Sunday, February 04, 2007

A beautiful day for mourning

Today is the saddest of days, for the heart of a beautiful creature ceased to beat.
barnaby favorite spot
Lord Barnaby Ravenclaw (better known as Barnaby, AKA LBR, AKA Mr. B, AKA Little Man, AKA Pooka) died this morning at 10:20am at the age of four. He died by lethal injection, administered by a kind and gentle doctor at the Iselin Emergency Veterinary Hospital. The decision to end his life was made by me. He died through no fault of his own, but the misfortune of a genetic predisposition to urinary crystals and the further misfortune of being adopted into a family that could not commit to the long-term financial burden of managing his care.

Barnaby was a beautiful grey tabby Persian with amber eyes. I know nothing of his life before we met, only that he was about 3 years old when I met him two summers ago, his strange little owl face peeking out at me from the top of his kennel. He was social and talkative, though quite chaste. He lived for scratches on his head and chin, but would tolerate no touching below the neck. He wasn’t a lap-sitter, but with coaxing he could be encouraged to sit beside you on the couch. On one notable occasion he crawled onto my lap, curled into a warm fuzzy ball, and fell asleep all a-purr, for an hour. He was more alert than most cats I’ve known, watching the other creatures in the house as we went about our days. He was also quite brave: when I first brought him home, he informed me that keeping him separated from the dog was unnecessary, and he promptly marched to the middle of the living room and fell asleep on his back. The dog was significantly more concerned about the change in household events. Later, as the two became acquainted, Barnaby would wait for Sequoia to come in from her morning walks and he would pounce, slapping her on the rear as she ran by. Barnaby also had a particular fondness for the male human in the house, and would follow him around just to stay in his presence. Not a huge fan of grooming, despite the necessity, Barnaby tolerated a great deal from this man he adored.
i look into your soul

Since we moved into the new house, things have been rough for Barnaby. He found the move traumatic and frightening, despite our attempts to reassure him and give him his own small, private space. He seemed to adjust, and we welcomed him into the rest of the house, but his anxiety translated into the development of urinary disorders (In Chinese medicine the urinary meridians correspond with the emotion of fear). At first mild and inconvenient for his owners, over the months things eventually culminated in severe blockages and pain that resulted in many vet visits and procedures – which of course intensified the underlying fear and anxiety. The prognosis was not good. Treatable, yes. Curable, no.

There is no consolation for a person who has to make this decision about another living creature. The image of his crystal amber eyes as that spark went out will forever be burned into my brain.

Barnaby is survived by his heartbroken owners and his canine sibling, who seems much more adept at adjusting to these things.



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