Well, I finally took Briana to the vet today. She's been in a steep decline for the last few weeks, and yesterday she started showing signs of real pain. The kind that makes even a reluctant owner sit up and say, "OK, that's enough."It went about how I expected: they offered to do six thousand different tests involving a lot of pain and torment for her so that we could know exactly what was killing her. But cold hard reality reared it's ugly head; it would likely buy her little or nothing, and the little it bought wasn't going to be fun.Soooooo, she's gone now. She'd been brave long enough; it was time for me to be brave and let her go. I hate real life, sometimes.She weighed in at 2 pounds, 7 ounces - almost exactly what she weighed when I found her hiding in the bushes by my apartment eight years ago. So thin, so weak and pitiful. When I found her, she had almost no fur at all, her body covered in flea bites and scabs. What a mess she was! And what a beauty she blossomed into, silky long gray fur and a heart-shaped face. People hadn't been very nice to her before we got her, but she had the sweetest temperament right from the start. In those early days, she'd lie on my chest and sleep with her paw curled up on my neck. A snuggler and a nuzzler. And a talker! At first she could barely manage to make a noise, but as she gained her strength back she would sit and "talk" at great length with me. Especially when I was on the phone.She was our nurse kitty, too. Any time I was sick, she'd come in and sniff me from head to foot, then press herself up against my back and turn on the purr-vibrator. Sometimes she knead right against my kidneys. She once "cured" a case of food poisoning in just a couple hours for me. She always knew when something wasn't right, and she was always right there.Eight years ago, the emergency vet told me she wouldn't last two weeks. He said she had been too badly neglected, was too emaciated; and even if she did survive, he said, she probably wouldn't make a very good pet. She'd be traumatized, he said, she'd be extremely nervous around people, she'd be skittish in the extreme and possibly hostile.She survived, she thrived, she returned any affection given to her ten-fold. She was the dearest little fur-person, a good companion, patient with our human kittens tugging on her tail or patting her head until she was darn near concussed. She even had a knack for age-appropriate response, from walking away from infants to putting an oddly gentle claw into an offending preschooler. She gave all the affection of her, all her life.Good night, sweetheart, sleep well and wake young again, OK? You're going to be missed down here, very much. I'm sending a memo up there tonight, let them know how much you love to play with broken harp strings. I'm sure there's at least one angel up there willing to twitch one around for you. And now, you can go after it again.Onward!Tamarian
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