Paws and Effect

It took a lot of consultation between the vet and a very kind pathologist at IDEXX Labs to come to Dahlia’s diagnosis, “atypical large-cell lymphoma.” Considering that she hadn’t been responding to the steroids (which generally help cats with lymphoma) and that her lungs were still filling with fluid, and that the mass was getting larger, the vet didn’t hold out much hope. Honestly, neither did I. Dahlia hadn’t been enjoying life like she used to, she wouldn’t eat unless I helped her, and she always looked uncomfortable.

Dahlia basks in a sun puddle, Tuesday, April 3, 2012

This is the way I'll remember Dahlia: Basking in a sun puddle in our new home before her illness took her so savagely.

I knew I was going to have to do the humane thing and say goodbye to my sweet baby girl. I had planned to take her in today for her final appointment, but I didn’t have the chance.

Last night as I was cleaning Dahlia up in preparation for her passing, she took a dramatic turn for the worse — she was literally gasping for breath as she drowned in her own fluids. I knew what I had to do.

On Thursday, April 12, 2012, around 8 p.m. EST, the emergency clinic vet released Dahlia from her suffering. She passed into spirit wrapped in her favorite purple fleece blanket, held in my arms. It was a peaceful, tranquil and solemn moment.

Thomas and Dahlia: Snuggle buddies forever.

Thomas and Dahlia: Snuggle buddies forever.

I thank you so much for your kindness, generosity, love and prayers during this difficult time. Your support and good wishes have made it possible for me to emotionally and spiritually prepare myself for this.

I’ve closed the ChipIn because you all have contributed everything I need to pay for Dahlia’s previous treatment. As I promised, anything remaining after I pay the bills (I don’t know how much that will be; I’ll have to see the total reckoning in the Care Credit and MasterCard bills) will be donated to Forgotten Felines of Maine, a wonderful all-volunteer rescue group whose work takes them all over eastern Maine.

Dahlia and Siouxsie

Dahlia even won the heart of Siouxsie, the freezer queen. Dahlia (right) is laughing as Siouxsie gives her the stink-eye.

I couldn’t have asked for better and more compassionate care than Dahlia and I received at the Animal Emergency Clinic and from Dr. Sarah Noble and all the wonderful techs and staff at Portland Veterinary Specialists. I’d gladly recommend them to anyone in Maine who needs the kind of care these clinics provide.

Thomas, Dahlia and Siouxsie on my lap

Thomas, Dahlia, and Siouxsie in their favorite lounging positions.

If you feel inspired to make a donation in Dahlia’s honor, I’d love it if you sent one to:

Forgotten Felines of Maine
P.O. Box 264
Gouldsboro, ME 04607

Forgotten Felines, Inc. is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation dedicated to educating the public about free-roaming cats by providing literature and advice on caring for feral, stray, homeless and abandoned cats, assisting in humanely reducing cat overpopulation with TNR, providing access to spay/neuter services, and helping to place adoptable cats in loving homes. They’re an all-volunteer group whose work takes them all over eastern Maine, and they do this amazing work on a shoestring budget — as in, “funded by bake sales” shoestring budget — and they’re more than deserving of your support.

This song by Moby captures the way I feel now, and this video is filled with beautiful images. My heart is breaking, but my soul rejoices in the knowledge that my sweet baby girl is free from pain and suffering.


(In a reader? Watch the video here.)

I leave you with this, the final lines of the Buddhist Heart Sutra: Gaté, gaté, paragaté, parasamgaté, bodhi soha. Roughly translated, the Dalai Lama provides this interpretation: “go, go, go beyond, go thoroughly beyond, and establish yourself in enlightenment.”

That is my fondest wish for my beautiful Dahlia, and I know we’ll meet again someday if it’s meant to be.

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