My sweet father wrote a letter to the editor this morning about our cat, rusty. I thought I would share it here on the blog, mostly because I want to document it. You can choose to read it or not. This is, after all, my little journal with you peaking in as you choose, dear cyberspace.
Day two after the passing of my little kitty has been a little better, although I am still terribly heartbroken. Thank you for all your sweet comments and condolences. You all are so wonderful!
Something you should know about my dad and Rusty is that they were the best of pals. I wish I could say rusty loved me more than my dad, but I would be lying. My dad was, after all, the one who fed him every morning. Rusty used to jump up on my dad's bed and paw at my father's nose until he got up to feed him. The two males in the household definitely stuck together.
It might seem weird that I'm so wrapped up in this, but I suppose it will help me grieve. I still am so sad and in unbelief that he's gone. The phrase I keep saying over and over to Lincoln is, "I'm so sad."
Here is my father's tribute to one of my most favorite friends I have ever had.
A few years ago there was a short article in the Deseret News reporting on a Veterinarian in California who postulated that we should no longer consider ourselves as pet "owners", but rather as caretakers of the animals we welcome into our homes. I responded with a letter to the editor that I had no problem with altering my position, but I wondered how I could get my cat to stop thinking he owned me. The cat I was referring to was hit by a car and killed Sunday morning.
Rusty came into our lives 13 years ago. Two young boys appeared on our doorstep one warm July afternoon holding a cardboard box. Inside were two tiny kittens. One was an orange tiger stripe female. The other was a white ball of fluff with the deepest blue eyes I had ever seen. His only coloring was a splash of rust on both ears and the tip of his tail. Hence his name, Rusty. Our youngest daughter Jalene was nine. She had come to us later in life. Her older siblings had left the nest by then, and she had become an only child. It seemed natural that a kitten would brighten her life. We adopted Rusty into our lives.
Rusty's personality soon began to emerge. By the time he was a year old he had assumed the role of the dominant male in our home. He choose when to be affectionate, and when to be aloof. I think he realized early that he was not destined to be a hunter. He lacked the necessary camouflage. Much to his chagrin, each time he stepped outside the blue jays would begin a noisy dive bombing. When a visitor would come to our home he would greet them with a casual sniff, and then walk away with indifference. He soon learned that if he sat by the door and meowed, someone would open it. But as often as not, he would only sniff the air, look outside for a while, and then decide he didn't want to go out after all.
When Jalene went away to college, Rusty decided he would sleep with us. But his habit of curling up two inches from my nose brought a stop to that. We shut him out of our bedroom. From then on he retaliated by scratching and meowing at our door at four o'clock each morning. But he eagerly returned to sleep with Jalene whenever she was home. They both loved it. They were close companions for more than half of her life. Six weeks ago Jalene married her sweetheart. There was no serious discussion of Rusty going to live with them. Her husband has allergies.
Sunday morning I arose early to attend some meetings. As was his custom, Rusty wanted to go outside. He sat for a while on the edge of the deck and surveyed the back yard. When I left he didn't want to come back in. When my wife followed me to church she didn't realize he was still outside. At 11:30 I was called out of class. A kindly neighbor had seen it happen. Rusty had darted out from behind some bushes into the street. I doubt the driver even saw him.
There were no signs of injury. We laid him on the foot of our bed where he would often nap during the daytime. Jalene and her husband were called. The tears flowed freely. After a period of grieving, we gently wrapped and placed him in a box. His resting place is among the flowers in our backyard.
I now know with certainty that our pets do truly own us. They own a big piece of our hearts.
I should mention that our sweet kind neighbors displayed every ounce of Christ-like qualities during this incident. After the accident, the picked up Rusty and rushed him to a vet's home in our ward to see if there was any hope. When they found there was none, they went and found my dad at church. I was so glad we didn't have to drive up the street and see him there out in the road. They spent some time talking to my parents about the time they lost one of their pets. Then later that evening we found muffins on our porch with a note attached from them. It read:
Pets teach us to live in the now, to enjoy life as it comes to us, and to love without asking questions. They teach us what is most important life... and it's heartbreaking when they leave us.
I'm so grateful we are surrounded by loving compassionate people. I will be ever grateful for our kind neighbors.
And thanks again for reading. Life is wonderful and we are so happy. I will be back to sharing with you soon.