Life and Death Decisions

Today, September 18th, is Paris’s Gotcha Day, the day, nine years ago, when we brought him home from the local Humane Society. He was 25 pounds under weight. You could see every rib in his body. And he spent his days in his kennel staring at the floor, refusing to make eye contact with potential pet parents. So no one selected him.

We didn’t select him at first either. We asked about a couple other dogs. But when we described our household and what we were looking for, the workers convinced us that Paris was the dog for us. We spent some time with him in the visitation room, and he didn’t make any effort to connect with us. But the person who had been working with him assured us that he was a good dog, and somehow he made us believe it, and Paris came home with us that day.

Once here, he parked himself in a corner and looked at the floor some more. It was three days before he decided that maybe he was home, and it might be time to see if we could be trusted. He was perhaps three or four years old with maybe 2-3 minutes of training in his life. We brought in a wonderful dog trainer who used all positive methods to help us help him learn to walk on leash and stop jumping on us, and many other good things. But he was a quick study, quick to please. Someone may have given him up rather than training him, and we could be angry about that, but we’re really glad he’s part of our household.


He doesn’t know it yet, but I got some special treats for his bedtime snack (and Butterscotch’s to0.) Paris has irritable bowel syndrome and he does better with a small snack before bedtime, so after potty breaks, it is “snack attack” time. Tonight’s special snack time involves some really good biscuits.

Happy Gotcha Day Paris! We love you.

And balancing out the goodness of Paris’s Gotcha Day is some sadness. The community kitten I was caring for had to be put down today. I was overly optimistic about his eye problems, which turned out to be (we think) feline herpes, an incurable problem. Day by day his eye got worse, and when he stopped eating I knew it was time. He was an amazing trooper about tons of medicines – antibiotics and eye drops and eye ointments – and until Tuesday he was still eating. Not only that, he was eating Innova…an alley cat with champagne tastes!

After that, things went downhill quickly, and the vet said that even if we could help him get past this current episode, he would continue to relapse and it was likely that would continue until his eye “exploded” (her word). Not a fate I would wish on this poor four month old kitten.

He looked at me this morning, having not eaten since Tuesday, with an expression that said, “I’m worn out…can’t do this anymore.” His eye looked like pain personified, and his other eye was starting down the same path. And so this afternoon we helped him slip off into Kitty Heaven peacefully. I am hoping that this was just one of his nine lives, and that the next one will be better for him. He deserves better. Rest in peace, little guy, and be pain free. Sometimes the best thing we can do for the animals we care about is to release them from suffering, but even so, it isn’t easy.

So it was a good day, and a sad day. Balance. A good glass of wine with dinner helped.

13 thoughts on “Life and Death Decisions

  1. Bless you for taking Paris home; both of your lives are richer for it. And I’m so sorry about the kitten, but it sounds like you were wonderful to him and gave him all the best care you possibly could.

    1. Thanks, Ellie. At least he was warm and safe during his last days, and not outside dying slowly and in pain.

  2. Even when it’s the right decision and you know it in your head, your heart still hurts. Poor thing. Kudos to you for taking a “down on his luck” dog too. I always gravitate to the ones that aren’t easily adopted and it’s always turned out to be great.

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