I write this heartbroken and crying. But I write it because I feel that as animal owners we are blessed to have the love of our soft furry creatures, but also have to make the hardest of decisions at times and I wanted to write down my thoughts at this time.
Those of you who follow my social media will know that yesterday I had to say goodbye to one of my cats. Norman was a personality as big has his appetite! A street cat that just kinda moved in one day, not just into the house, but into our hearts.
The decision was hard. Not because it wasn’t right, but because the selfish part of me wanted to keep him for just one more day. But keeping him for that day would have been cruel. He was very unwell, he would have been in pain and discomfort and I would have hated myself for prolonging that distress.
I write this now and my heart hurts because he is not taking up all the room on the sofa, or stealing food, or snoring as he slept so contentedly somewhere nearby. When any animal goes they leave a hole bigger than you ever thought they filled. But when is the right time? When do you know?
With Norman he made the decision for me. If you have never been in the position then I envy you. But it’s true when they say that animals will let you know when their time on this earth is over. Norman stopped Norman-ing. He didn’t eat. He didn’t drink. He just didn’t Norman. It was so clear he was unhappy. The Vet agreed that he was very unwell, and that any treatment would only prolong the inevitable.
But a few years ago the decision wasn’t so clear. My beautiful OTTB – aged only 6, was diagnosed with Kissing Spine, and the insurance company refused to pay out. I had to think long and hard about what was right for him. He was in enough pain that putting a rug on made him kick and bite, so being a lawnmower was not an option, I didn’t have the money to pay for the surgery and rehab that he would have needed. There were many discussions with fellow horse owners and animal lovers, with vets, with people who had been through it. Googling options, trying to find a way forward for my talented ginger ninja.
But ultimately the decision was made when I realised my bright ginger handsome horse was unhappy, his sparkle had gone and ultimately I knew that the kindest option was to let him go. I think that’s probably the thing I’m trying to say:
Owning and loving our animals is a great privilege, the love us back and bring joy and comfort into our lives, and when the time is right you will know it’s right. Seek the advice of others, but when it comes to saying good bye, your heart will speak to theirs, and you will find the strength to do what seems to be impossible, but is ultimately the kindest and greatest thing you will ever do for you pet.
Go snuggle your creatures. I wish so much I could hold Norman just one more time.