As I compose this piece of writing, the grief is still fresh, having lost our beloved "Cuddles," our precious cat, that we have had for 11 years.
Sadly, we had to have him put down on May 14th, 2021, as he had developed a "squamous cell carcinoma;" a common form of oral cancer in cats.
Cuddles came to us in 2010, not long after I had separated from my then husband, and I was seeking a furry friend to add to our family.
This decision was made to not only offer some comfort to my children, who were having their world disrupted so much already, but for myself as well.
We found our beloved "Cuddles" at The Meow Foundation, a local charity and humane society that rescues stray and abandoned cats.
We had our choice of 5 or 6 different cats at the time, that were up for adoption, and Cuddles stood out to us, as the friendliest of the cats that were up for adoption; uninhibited and affectionate, and not afraid to rub up against, and greet his soon-to-be owners.
Over the years my son in particular developed a special bond with Cuddles, always scooping him up on a whim, and holding him like a baby, often catching him off gaurd, having been plucked from whatever perch he was on, and all the while Cuddles would purr affectionately, happy to be given attention.
He was a cat that would go outdoors and explore the neighbourhood, despite our best efforts to keep him inside. I suppose being a rescue cat, he had it in his blood to be outside; being the wandering tomcat that he was.
This photo was taken on a pleasant summer's evening, when Cuddles laid peacefully in the grass in our backyard, enjoying his two favorite pastimes; spending time with his human companions, and being outdoors.
For some reason, it seemed a perfect photo opportunity, the contrast of his smooth black and white fur, in the rich, textured green grass.
And so it went, for many years, Cuddles coming and going from home, and often following us from start to finish on our evening walks with our basset hound.
That is until a few weeks ago, when my son noticed a swollen looking area in Cuddle's mouth.
It was devastating news to our family, when given the prognosis that Cuddles would only experience more pain and discomfort, if the cancer was left untreated.
Treating the cancer meant undergoing invasive surgery, that would be involve a long and painful recovery, and without a good chance of being successful.
We decided it was only humane to put our much loved Cuddles to rest through euthanasia, and had a vet come to our home, so it could be done in his own environment, surrounded by the people that loved him.
When I initially informed my 16 year old son that this had to happen, he sobbed and put his head on my shoulder, so devastated he was by this untimely news.
My son, who is a very intelligent young man, quiet and sensitive by nature, assisted the vet in a few small ways, and surprised me in his ability to remain grounded in what had to happen, despite the fact he was losing his dearest friend.
On a side note, my son is currently talking a veterinary technician program through his high school, as a unique opportunity to recieve college credits while also completing his high school education.
Perhaps his work in this program better prepared him for this most dreaded moment, as he showed great strength in assisting the vet in what she had to do.
We all cried as Cuddles slowly went to sleep, through a tactful and gradual process, involving three separate injections, done with thorough explanation and great sensitivity by the wonderful vet, who made this process of saying goodbye to our precious pet just a little bit easier through her compassion and kindness.
Cuddles remains will be placed in an urn, chosen by my son, and returned to us, and I placed this photograph of him, next to an impression of his paw, which sits in a frame, on our living room mantle.
Our feline friend will always hold a very special place in our hearts, and this photo is in memory of not only a most treasured family pet, but as a valued and cherished member of the family, who we will all miss terribly.
Rest in peace our beloved "Cuddles."