Monday, March 14, 2011

The Little Georgia Peach

  I didn't go to bed last night or wake up knowing what I would be writing about today.

  There were plenty of hints along the way that would eventually culminate into this scenario, but we were looking at the wrong source of those hints, until now.  It crushes my heart to know what was happening now, feeling like I could have done something...even though we've been told there wasn't anything that could have been done.

  Today, I lost a little, yet truly significant, piece of my family.  Roxie, our little orange tabby, was relieved of her deteriorating condition with my mom and grandma by her side.

  The pain is excruciating to let her go, but I would endure this pain again and again to ensure she never had to go through what she has.  Her fluxuating weight (which was too little for her already petite frame) was a sign of Kidney Failure I had no reference for... we'd thought all along that if any of our pets had limited time, it would have been Lacey, our elderly spaniel.  But Lacey is doing better than she has in a long of the last things Roxie did before they took her to the vet, was curl up next to Lacey on their big, fluffy pillow and lay like that for several hours.

  Roxie was 5-years-old when I first saw her.

 Before I met her, she'd belonged to a military family who had declawed her and decided to leave her with a friend of theirs when they received another assignment, never intending to retrieve their little cat.  This friend already had two or three cats of her own, so after several months of wavering correspondence, she felt she couldn't continue to support so many cats.  The woman surrendered the little orange tabby to the local animal shelter in Valdosta, GA.

  On the same day, sometime in late November 2003, the ex and I walked into the only animal shelter we could find in that small (literal and figurative) southern town.  We had decided to get a cat because it would be a companion for me while he deployed to Iraq for several months.  He intended on finding a "tuxedo cat" and wanted it to be a kitten.  Even at the time I thought this was a rather lofty and arrogant way of approaching a pet rescue.  I was reluctant to his way of thinking because I knew that the mature animals often get overlooked...and I didn't like the possibility of Any of these animals being overlooked and then punished for it.

  I remember walking into the tiled, fluorescent lit room that held all of the cat crates and kennels.  There were a couple of kittens but they didn't at all match the "tuxedo" look he was wanting.  Most of them were a few years old, and seemed friendlly enough.  I asked the supervisor if there were more and she hesitated, saying that they had a separate area for the Newbies while they were examined in quarantine by a vet, before they were integrated with the other cats.  They were trying to prevent any infections, but were confident that the newbie they had today was in good health. 

  I rounded the corner into the adjoining room and saw the prettiest little orange tabby perched as politely as could be next to her kennel door.  She made a little chirping noise in acknowledgement and nuzzled the door bars with a quiet insistance.  I figure that most animals are particularly happy to gain some affection when they are in those circumstances, yet something caught hold of me about this cat and I wasn't going to walk away.

  The ex wasn't thrilled or even enthusiastic about my choice since I hadn't picked anything he would have, and at the time, that really upset me.  But I'd made my choice clear and had asked so many questions of the supervisor regarding this kitty, that there was no way anyone would turn me away.

  I was told to come back to finalize the adoption in a week or so, so they could be thorough in her health exams.  By that time, he would be on his way to the desert and I could spend some bonding time with her when I wasn't working.

  I adopted Roxie on December 3rd, 2003.  Over the next few months, I would get to know her as my Insistant Snuggler.  Unlike the cats I'd had back home in California (no offense to them because I will always love them too!) this kitty showed affection all the time.  The petite little peach named Roxie was all about some purrin' and nuzzlin' and always slept on my back.  During the night, she wouldn't even budge form her perch on or around me, save for me moving around in my sleep. 

  A few months after I'd adopted her, the ex and I split up and I was forced to move back home to California.  My mom flew out to help mend my broken heart with a nice long road trip, peppered with a stop at every Cracker Barrel restaurant we came across, and Patricia Cornwell and Janet Evanovich audio books to entertain us and drone out the wailings of poor Roxie in the back seat of my Malibu.

  In all of my heartbreak at the time, I still held onto the positive of having found such an awesome cat.  Of all the random places to be and to be influenced to make the decisions I did based on the events in my life, I think it's proof of some kind of .... order?  I have no idea...I just know that Roxie was meant to be in my life for the time she was (though I would give anything for more time with her) and I was meant to be in hers.

  I feel blessed for the eight, great years I had with her and I'm glad we found an even better home with the man I love and the other 'kids' we've brought into our home.  I hope she was happy in life, and I hope she's even happier where she is now...wherever that may be.

  Roxie, I've loved from the moment I met you, and I always will.  I will always smile at the memory of your endless love and affection for Les and I, and the playful warmth you always showed every other animal around you.  I miss you, my little Georgia peach.

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