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© Can Stock Photo / adrenalina
There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth.
It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of all its beautiful colors.
Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows,
hills and valleys with lush green grass.
When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place.
There is always food and water and warm spring weather.
The old and frail animals are young again.
Those who were sick, hurt or in pain are made whole again.
There is only one thing missing,
they are not with their special person who loved them so much on earth.
So each day they run and play until the day comes
when one suddenly stops playing and looks up!
The nose twitches! The ears are up!
The eyes are staring and this one runs from the group!
You have been seen and when you and your special friend meet,
you take him in your arms and hug him.
He licks and kisses your face again and again -
and you look once more into the eyes of your best friend and trusting
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together never again to be apart.
Doris's story is a pet/owner love story for the ages. The most recent chapter started about 15 months ago. Her “dad“ was 90 years old and terminally ill but he would not go into hospice care until all 40 of his kitties were spoken for. It got to the point that only Doris was left. We knew there were very few potential adopters for a 17-year-old cat but that didn’t matter. We volunteered to take her and promised to take good care of her. Once her dad knew she was safe and would be well cared for, he knew his work here on earth was done; he died the next day.
Right from the beginning, Doris was determined to show us that age is a matter of attitude and she had the attitude to prove it! Although the smallest kitty among all the others in her foster home, she was the one in charge. The others quickly learned that her place was at the front of the pack.
Doris was a total love machine and a real lap cat. Her whole body quivered as she purred with her joy at just being with you; she even drooled with pleasure. She was so companionable, she would often just follow you from room to room. A chatty girl, Doris would also give a charming chirp to converse with you (mostly to encourage you to continue to pet her). She was definitely not one of those seniors who just slept all the time (and when she did snooze, her preferred place was near - or on - you). She still enjoyed a bit of play especially with her beloved motion toy which she would chase around in a circle.
She thrived in her permanent foster home and celebrated her 18th birthday in October. Sadly, that was to be her last birthday party. In early November, Doris developed severe difficulty breathing and was rushed to Harmony Hill where Dr. Werden and her amazing team of vet techs and assistants drew off 190 ML’s of fluid from her chest cavity and abdomen. That made a huge difference in her breathing and we waited with fingers crossed for the results of lab analysis. In the end, the labs did not matter. Within three days the fluids were back and once again Doris was struggling to breathe. Her time here was done.
Her broken hearted foster mom commented that one of the most wonderful things was that right up until the end, TCAL and Harmony Hill never once cut corners to save money on her medical care because she was a rescue cat or because she was very senior; she got the same care that loving owners would give to their own cat. That care was only possible because of the generosity of donors who support the rescue mission. And now Doris can hopefully be reunited with her dad who loved her so much for so many years and refused to abandon her even as his own life was drawing to a close.
Fred came to us "breathing weird" but seemed very sweet and healthy... Unfortunately, he had lost the clear divide between his chest and abdomen called the diaphragm. His abdominal organs were in his chest making it incredibly difficult for him to breathe. After an incredibly hard surgery with an emergency blood transfusion, oxygenation problems, and some scary near death moments, Fred came out of the battle alive with his organs where they belonged and a diaphragm.
Much to our dismay, he didn't win the war. He was recovering and awake and then his body just stopped. No amount of pleading to him to stay with us could bring him back. His time on Earth was ended likely by a blood clot that we couldn't do anything about.
In his final days, he was surrounded by love and compassion by the staff of Harmony Hill and the volunteers of The Cats at Longstreet. We miss you already, Fred, and are so thankful to have had the moments we did with you. We hope that life on the other side is truly a breath of fresh air filled with memories of all of us on this side of the rainbow bridge that were rooting for you!