Earlier this morning, our beloved cat Dizzy passed away. He was the first pet Susanne and I adopted together.
Dizzy had been with us for nearly 13 years. We don’t know exactly how old he was, but he was probably close to 14. Dizzy was a wonderful companion and a dear member of our family. Before Susanne and I had kids of our own, Dizzy and our other cat Winston were like children to us. Our lives revolved around the two of them, and we were forever grateful to have them in our lives.
Winnie passed away almost five years ago. Dizzy remained in excellent health, and in his final years got to know our two children, as well as our dogs Brady and Penny. We also adopted another cat, Cubby, who was Dizzy’s companion until the end.
For a cat his age, Dizzy was in excellent health. Then in mid-October we noticed he was starting to lose weight. We brought him to the vet, and after a number of tests they concluded that he had large-cell feline lymphoma, which is invariably fatal. Without treatment, he would die in a month or two. Even with the most aggressive chemotherapy, he probably would only last a few more months past that.
Rather than putting Dizzy through week after week of vet visits, IVs and sedations, we decided to bring him home and keep him as comfortable as possible. Dizzy’s weight loss leveled off after we switched to another cat food. While he spent much of his time sleeping and was not very active, he was as loving as always, wanting to be in whatever room we were in, patiently waiting for the occasional cat treat. He also became cuddlier than he’d ever been, spending many a night curled up on our chests, or sleeping between our pillows at night. He continued to do that through the very end.
This morning, we found Dizzy, apparently sleeping under one of our chairs. Susanne picked him up and brought him to a bowl of water, but he collapsed like a rag doll, unable to stand up or lift his head. We cradled him as we gathered up the kids and got them dressed. As the first snow of the season came down, we brought him to our local animal hospital. It was over quickly; he died in my arms, staring into Susanne’s eyes.
We’re absolutely heartbroken at our loss, but we know we were blessed to have Dizzy in our lives. We were blessed the day we discovered him at the DC Humane Society, where he had been living for weeks, unable to find a family. We were blessed to have him become best friends with Winnie, who we also brought home from the animal shelter. We were blessed to have him by our side, our constant companion as we went through fertility treatments for several years – and waiting at home for us when we brought our daughter home from the hospital. We were blessed that he was healthy and happy, and lived long enough to get to know our daughter, and later our son. And we were blessed that when the end came, it was fast and relatively painless.
If you would like to join us in honoring Dizzy, please consider making a donation to a no-kill animal shelter near you. The No Kill Network is a good resource to find a local shelter that accepts donations. You can also use that directory if you wish to adopt a pet of your own – though if you truly want to make a difference, you should consider adopting from a shelter where you can save a life directly, either because it’s not a no-kill shelter, or because they rescue pets from high-kill shelters that euthanize pets. If you decide to help out in some way, please let us know in the comments, or feel free to tweet about it using the hashtag #Give4Dizzy.
Farewell and rest in peace, sweet Dizzy – you changed our lives for the better in more ways you could ever know.