October 20, 2010

willy Our good friend and frequent commenter Jana had to put her cat Willy down on Monday, bringing to a close a generation of pets we shared common love and companionship with so long ago when Tracey and I lived in Louisville. During those years (we lived in Louisville from 1998 to 2001) Jana had her cats Willy, Alex, and Elizabeth, and we had our cats Rascal and Sparkle, our parakeets Ferd and Big Bird, and, starting in 2000, the first of our rabbits: Marble, then Pepper, then, after their brief tryst, a brood of seven babies: Marble Jr., Marble Jr. Jr., Mocha, Marshmallow, Half N’ Half, Bandit, and Li’l Pepper (all of whom Jana babysat just a few weeks after their birth while we spent that Christmas in Massachusetts).

As time and the years passed the connection of generations started to break down. We lost Ferd during a Christmas visit in Massachusetts in 1998 (Jana was pet sitting and put Ferd in the refrigerator for safe keeping until we got back!); Big Bird didn’t last that much longer. There was no way we could keep all seven of the babies, so we kept Marble Jr. (she passed away last year), Jr. Jr. was given to our parish priest (I forgot what they named her but I’m told she passed away unexpectedly a few years later), Half N’ Half, Marshmallow, and Lil’ Pepper were given (driven, actually, via a 22-hour marathon round trip from Louisville) to a family in Emporia, Kansas, and Bandit and Mocha were given to a pet store in Louisville (the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life).

After we moved back to Massachusetts in 2002, we had to have Rascal put down (she was 15). Things were quiet for awhile, but then the years started taking their toll: we had to have Sparkle put down on New Year’s Day in 2006, we lost Pepper in July of that same year, then lost the unforgettable Marble in 2007. Along the way, as Jana had to have her own long-time cat companions Alex and Elizabeth put down, she gained another cat, Andrew, then three other cats (Lilly, Buddy, and Nellie) while we adopted a new generation of rabbits: The Big Nipper (whom we lost after only ten months), Little Half Pint, Cosmo, Peanut, and Geronimo and Ginger (the latter whom we lost unexpectedly last month).

The great conundrum in all this is that, the very moment you bring a new pet into your lives, you’re destined to have the sad experience of saying goodbye to them somewhere in time. Some people just can’t handle the pain of losing a pet, but in my view, I’d rather give an animal a nice home and happy existence, then “love and lose” rather then never love at all. Being around Rascal, Sparkle, and Marble Jr. when they passed from this life to the next was as painful, poignant, and holy an experience as one is ever going to experience, but I wouldn’t have it any other way: death is a natural part of life, love between God’s creatures is eternal, and the pets we love as family members deserve nothing less than us being with them when that time inevitably comes. We should all be so lucky.

Even without the “pet connection”, Jana and Tracey and I would undoubtedly share a love and common bond from our time together in Louisville, but the loss of her cat Willy truly marks the end of an era: I’ve met the wacky Andrew, but Tracey hasn’t; Jana hasn’t met any of our current stable of rabbits. So there’s a generation connection that’s now lost in time.

Pool temp: 74 degrees

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:13 | Comments (8)
  1. Thank you Doug for sharing Willy’s photo and the story of our furry friends. Actually, Tracey met Andrew and Lily when she was here for dad’s memorial service. Nellie and Buddy are mom and dad’s kitties that came here about a month later after mom moved in. All have seemed to find their place in my home. Nellie domain is mom’s room and woe be unto anyone who dares enter. She is part Maine Coon and a BIG girl. Buddy is the one I found at the apartment and finally took in. You and Tracey both “met” him them. He was the funny little cat that would go into whatever door was open. He was hanging out behind our building before I took him.
    A lovely memory tribute to our beloved pets.

    Comment by Jana — October 20, 2010 @ 6:02 am

  2. Thanks for the clarification, Jana, I forgot Tracey’s visit for your dad’s memorial service. Looks like you need to come out here for a visit this winter and meet our new generation (which is about to expand in two weeks, but more on that later!).

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 20, 2010 @ 8:16 am

  3. Sorry to hear this, Jana. RIP, Willy.

    Rob & Patsy Ferrara

    Comment by Rob — October 20, 2010 @ 8:25 am

  4. Oh, I just may have to take you up on a winter vacation to see you. Just need to line up someone to stay at the house…hmmmmm???? Feb pretty much sucks here

    Comment by Jana — October 20, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

  5. February is a very nice month in Arizona. 60s and 70s. C’mon down, the Beastie Boys won’t mind hanging with you. 🙂

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 20, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

  6. Sorry about your loss. It is never easy. That is a nice picture.

    Comment by Jerry "Keys" Palma — October 23, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

  7. Sorry about your loss. It is never easy. That is a nice picture.

    Comment by Jerry "Keys" Palma — October 23, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

  8. Sorry about your loss. It is never easy. That is a nice picture.

    Comment by Jerry "Keys" Palma — October 23, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

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