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Thoughts from a feline farewell (goodbye Elvie).

Elvie

This was meant to be a post about finding lost pets (I’ll post that next time) but plans changed, as last Friday 28th August was the last day my Mr. Elvie inhabited his physical body.

So, this week I’ve decided to share some thoughts from my journey through that and to pay tribute to my fine furry, purry friend. It’s quite strange after helping so many of other people’s pets through their end of life (and helping their people navigate through their pain at that time) to go through it with my own now … and quite suddenly.

Elvie’s story. elvie young Elvie when he first arrived as a tiny kitten in 2008

Mr. Elvie came to us as a tiny kitten. He followed my Leo cat home. He was most likely dumped, which happens a lot where we lived at the time, or he could have strayed (we looked for owners and never found them). After giving him a good feed I took him upstairs, put him on my knee and gave him some reiki (he was quite tired and scared). From that moment onwards he was my best friend and my knee became his favourite place in the whole world (as a small kitten he’d fall asleep on it and then roll off it onto the floor – too cute).

He really was a mummy’s boy. It’s lovely to be adored as he adored me and the feeling was mutual. He’d happily let me hold him like a baby in my arms and I’d even waltz around the room with him, as he gazed and purred (and gave my partner Sam smug looks that said ‘she’s MINE’).

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.38.10 Mr Elvie in happier days, being my guinea pig for a tapping video

He had his troubles though, losing a leg and most of his tail a couple of years ago, probably in farm machinery. He made a great recovery and his attitude to his recovery was awesome, yet from there complications arose. He reacted, shortly afterwards to a spot on wormer and the reactions just kept recurring, sometimes after many months, sometimes sooner, despite energy work and conventional treatment.

Elvie in his e-collar Elvie recovering well from his loss of leg and tail in 2013

 

A sudden decline.

I have a feeling that took it’s toll and when he got a leg bite earlier this year, it really aggravated the flare ups. I thought we had it relatively under control though and they were healing again, but I was over optimistic, as last week things took a sudden turn for the worse. Firstly he went missing (hence the upcoming post on that) but once he came back, I knew things weren’t right. He’d hide under cabinets and had lost his appetite, neither of which is usually a good sign.

Some energy balancing helped stop the hiding and we brought him to the vet, as I knew something wasn’t right. It turns out he had developed severe anemia (not dietary) and had an irregular heartbeat. I knew his body was struggling. For a couple of days I tended to him and used all the tools I had to help him. It wasn’t an easy time. It was very hard to see him so ‘off’, so unlike himself, so lethargic and still not eating well. He became very clingy, hardly wanting to leave my side, crying out for attention and energy work.

Making ‘that’ decision.

By the end of the week, I just knew that without eating better, he just wasn’t going to recover. I wasn’t going to try to force feed him, that just felt wrong. I knew then that I had to make that hardest of decisions, the one we wish, hope and pray we don’t have to make – to euthanize. If his body wasn’t strong enough to recover, then it was the kindest thing to do. I can tell you that it wasn’t easy to make that decision and for a while (probably half a day, but it felt like eternity) I second guessed myself, I felt uncertain, I went into judgements about it. Then, I let myself get really quiet and I let the knowing come to me.

I’d already told him earlier in the week that he could ‘go’ and as dearly as I loved him I was ready to let him go if that’s what he wanted (and if he wanted to stay, we’d work together to facilitate his recovery). I held him and knew it was time to release him from the discomfort of his body. I knew that otherwise I’d just watch him suffer. His body would keep fighting for survival but his discomfort and pain would intensify. I didn’t want it to end that way. I became very appreciative of having the option to assist him through euthanasia.

elvie in straw He loved a comfy spot for a snooze His last day.

I tell my clients who go down the path of euthanasia for their pets to see if they can get it done at home. It makes it a gentler experience. This isn’t always a possibility here in rural Ireland, and it wasn’t possible for Elvie, but it wasn’t a big deal for me.

I also advise my clients to do whatever they can to celebrate those last days and moments that they have together. So, once I’d made the decision on Friday morning, I spent the day with my Elvie, reminiscing about all the times we’d had together and just adoring him. I let him outside to sit in the sunshine one last time.

There were also tears and moments of disbelief and of sadness as I felt his soft fur under my hands and knew it wouldn’t be for long. Yet, as the day wore on and I saw how ‘off’ he was physically, how unlike his true self he was now, I knew again I’d made the right decision. I felt it in every pore of my being.

I was with him in the vets office, as they first sedated him (which can make pets vomit, which did happen) and then as they administered the overdose of anaesthetic to euthenise him. I stroked him and talked to him the whole way through until we were sure he had ‘gone’.

He was buried in the garden, under the hedge and I make him a small floral tribute of some cheerful flowers in pots. I can see it when I look out from the house and it reminds me of our time together (and I do wave and say hello every morning, even though I know it’s only the shell of his body and that his soul soars free now).

IMG_2243

And now ….

Day to day life resumes. I am relived that he is no longer in distress (and that relief helps me remember that I made the right decision). Of course I miss his soft fur under my hands, his happy smiling face looking up from my knee when I’m on the sofa, the beauty of his markings. It will take time to adjust and rightly so. A few tears are shed, even though I am mostly still in appreciation of having had him in my life, a gift from the Universe for the last 7 years.

I still have my other cats (Leo and Baby) to tend to and enjoy and Sally dog came over at the weekend for a visit, so I still have good company, thank goodness. That really does help. They are all ‘taking it well’, which is good, as remaining pets can mourn for their animal friends just as we do.

Even though Elvie has gone (well, he’s no longer in physical form) I truly feel that his spirit soars in freedom now and I know he’ll never be forgotten by me and I treasure the fun we had together. I do truly believe that it’s better to have loved and ‘lost’ than to never have loved at all. He enriched my live immesurably and was a source of great joy, companionship and fun for me over the past 7 years.

Thank you so much for that Mr. E and have fun on your new adventures love.

I do also appreciate my tools that helped me cope (and helped me make Elvie more comfortable) and the understandings I’ve gained from helping a multitude of pets and their people move through similar situations as gently and peacefully as possible. That really helped. I also feel priviledged to be able to help others through this. It’s never ‘easy’, even when we know what’s right and when we have the tools to help us through. If you’re in that situation and need extra support for you and your pets, please consider getting it!

Video

I usually have a video to go with my blog posts and strangely enough I filmed one about coming to terms with the inevitability of our pets mortality and facing the question that lurks in so many of our minds when we have very elderly pets … ‘how long do I have left with them’. I made it with Sally a couple of weeks ago, not knowing what was about to unfold for Elvie this month. It feels kind of fitting to share it now, in case anyone is struggling with that tricky question.

Also, if you are finding it hard to cope after the death of a pet, please click here to watch this video, where I share some EFT tapping to help you deal with the emotional instensity of that situation (please do take full responsibility for your own wellbeing if you choose to tap along – if your feelings are very raw or intense I advise working with a trained EFT practitioner such as myself).

 

Thanks for reading this, my intention was that by sharing my journey, it could help others come to terms with their pets illnesses and final days of life and remind people that they can celebrate their relationships with their sweet pets, even – and espeically – at the end of that pet’s life. It’s more of a fitting farewell if we can celebrate, even just a little bit between the tears, and keep those cherished memories fresh in our hearts.

Please share this post with those who could benefit from these words.

Thank you.

 

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