Saying goodbye to an ‘original’

Today I took Keith back to the vet. He wasn’t eating and he was getting dehydrated.  We took X-rays, only to find that he had a tumor at the base of his heart along with the one in his abdomen.  He had lost another pound since our last visit last Thursday.

My history with Keith has been a very emotional one.  I have lost track of just how long he has been with us, but it has been a while. I have been through tube feeding him when he was sick to three surgeries on his mouth. At one point someone suggested that it was time to put Keith down.  I never gave up because in my heart of hearts I always knew I could fix the problem and I was always right. We just had this connection and I knew this cat inside and out.

We went through two years on injections for his mouth, which I was told would never heal. But in trying different things and being persistent, after two years Keith’s mouth didn’t have a single sore. He was medication free for the next two years and a happy and content cat.

Keith was the only cat that lived in the original sanctuary before it burnt. The  reason he survived was because he was at the vet that night. We lost our beloved 16 in that fire. The days that followed the terrible fire I clung to Keith. He was my rock. He had taught me to never give up and he gave me the strength to continue. He was a survivor in every sense of the word.

Keith was an FIV kitty and he beat all odds. He never gave up, he fought hard and he loved life.

Today at 3:20 Keith crossed the rainbow bridge. This was not something I could fix this time and I knew he was tired.  The only thing I could do was to give him his wings and open the window and let him fly. He is at peace now and he is with the beloved 16.

It was a hard decision, but to keep him here would be selfish. I needed to be strong enough to let him be at peace.  Sometimes we keep them too long and they suffer, all because it makes us feel better. I did not want that for Keith; he meant too much to me.

Losing Keith in the physical sense is hard, but he will always be with me in the spiritual sense. I am a better person because of Keith and I am able to do what I do because he showed me how to be strong. Thank you, sweet boy, for blessing my life and for showing me that anything is possible.

Thank you, Dr. Haines, for your tenderness and compassion today. It means more than you will ever know.

Thank you, Jamie, Riley and Kate, for being there, and thank you, Eryn, for the hugs and for crying with me.

Keith will be cremated and his remains will come back to the Ark, a place that he loved.

Today at 6 a.m., Marigold delivered five healthy babies, three of which are orange tabbies. One of them will be named Keith.

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