Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Farewell to Allegro

We got Allegro when Elisabeth, now 22, was just a baby (that's the three of us at bedtime many years ago). They grew up together, and Allegro's had a long, happy life -- until about two years ago. Two Thanksgivings ago, we came very close to putting her down because she was literally "attacking" herself -- chewing herself until she bled. She seemed miserable then and, not wanting her to suffer, I advocated putting her down. Not everyone agreed with me, and Tom most vehemently disagreed.

Both of us were coming from a place of compassion, but from completely different angles. That was TWO years ago, and it has been an on-going debate -- especially as Allegro became weaker, less able to take care of herself, and more bizarre (she developed a yowl that could be heard -- and feared -- for miles). In the past few months, I could hardly watch it as she staggered haltingly across the room, had trouble standing up straight, obviously couldn't see well, and acted completely feeble. But still, my attempts to allow her to be put out of her misery were met with (equally compassionate) attempts to allow her to live. In a debate like that, life has to win. It just must. And it did.

Until today. This morning, Allegro could barely come out her bed (I took this picture as I watched her, apologizing to her...) and I simply couldn't stand it anymore. How cruel must we continue to be to her? She couldn't sip water, she couldn't eat, and when she tried to pee (barely able to crawl into her box), she wobbled until she did a face-plant in the sand. I woke Tom up and absolutely insisted that that he watch her as she struggled to just do the basic things of life -- eating, drinking, peeing. I can't bear to do this to her anymore. How cruel can we be to force her to live a "life" like this?

Truly, in some ways, this has been harder than watching my own mother die. My mother wasn't in the agony that I believe Allegro is in. My mother didn't suffer for years. I just can't watch this anymore; we can't do this to Allegro anymore. It's wrong.

I don't know if it was watching Allegro or watching me finally lose it, but Tom has agreed that it's time. So we called Elisabeth and today at 5:20, she and I will bring Allegro to the vet and say farewell.

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Anonymous said...

I have had animals (both cats and dogs) all my life and have had to go through this ten times so far. It never gets any easier, especially if it is a young animal, but it is part of the responsibilities of a caring pet owner. Once again, we will have to face this decision soon. Our oldest cat is getting stiffer and slower, has trouble jumping on and off things. I will be watching him closely and, once again, will not hesitate to have him put down when the time comes. It is the KIND thing to do. It's always agony to come to that decision, though.

Dixie said...

Farewell to your loyal friend. It's one of the worst parts of having a pet - saying goodbye.

Betsy said...

Oh Carol, I'm so sorry! This post brought tears to my eyes! You've had that cat for so long, it must have been very hard to say goodbye!


jen said...

so so sorry. I had to put my best friend and loyal, loyal girl down this year. Losing Cleo has been in many ways, harder than any other death I've dealt with. My heart is with you.

Pamela said...

Hi Carol, one good blog visit deserves another. This post simultaneously broke my heart and made me smile! 22 years, I've never heard of a kitty that's been on this earth that long, Allegro was some vibrant cat!

My animals are my children, since I never had any human ones. Perhaps I anthropomorphize them, but I believe otherwise--they carry their own spiritual weight with extraordinary dignity. It's a tough day, this saying goodbye to our animal buddies.

I will e-mail you to chat about Ruhpolding, and good luck on the job hunt!

Pamela said...

Carol, don't know why blogger is calling me anonymous when I clearly logged in as "Pamela," but thought I'd let you know that it's me, from over at the Paper Garden.

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