I woke up this morning not intending to dwell, but the memories of last year - on this day - came flooding back fresh and raw. As I lay in bed trying to wake up, reflect on my feelings, and try to move past them, Bilbo (Godz Bilbo Bombadil - our 4 year old cream point & white Sphynx boy, and Gimli's litter mate) came bounding upon the bed, pawed me on the head (so I would raise up the cover), climbed inside and into my arms, settled comfortably, and began to purr. He was followed closely by his own little shadow, Rosie (PR Godz Rose of Sharron - our 16 month old dilute calico girl who is Gimli's niece).
Both nestled warmly against me and - unbeknownst to them - gave me exactly the kind of comfort that I needed more than anything in the world. Rose's sister, Lily, (PR Godz Junipurr Lily - our 16 month old red & white girl who is also Gimli's niece) tentatively came to see where Bilbo and Rose had gone and, after allowing me to hug her without squirming away (she's a daddy's girl wholeheartedly) she settled into a warm spot by her two favorite non-humans.
I wondered, this morning, if Gimmie would've liked the girls, especially since Rose is so much like him.
I wonder if he'd be pissy over the way Bilbo now tries to take his place (I'm betting yes on that one). I love these sweet little creatures so very much. They're all different and very loving, but there's a part of my heart that will always be Gimli's - my special boy.
Our loss was not forgotten by friends today or yesterday. In fact, over the last several weeks, and inparticularly right after the SBEN's issue #2 was released - where my story along with an issue dedication to Gimmie offered others a chance to remember with me - I have had numerous emails from all over the States, Europe and Africa. So many kind souls who deeply understand this sort of pain, loss, and love... and some, like myself, who have experienced unnecessary loss through the ignorance or apathy of a trusted vet.
This past weekend my husband and I attended a CFA show where Lily was shown in Open Premiership and Rose, already a Premier, worked on her Grand points. Bilbo was along as their moral support. I was benched by a Sphynx breeder that I know from online and from seeing at shows. He brought two little kittens to show and we had time, during the lulls, to talk about many things "Sphynx". I mentioned today's upcoming "anniversary" and how I was still angry about the use of Ketamine by the vet. He told me that he'd had two Sphynx (whole cats used in his breeding program) that were killed due to Ketamine use. One was pregnant and needed to have a C-section to deliver. She was given Ketamine and it killed her, along with all her kittens. He had her necropsied and the pathologist declined to say the cause was Ketamine although all signs pointed that way. Another of his cats had a medical issue and the same vet needed to put it under and gave it ... guess what... Ketamine. It also died, was necropsied. The pathology report stated that its heart was enlarged (pointing to HCM), but it was enlarged, not from the disease, but from a "chemical". This cat was a particularly beloved cat and we both shared our vivid, unforgetable memories of having to place these loves in our refrigerators and ice chests as we prepared to go, or were enroute, to a pathology lab.
Like us, he also changed vets and banned the use of Ketamine on his cats... and like us, he experienced an apathetic response from his vet in regards to the deaths.
At the show this breeder sold one of the little kittens he had brought to a very nice looking couple. I heard him tell them that he would have the kitten spayed but that he did not use Ket/Val and did not want it to be used on the kitten in future. He said that he included instructions on anesthesias in the adoptive parents Take-Home kit. How I wish the breeder we used had either known, or advised us that way.
I have to hope that these horrible experiences that some of us have shared though the ignorant and unnecessary loss of life will help someone else, some other beloved Sphynx, and most certainly our own. Never again will what happened to Gimli happen to any of my cats. I can be grateful for that, at least.
So, on this sad anniversary date of my Gimmie's death I dedicate my day to happy memories of this incredible, wonderfully loving and beguiling little Sphynx boy.
From my friend, Jeanette, in South Africa:
Just so you know I have never forgotten you, altho I post very very seldom... I have several photos of Gimli, since you started posting them and he is also stuck in my mind. He was a special special baby and I feel your pain....across the ocean! You stay strong!!!!! and know your angel boy is with God..and in God's hands he is safe and loved, and he will be waiting at the gates of heaven, to welcome his mother home!!! He will never be forgotten as far as South Africa.
Thank you to all who have written and remembered my sadness and loss this day, this month, this year. I am proud to be a member of such a loving community, especially proud to be a part of the Sphynx community. Special cats, special people.