Sunday, April 6, 2014

MY TEDDY



Teddy
July 1996—April 4, 2014

Into each life some rain must fall...and sadly, it has here at Ashton House. A few weeks ago, our dear 17-year-old cat Teddy fell seriously ill and we learned he was dying from kidney failure. The only thing we could do to prolong his life was to administer fluid therapy (a kind of dialysis) to rehydrate him each night through an IV. We decided to try it as long as he would not be in any pain. For the first three days, he was so weak he spent all of his time in his little cat bed, eating only the shredded turkey meat we brought him. He rallied on the fourth day when shadows of his old self returned as he left his bed to bask in the sun of the living room—something he always loved to do. He even started to eat his usual food again and he ran around the house like the old Teddy. He improved so much that we thought he might be able to make it to his birthday in July. But by the end of the third week, it became apparent that he could not live the way he wanted to. So we did the only thing we could for him. He spent his last night doing all his favorite things—like basking in the warm glow of the fireplace, playing with his favorite little lizard Beanie Baby toy, and sleeping at the foot of my bed—something he hadn’t been able to do for a year because of his bad arthritis (Our bedroom is on the second floor, so I decided to sleep downstairs on an air mattress that last night so he could cuddle up). He ran right for the bed when he saw it and spent the night cuddled up on my feet. In the morning, it was time to say our final farewell to Teddy as we took him to his vet, Dr. John (Broderick), who he always liked very much. The following pictures were taken on his final morning with us. His passing was peaceful and he was surrounded by loved ones. Teddy died this past Friday, April 4. It's hard to believe he is gone. 



We are so grateful for those last three weeks with Teddy. What a precious gift it was to have that time to say goodbye. I know that’s something a lot of us don’t get a chance to do with our pets. Still, there aren’t enough hugs I could have given him in those last three weeks. He was a dear friend who was always there for me and it’s hard to envision life without him. I want to remember him the way he was when he was healthy and a little mischievous. As a youngster, he pulled all the beards off our nutcrackers one Christmas eve and we awoke to find little white tufts all over the house, and I'll never forget the time he managed to grab a pair of underwear from a dresser drawer we forgot to close and brought it down to our living room while we were entertaining guests! Can you imagine how mortified we were?! Here is a photo of him during his younger, healthier days. He was such a beautiful cat both inside and out. Even on the morning of his death, an assistant at the vet clinic admired him and told him what a pretty kitty he was. He seemed to like that.


I want to dedicate the following beautiful song to his memory. The song can be interpreted many ways but to me, it reflects what I feel for Teddy. I think of the mountains in the song as the many challenges Teddy faced with grace and courage over the past five years with his bad kidneys, which caused premature arthritis and many other problems. Despite the medication we gave him for arthritis, it became so difficult for him to climb stairs yet he continued to do so even on his last day. I think the last year of his life was especially difficult, but he was such a trooper because I think he wanted to be strong for us. Through his kind and gentle spirit, he encouraged me to live each day to the fullest—something that was a little difficult for me to do as, like the lyrics in the song, I am someone who often lives life looking behind. With all the health challenges I've faced the last five years, it's easy to think the best years are behind me. Like the song says, "All we have is here and now", so we need to treasure all our moments with loved ones. Just a few short months ago, I had no idea I'd have this little time left with Teddy. If I had known, I would have done some things differently. We really should live today as though it is our last day.
On the day we put Teddy to rest, we heard this song on the radio. I like to think it was a sign that Teddy is okay now.

Up Where We Belong

Who knows what tomorrow brings
In a world, few hearts survive
All I know is the way I feel
When it's real, I keep it alive

The road is long, there are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry on a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know, up where the clear winds blow

Some hang on to "used to be"
Live their lives, looking behind
All we have is here and now
All our life, out there to find

The road is long, there are mountains in our way,
But we climb them a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry on a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know, up where the clear winds blow

Time goes by
No time to cry
Life's you and I
Alive, today

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry on a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know, up where the clear winds blow


I’m sorry this has been such a somber post but it helps me to write and talk about Teddy. I know if I keep him in my heart, he will never be forgotten. The Loving Rest Pet Funeral Home gave us this precious memento of Teddy—an impression of his little paw print—and a touching poem written from the pet's perspective. Thank you for letting me share a part of what Teddy meant to me.