Jessie - The loss of a pet

Many people will say: "It's just a pet…" But those who have been lucky enough to love an animal would know it is way more than just a pet. It is devastating to lose a pet.

Jessie passed away last week; nothing could have prepared us for the loss. A tragic loss. As her mum, I feel tremendous guilt for not doing more for her and that she passed away while at the hospital without me holding her. If I look at these pictures, tears fill my eyes.

It all started in November 2019; Jessie was a cat that never wandered away and always stayed close to the house. One night, something scared her and chased her away from our home, and she couldn't find her way back. For two weeks, I searched for her, walking up and down the streets, whistling and calling her name. Finally, she managed to find a local feeding station, the cat feeder recognized her and called me immediately. She wasn't in great shape, her tail bitten, and her skin has rotted away. The vet fixed her up, she came home, but she was never herself again.

One year later, Jessie developed an ear infection. We tried our best to treat it, but it just did not go away. So many other things occupied us at the time, and we did not pay enough attention. By mid-January 2021, the kids found her outside, head tilted, and not willing to move. We took her back to the vet, who diagnosed her with Vestibular Disease. It is something that sets in suddenly, which made her very sick. She stayed in the hospital for three days; they gave her a saline drip and antibiotics. When we collected her, she was better but not fully recovered. A few days passed, we continued with home treatment, but she developed sniffles and sneezes. The Dr. said we should continue the meds, and she should be fine.

Fourteen days after she returned from the hospital, she had a relapse and didn't want to move. We hurried her back to the vet; she stayed for another three days (received steroids, more antibiotics, and a saline drip), and then the vet asked us to collect her because she does not want to eat at the vet. Immediately, I noticed she is lethargic, she hasn't cleaned herself, and she still didn't want to move. I made her a cozy bed, set everything up for her in Markus's room, and hoped she would be okay. The next morning, I realized her litter box was unused, and she was under the bed hiding away. I picked her up, put her in her bed, and took her downstairs. She finally got up to go out, and as soon as she reached the patio, she peed herself and just sat in it. By then, I was crazy from worry. I called the Dr. who said I should continue the treatment; if she does not improve, we should talk about options. That day, I didn't leave her side, fed her by hand, and gave her water with a syringe. When I took her outdoors, she would just lay there, nothing else.

The next day, I spoke to a friend, and she suggested I take her to another vet.  I did just that; thirty minutes later, we arrived at the new vet. He did a check-up and decided to take her in, put her on a drip with anti-bionics and painkillers. I was an emotional wreck by then, we left, and the doctor updated us throughout the day. I told the Dr. if she does not get better, we should make her stop suffering, and he agreed we can make such a decision late the next day.
The next morning, the Dr. called and said she is not eating at all, and it's not going well. We should be there by 4 p.m., and we can make a decision and possibly say goodbye. Unfortunately, at 1 p.m., she passed away, we were not able to say goodbye. Devastating!

We decided to bury her and have a funeral the same day. Each of us wrote her a letter, the kids each took something special as a gift to put in the grave, and then we went to collect her body.
The sadness of having her in the car with us, dad having to dig a hole, and then saying goodbye was intense. We read out the letters to her, scratched her head for the last time, and placed her in her grave. All of us cried our eyes out as dad filled the grave with sand.

Our hearts are in pieces; it's not just a pet; it's a loved one. 

"I bid farewell to my soft, patient companion.
I wish her a soft, patient journey.
I'll miss her softness,
I'll miss her patience,
I bid farewell to my soft, patient companion."

RIP Jessie 17/05/2016 - 10/02/2021


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