the sun and drifted off peacefully.
It took a lot of coaxing by my wife for us to get another cat because Slick was just the best cat ever, period. However, I love cats, so I caved when my wife found Liam, a beautiful gray and white cat. He was a charmer and was beloved by all in our house. He was not to be an inside and outside cat, but he got out at the end of the day. He ran away from me and it was getting close to dark, so we left food by the door, thinking he’d come back. He didn’t. I went looking for him the next day, and he was dead on the road. We live on a gravel road, so I could see the tracks where someone had swerved AT him.
We got another cat, Fin, a sassy tabby cat, who was again, beloved in our family. He was the king of the castle and just loved to play. Somewhere along the way, he contracted a virus called feline infectious peritonitis. FIP is not a common disease, but, wouldn’t you know it, if a cat develops it, it is fatal. Fin died within two weeks of this diagnosis.
I wasn’t going to get another cat, until, my wife found Mozzie. He’s a siamese mix, NOT an inside and outside cat, and is one of the most chill cats we’ve ever had. The caterwauling of a siamese? Not Mozzie. He has this tiny little meow and is just the cat we needed at that time. He was brought to the Humane Society from a farm, so we felt really lucky to get him. As the pandemic forced us home, we noticed that Mozzie was lonely, so we started looking for a friend for him and found Opal. She’s a purebred seal point siamese with all the traits that make them, for lack of a better word, obnoxious. Loud, needy, rambunctious, all that we wanted for Mozzie’s friend. They love each other, play often, and snuggle together on the bed at night.
Why do I tell you this? Because the one place we’ve never had issues is with out dogs. When we moved out here in 2008, there were a couple of stray cats, the above mentioned Slick, and deer who were literally coming up to the house. As we looked around, it was the perfect place for a dog. So, my wife and daughters (10 and 8 at the time) took a drive and came home with a free puppy. She was a border collie mix and as cute as can be. The problem, so cried and cried and cried to the point where we went back to the farmer who was giving his puppies away, and got the last one. Thus, Molly and Winnie were together.
As dogs go, we could not have asked for better ones than Molly and Winnie. They were puppies and chewed EVERYTHING (we lost our phone lines because they were unprotected at the time and eaten), but they were feriously loyal and loving dogs. We have chickens we allow to range in the summer, and many people talk about how their dogs kill them. The chickens would run over the dogs as we’d be outside together. They were the best dogs for our girls, following them everywhere, being pillows, foot warmers, and protectors. They protected our place almost to a fault. They were always friendly with people, but when other dogs approached, fur was raised and they were fierce.
As they’ve aged, they didn’t range as far, and in the last couple of years, they guarded the porch really well. 🙂 We noticed that Winnie has lost her hearing about 18 months ago, so she was always watched a little more closely, but they rarely ventured far. This winter, she was having issues with her hips, so I started them on a joint vitamin regiment, and it seems to perk them both up. With it being so cold, they’d not been sleep up on the porch, but would retire to the bed of straw under the heat lamps that I set up in the wintertime.
Today, I found Winnie has passed on during the night. My wife and I cried, hard, because she was such an amazing dog for so many years. I didn’t get much of my school work done because we spend the afternoon warming the ground so we could dig her grave out by some bushes we planted. The frost in the ground made work difficult, so we carried many buckets of hot water to thaw through, so she could have a final resting spot. My wife suggested a bed of straw, so as we pulled her out in the sled, we brought some straw along so she’d be comfortable traveling to where ever it is dogs travel to. We didn’t take off her collar because when we pass, we’ll know it’s her. As we covered the grave, in the midst of a light snow, we cried again.
Why am I writing this? I’m not the one to celebrate grief. I get so tired of the “my grandpa would be 123 years old today and I miss him” crowd that is on social media. I keep my grief to myself, which I guess is reason #426 why I have very few friends. It may be hypocritical, but I just felt I needed to give one of the two best dogs in the world a proper send-off. She deserved as much.
UPDATE: My wife cried, again, that Winnie didn’t come greet her at her car and posted tonight on Facebook that she past. I shared it. Damnit.
Goodbye, Winnie. You’ll never be forgotten and when we meet again, where ever that may be, it will be a happy day indeed. Go nose Slick, chase Liam, and make nice with Fin. They’ll tell you good stories of their times with us.