Rewind to 14 years ago. I am at a raging house party…well, of course I am. Where else would I be? I bend down to wipe up a drink that I’ve spilled and looking through the sliding glass door is the cutest face with the longest whiskers that I’ve ever seen. The face is attached to a fat little body wearing what looks to be a fur tuxedo.
Me: (to no one in particular) That is the most adorable frickin’ kitten in the whole world. I want him.
The Hostess’ Husband: (from somewhere in the crowd) You want him? He’s yours.
The next morning I awake near the same spot where I have first seen the kitten. I stumble bleary-eyed to my car, turn on the ignition, and start to drive away. A tapping on the window stops me. I roll it down. The hostess' husband thrusts a black and white yowling furball through, drops it in my lap, and says, “No take backs.”
And, so began my decade and a half relationship with the cat who came to be known as Master Boris Mulrooney Magooney Malooney...Boris, for short.
Today, after a long bout with diabetes, it was time to let Boris go. Of course, the whole ordeal involved tears and guilt and questions of, “Am I doing the right thing?” and “How can I be sure this was the right time?” But in the end, one moment stands out that will forever fill this day with more joy than regret.
We went to Dr. M, who was Frank’s regular veterinarian, not mine. The man had never before seen Boris. He was reassuring about the fact that Boris was indeed in a state of physical decline that was unstoppable. Throughout the process, Dr. M told us what to expect and explained every procedure. He also truly made us feel like he empathized with the loss we were experiencing. But it was not until after Dr. M finally searched for a heartbeat with no success that I understood just how blessed we were to have come to this man.
After he declared to us that Boris had passed, he became serenely silent. For a minute, Dr. M just gently stroked our cat's still chest, then he slowly knelt, kissed him on the head, and said, “I’m sorry, Boris. I'm so sorry, buddy. Go in peace.”
I knew this was not an act for us. This was a genuine response from a man who had chosen his vocation out of a deep-felt respect and love of animals. I recognized this as a ritual, probably performed on numerous pets throughout the years, to honor their life and his presence at their death. It was one of the most beautiful and authentic moments I have ever experienced, and I will be forever grateful.
As for Boris, I believe that now he stalks fat, slow mice in fields of gold and drinks cream from the bowls of angels.
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