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My sweet friend for 13 years, Squeak

My sweet friend for 13 years, Squeak

Today has been a bit traumatic. For 13 years we’ve had a dear, sweet furry friend in our house.  He wasn’t too big, maybe a little overweight, but at 14 pounds he wasn’t so large physically.  His personality filled our world, but today he is gone.

We first met him when he appeared on our front porch, pawing through the trash for something to eat.  He was so cute, we decided to give him a home with us.  As a youngster he was clumsy, falling off of everything, including the top of the refrigerator. But his heart was always warm and loving.  He was kind and generous with his love, with gray tabby fur which, in  certain light, had a greenish tint to it. His jowly face and long fangs lent him a slightly comic air which went well with his personality.

As he grew, so did his love for us and ours for him. Though he got bigger, his voice did not. Hence the name Squeak, which was the only sound he ever made, except for his big happy purr. He got along well with all the other members of the household  and made himself right at home. He had his own bed, his own rug–a round, shaggy, blue one–and his own food bowl. Of them all, the blue rug was the one thing he did not share. What he would have done without it, I don’t know.  It was a bed, a toy, a security blanket all wrapped in one. It had been repaired and patched so many times it was nearly ready for the trash. But because he loved it so much, I always mended it one more time.

Squeak made a lot of friends in his life. Our grandsons adored him and the doctors and staff of the Commerce Veterinary Hospital have loved and cared for him during most of his life. Whenever I had to be away, he boarded there with his friends.  We thank them for their kindness and generosity toward him and for the sympathy they have expressed on his passing. I know they will miss him nearly as much as we do.

It’s hard to say why our pets have such a profound effect on our lives.  Is it simply the amount of time we have with them before they pass on? Is it their presence throughout our days which gives us comfort when we’re down? Maybe it’s all their little quirks which make us laugh or the way they always sleep on that one corner of the bed. Perhaps it’s their willingness to sit with us when we’re ill and need  comfort.

Squeak had all those attributes and more. He slept with me when I was recovering from chemotherapy. His needs, even though they were just food and water,  forced me to make my way at least as far as the kitchen each day. And since I was there already, I would get a glass of water and maybe a snack to keep me going. When my husband was gone for business, I at least had my big furry friend to keep me company, with a personality as big as the whole outdoors.

I will miss my friend Squeak, with all his little foibles. I know that wherever he is, he is finished with the pain and discomfort he’s felt  while fighting the infection that finally took his life. Knowing this, however, doesn’t fill the hole in my heart or dry my tears. It doesn’t keep my husband from looking over to  where Squeak always slept, expecting to see him there. It won’t help the sense of loss we’ll  feel as we dig his grave and bury him beside other friends who passed over before him.

Is it silly to get so attached to a pet? Some will say, yes. And there are times, like tonight, when I wish I could stay aloof in my humanity and not give those ‘lesser beings’ such a place in my heart. But I can’t. They, in their very own way, share their heart and world with me. How can I do less?

Tonight we say goodbye to an old and dear friend, Squeak. Wherever you are, you big sweet love, take care and have fun. And remember, catnip makes you silly, so use in moderation.

A piu tardi, amico mio.

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