As you know, my big passion is facilitating end-of-life support for pets.
I deeply love my work: being able to support and guide my animal clients and their guardians through this sacred time. Over the years, many elderly dogs have joined our household. They received a makeover, lots of love and eventually passed with dignity. And my cats who have lived with me for a long time, watched the decline and eventual death of each single dog and remained serene witnesses. They continued to take care of their own business. You see, my cats (there are three of them) have always known that they are divine. They seem to remember that they were worshiped in ancient Egypt once. They lounge, they meditate, they groom each other and eat their favorite food - which can change on a whim. And I love them to pieces. I obey them, I adore them.
Then one day a few months ago, things changed. Just like that.
Wait! What? No, this is not possible. Cancer! One of my cats got diagnosed with cancer. How can this be? My cats are deities, they are immortal. My cats never die. They are not supposed to. But in physical time, they are actually old now. Old cats....wowza! I did not see that one coming. And before I know it, my cancer cat's companion stops eating. Three weeks into our new reality she gets diagnosed with kidney failure. Nowadays it is called chronic kidney disease, because that sounds better. The truth is that her kidneys are failing. Badly. Irreversibly. And then cat number three starts vomiting every night, always on my white wool throw so that I can find it. You guessed right, he did not throw up any hair balls. Turns out that he also suffers from a serious and fatal disease. Bam! All three of them. We have a special cat nursing station now with injectables, fluids and many oral medications and supplements.
Some of my friends feel sorry for me, wondering whether I can still do hospice support for my clients. Perhaps I should take a break? NO!!! I love doing my work.
Like so many of you, I am in the trenches. My cats were always there. Always! I grieve this new reality. I do research about their illnesses. There are moments of utter defeat, but the cats and I do what needs to be done. Anyone who was ever owned by a cat, knows that things happen on their terms. Period. My cats have decided to go along for the ride and patiently accept fluids and injections, however, oral medications only on occasion. We are getting acquainted with the new normal, with the fact that their bodies will give out eventually.
Me? I need to walk my talk step by step, take care of them, take care of me.
What is my biggest lesson you ask?
I know it sounds corny, but I am grateful in the midst of everything that I am experiencing.
I am grateful that these divine creatures are in my life and continue to do things exactly the way they CHOOSE to. It has been their decision to participate on this journey which slowly leads to one of the biggest cross roads of our lives. Does it make me a better practitioner? Yes, I think so. This humbles me. My cats are my teachers. They are my Zen masters.
Please excuse me now, I have to go and give subcutaneous fluids to my cats.
Pet's Point of View LLC
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Photo Credits: Kristin Zabawa, Malcolm Pullen, Nancy Yamin