Saturday, February 7, 2009

One Year Ago

The following is a post I shared last year, originally on Feb 5th with follow-ups through February 8, 2008. Tomorrow is the anniversary of his death. My dear friend, Joshua.

Today I am sad...

This is Joshua.

My dear old friend.

My companion.

He is 19 years old

and he is dying...

He stood by his water bowl today and meekly meowed...

He was sick Sunday night with massive diarrhea and today the vet says that his intestines, kidneys, and liver are shutting down.

I'm not he is receiving IV fluids, some glucose, and an appetite stimulant. Since his circulation has slowed down his thyroid meds (delivering transdermally on the ear) have not been absorbing well and puts more strain on his heart.

After a day in the kitty infusion center, he will come home with me. If the fluids and meds do not help at this time, it will time for me to let him go.

My friend who...

...entered my life before my senior year in college at the University of Oklahoma. named after an angel who touched the life of someone I once loved.

...dialed 911 (speed dial on a speaker phone), summoned the police, and scared my roommate.

...would like to ride on my shoulders while traveling to and from campus on weekends.

...learned how to travel 5.5 hrs in the car when I was at Baylor University.

...was lease-trained and loved to roam the courtyard at my apartment while being hooked to a post. He enjoyed the sun and grass so.

...was afraid of the clarinet after a fellow graduate student played in my apartment. However, he enjoyed listening to my horn until he got jealous of it and would sulk in the bedroom while I practiced in the livingroom. [It's hard to imagine now, but my rent in Waco in 1990-1992 was only $275 a month...about the same rate which my parents' mortgage payments were for the home they bought in 1979. I can only dream.......]

...loved to jump into the linen closet at my parents' house and play with the door. This was practically the first thing he would want whenever I visited my folks during school breaks. He would run down the hallway, stop in front of the linen closet until I opened the door, jump in and either play or curl up in the back on top of the towels and take a nap.

...didn't really like traveling to Bloomington, IN after I moved there to work on a doctorate in music at Indiana University. However, we did seem to work out a routine which alleviated his anxiety a bit on those 13-hours journeys.

...has flown on airplanes numerous times and took it in stride.

...learned to 'bark' like a dog after a neighbor moved in with a young dog. Joshua would go towards the door and make a meow/bark noise which was part 'hump' and part 'mmreow.'

...learned to climb the concrete trellis in front of my apartment door and go up to the second floor. But then he would meow loudly because he was stuck and needed for me to come rescue him.

...would not chase mice, drink milk, nor eat tunafish. But he likes to eat raisins, chew lettuce, and bite on rose petals. And I did witness him eating a cricket he had been playing with once.

...has now lived in three homes here in northern Virginia where he is always the king of the manor. He has us trained, especially me, to get up - go to his favorite spot in the livingroom - reach down to pet him while he rubs his head in a crinkly plastic bag. Aw, that's heaven.

...has been a part of my life longer than any other non-relative out there.

But for now, I have to give him a chance with fluids and care.

His spirit is strong though I am sad.

  1. Merelyme said,

    oh no...i am so sorry lisa. spend as much time as you can with joshua. this is such a difficult time when a pet is near their time to go. sweet kitty...i am just so sorry.

    on February 5, 2008 2:01 PM

  2. Shauna said,

    I'm so sorry to read about your angel. Give him lots of love to ease the transistion. And be extra nice to yourself too.

    on February 5, 2008 3:06 PM

  3. Jim said,

    This is sad. I remember when I had to put my dog to sleep.

    19 years is a long life.

    Hugs, Jim

    on February 5, 2008 6:13 PM

  4. LISA EMRICH said,

    Thank you each so much for your kind words and thoughts. Joshua's bloodwork surprised the vet yesterday as his kidneys had not shutdown yet (otherwise the plan was to euthanize) and he has an infection. I brought him home yesterday evening and have been simply spending some time. He doesn't seem to be in distress and he is responsive. He has shown thirst and will drink a little sugarwater, but he won't be tempted to eat. He seems to enjoy being gently stroked and held, but without eating he's not going to last long and I don't want him to suffer. This has happened SO FAST as he looked like he didn't feel well on Sunday, but he was eating on Sunday. I can hardly stop crying.

    on February 6, 2008 1:02 PM

  5. All of Me said,

    how is he doing this evening...i have been thinking about you all day.

    on February 6, 2008 8:21 PM

  6. Donna said,

    I wouldn't be able to stop crying, either. I have two cats that are only a couple years old... I can't imagine losing one of them at any future point in my life, I love them sooooo much, they have saved my life. DAMN now I'm crying!!!

    on February 6, 2008 11:44 PM

  7. Shirl & Lola said,

    Having been a cat owner & lover all my years, I feel for you both. Take care, take heart & store up sweet memories for the day that will surely come, now or later, Lisa.

    When you are ready, let us know how you both are, please.

    on February 8, 2008 5:15 PM

  8. LISA EMRICH said,

    Hello all,
    Joshua is a fighter with a strong will. He stopped eating (sunday) and drinking (wednesday morning). He refused to fall completely asleep for days and shortly after I would think he had, he would lift himself up and shift positions.

    It became apparent late yesterday that he wouldn't last long before nature took him. But wouldn't you know it that this morning he had found a way to go down the stairs and was sitting against the front door wanting to go outside. I honestly can't picture how he went down the stairs since he had become so terribly weak. His heart kept going strong while his paws became ice-cold this morning. I made several phone calls this morning and finally found a vet who could come to the house to put him down today. His veins had already collapsed so the vet injected his paracardium (the sac around the heart.) I held him as he very slowly slipped away, even then his heart didn't want to stop beating. Simply amazing.

    I've had four days of crying and four days of pure caring for him. He still had his cognitive wits about him and remained responsive to voice and touch while expressing his preference for long strokes on the head to long strokes down his body. His mind was still present.

    He is now buried in my front yard beneath a large blue spruce tree (looks like a massive christmas tree) where he had enjoyed lying in the sun. Thankfully the ground was soft and the weather was warm (not typical february). After 19 years, I'm sad to have to say goodbye but I am glad that he had picked me as his human servant, caretaker, and friend way back when I was 20. It will feel very lonely around here for some time.

    on February 8, 2008 6:28 PM

I am very glad to have my new baby kitties, well eleven month old kitties that is. Musette and Pippin are wonderful in the family. But I am still sad today. Tomorrow is the anniversary and it has hit me like a ton.


  1. I still think about my childhood dog. I don't think we ever really get over the ones we love, whether animals or humans. I think that's our testament to them..

  2. I'm so sorry you lost Joshua. that story made me cry. :( It made me miss every kitty I have ever lost and fret over the 2 I have now that are healthy and spry.

    It's so hard to love something so much and to have to say goodbye.

    Every time I lose one, I say "no more! I won't go through this again!"... and then some cute as a bug kitty tugs at my heart strings and I'm utterly in love all over again. :-)

  3. Awww Lisa,

    That was such a beautiful story about such an angel. Over the years I've had to let go of four kitties, each of them differently. Just last week I had a conversation with myself and we decided when the last one goes, we are taking a break from cats for awhile.

    Yeah, I don't think that's going to last very long either!


  4. NOT easy.. Not at all an easy
    thing to do... I have three pets now and cannot anticipate the day, when having to do what was done with previous pets, when the time came to say goodbye... I feel for you right now and my skin is tingling more than the usual.....

  5. My cat is so human-like, I can't imagine my home without her...she is the first thing I see when I get up in the morning and the last before I go to bed.

    But don't tell her I made mention of this...we BOTH pretend to be aloof.

  6. Lisa,

    I feel your pain and what you must have went through last year. My friend lost her Beagle yesterday, his name was Memphis. He was cool, just like the city. What's worse is this tragedy was unexpected as he got loose from their yard and was hit by a car.

    Daisy is my first pet and I am glad she is young and healthy (fingers crossed). It will really upset me if/when it is her time to go be with God. She is like my baby as I can tell Joshua was to you.

    It sounds like Joshua had a full and very enjoyable life. You kept it interesting for him and vice versa. :)

    I am going to say a prayer for all our babies today, past and present.

  7. That was a wonderful tribute to Joshua (and yes, now I'm crying). It's so hard to lose a pet, they become family. I have a dog, 5 cats, and 3 gerbils. I HAVE to have pets around me all the time. One of my babies is 16 years old now. Scares me.