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Friday
Nov252005

Where do animals (especially pets) go when they die?

Many, many years ago, I read a book by Stephen King called Pet Semetary. By standards, it's not a scary book but it scared me to bits. I read it again years later and it was still scary. However, this is NOT what this post is about.

I just read my friend, Jon's post. Then I thought about all the pets I had before that had died. I don't believe there's heaven for pets. I think they just die.

Every time a pet of mine dies, I cry like mad. There was once when Henrietta, my favourite hamster died, I held her stiff body and bawled my eyes out. I had just come back from classes and I did my usual; looked in on the hamsters. Henrietta was my favourite. She loved to play and was probably the tamest hamster I ever had. When I open the cage, she would walk onto my palm and we will have bonding sessions. 

So there I was, sitting on the floor with a dead hamster in my palm (I think I bathed the body in tears). After I had done a whole round of crying, I got up, got an empty shoe box, lined it with tissues, placed Henrietta in it and walked out of the house. In an anxious tone, Andrew asked, "Where are you going?" Maybe he thought I was unable to deal with the death.

I was too choked up to answer. I walk down the road to the bridge, said goodbye and set Henrietta off to a Boromir funeral (on the water) That's what I usually do with my pet hamsters. Till today, I still miss her. I have had dozens of hamsters before and after her but her death affected me most.

Ang and I were talking about dogs/pets in general the other day. He said something so true. They become part of you, part of the family. I had a cat named Pepper years ago. I had her before I got married and when I did, she came to live with Andrew and I. 

She was a mischievous little one. Well, not so little. She was quite fat. Andrew's nickname for her was Fat and she would respond to that too. She loved me so much. She used to leave her prize catch for me in my bedroom slippers - bits of lizard, a rat's tail. There was once a bit of an iguana too. I do understand it's her way of displaying her affection for me but I think I can do without them. I used to enjoy watching her play her 1-cat-tennis with unfortunate lizards. She would whack the lizard with a paw and dash across the room to whack it back again. This would go on even long after the lizard died. Ok, I know, seems cruel but hey, lizards are no friend of mine.

When David was born, we had to keep her out of the bedroom. We were afraid she might hurt baby out of jealousy. She got so upset about being ousted out of the room, she ran away. Mum called me later that evening, "Hey, your cat came back here!" She went back to the place of her youth, perhaps, in her  little cat-ish way thought she can turn back time when baby was not around and she was centre of attention. Poor darling. I had her about 4 years and when David was about 2, she died. She was hit by a car. I cried heaps too.

I believe pets bring a certain quality of life into the household. It creates a bonding for the whole family. We have always had pets. Andrew always had at least a fish in the house. We had cats, Pepper and there was Ginger. Ginger walked into the studio one night. She was a tiny kitten then. My dance studio is on the 1st floor. We have had strays coming up and do a walkabout every once in a while. There was one cat who came very often. It would sit by the door of the studio and watch class........mmmmm a dancing cat wannabe. Perhaps it wanted to audition for a part in Cats Musical but since it's no longer on Broadway or West End, it probably thought of another profession.

Ginger - she came up and refused to leave. So I asked if any of the girls wanted a pet. Of course they did but when their parents came, one by one came and told me Mummy said no. So there I was, about the close up and this little kitten looked adoringly at me, so I took her home.

Of course my children were elated but Andrew was livid. "NO!" That was his answer. So what do I do now? Then Andrew said, "Leave it on the porch. It will go away. But if it's still there tomorrow, then we'll keep it" Guess what :p

The kids had lots of fun with Ginger. She was the most patient and considerate of all cats that I have known. She likes to have her meals on the porch. And she ate a lot, or so we thought. I wondered how come her food goes so fast. Then, one day I decided to spy on her. When she was given her food, she would not eat it. She would just sit a little distance away. Then, a few of the neighbourhood strays will stroll in and eat her food! SHE HAD BEEN FEEDING HER FRIENDS! Maybe she remembered her beginnings.

It was David's responsibility to bathe her. Once there was yelling from him. "Mummy! Ginger ran up the tree!" So I came out of the house, saw David and Alison trying to coax a very wet and soapy Ginger who was sitting coyly on a branch. She had 2 litters but none lived. She died giving birth at her 2nd litter. Whenever she was sick, she would leave the house for several days and come back when she was well. She did the same thing when she gave birth too. At the 1st litter, she gave birth elsewhere and when it was all done, she carried the babies back home. She did the same thing at the 2nd litter, except she had complications and since we weren't there to help, she died. That was another round of crying.

Andrew used to say I should not have pets because when they die, I get so upset. It was specially bad when we had hamsters because their lifespan was so short. Even though I do get terribly upset when pets die, I don't think it will stop me, ever.


 

Reader Comments (1)

i dun remember anything bout Ginger running up the tree but wat i do remember was that the one of the kittens of the 1st litter was killed by the infamous 'rotiman',i always shudder when i remember that,coz i was there to watch it take place,i was playing with the kitten and it ran out of the gate then the 'rotiman' came on his motorcycle and just flattened her...till this day,i never buy anything anymore from the 'rotiman',i 'boikot' all of them...i still think though,there are sum paradise for pets coz humans can go to Heaven so i guess pets have their own version of Heaven?
November 25, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteralison

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