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Friday, August 14, 2009
Well, yesterday was a bummer. Our twelve-year-old cat, Archie, had to be put down. He had, it seemed, developed a tumor on his layrnx, which led to slightly louder snoring and a little bit of whuffling over the last few months (not really noticeable), and then yesterday a sudden inability to breathe. He sounded like he'd swallowed a kazoo--every breath was an effort. The tumor had reached sufficient size that it flopped over and practically closed his trachea off, and the pressure made a vibration which came out like a musical wheeze or honk.
We contemplated driving him down to Anchorage for surgery, but after the vet here consulted with a surgeon down there (no one in Fairbanks is qualified to do this type of operation, evidently), it was pretty clear he was a goner. So we took him back home, and a kind veternarian from Mt. McKinley Animal Hospital stopped by on his way home from work and gave Archie a lethal injection.
Then we made him a casket and buried him with some catnip in the garden. It seemed the right thing to do. Simply burying him in the ground wasn't right. It would have messed up his fur. Hans went and got a bunch of big stones and made a ring around the grave, and we will fill it with good garden soil next year and plant catnip. Archie was an intelligent, friendly cat, and a companion, and it makes me cry to think about all this.
A while ago, I put the photo above onto Wikimedia, into the public domain. I also used this photo to create an illustration of his eyes. The photo is one of two that I have of him. I painted a portrait of him that sold to the Aurora Animal Clinic, I think, many years ago when he was only a couple of years old. So he'll be around.
"I meant," said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?"
Death thought about it.
"Cats," he said eventually. "Cats are nice."
--Terry Pratchett, Sourcery