Smokey's final photo
Smokey has been my best buddy for 15 long years. The photo above was taken 3 weeks before she died. She and I have had many grand adventures since she came to me at just 7 weeks of age. I remember she was such a tiny kitten. She had this short tail that I was afraid would never grow to be a long tail. I chose her from a large litter. She was the only kitten to actively seek me out to play. The other kittens kind of hung back. I decided she was perfect.

When I was dating, I used to use her as a geiger counter for my dates. If she did not like a guy, then neither did I. I will remember how she did NOT like my husband when we got married. It took him a solid year to win her over. When I brought home my first Boxer puppy, oh boy was she upset! She was actually stalking the puppy so I had maintain their distance until Crystal had a fighting chance against her kitty counterpart. But it all came together very nicely. Ken adores Smokey and thinks she is the prettiest kitty he has ever seen. All 3 Boxers love their kitty. I have watched Smokey age right along with my oldest Boxer, Crystal, who is 9.5 year old as I type this.

In September of 2002, my otherwise robust kitty had gone downhill and quickly. Over the space of a couple of weeks, she lost quite a bit of weight. In the space of 3 days she was weak and could barely walk. She was losing kidney functions and her eyes were sunked in her head. She was not able to clean herself. She could not control her urination. She would not eat. It was time.

My husband and I agonized over her the weekend of September 14-15. I held her, loved her, tried to hand feed her and even gave her a final bath because she had developed a horrid odor. I called Dr. Stone and explained the symptoms. She agreed, it was time. We made an appointment for September 16th for Smokey's final car ride. Trips to the vet usually meant she went into a cat carrier, which she just hated. This final trip she was able to lay in my lap and be petted the entire ride. We arrived at the vet's office. They were ready for us. I cradled Smokey and carried her to the examination room. The vet shaved her leg and inserted a needle. I kept a hold off her head and stroked her fur. She was so weak, I never knew Smokey had passed until Dr. Stone said there was no heartbeat. It was more peaceful than I could have imagined. My companion of 15 years had left me, as I walked her to the gate of the Rainbow Bridge. This was my final gift to her.

    If It Should Be    

If it should be that I grow weak,
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.

You will be sad, I understand;
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years -
What is to come can hold no fears.
You'd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come, so let me go.

Take me where my needs they'll tend
And please stay with me until the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.

Please do not grieve - it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years -
Don't let your heart hold back its tears.

- Author Unknown

Smokey really enjoys relaxing in the Boxer dog beds
Smokey sleeps with her best buddy, Penny

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