I hate writing this.
As the 13-year-old said Saturday when we got the news, “It’s just too soon.” Indeed it was.
Ted came into our home in January. A bit unexpected since we’d really gone to the adoption site to “just look.” After all, Mom was out of the country at the time. But after losing Sam in November, there was an empty spot in our house.
Ted was more than large enough to fill it.
The beginning was rough and we didn’t know for certain if we’d made the right choice. It was a challenge teaching Ted that the living room carpet wasn’t the grass where he was supposed to go. We didn’t know much about his history other than he had been rescued from abuse and/or neglect and that he’d been living in foster care on a farm.
But the adjustments came and even that cat came to love Ted. We learned to recognized Ted’s “I need to poop” signal was a gentle nudging of the arm, not a bark at the door like Sam.
In fact, Ted never barked. Except when he was dreaming.
The encouraging part about this is that Luke accepted his role as Ted’s caretaker. He rarely balked at having to take him out, or take him for a walk. And when the accidents did happen inside, he took responsibility for the clean up without complaining (much).
Ted started losing weight a few weeks back. We initially thought that it was just that he didn’t like his dog food. So we switched brands and type and he started eating again. We thought he’d be back to normal in no time.
But last week, he started having breathing trouble. We took him to the vet on Friday and found his lungs were full of fluid. We got him on an antibiotic and something to help him breathe.
Then, on Saturday, the test results came. Ted had cancer that had metastasized to his lungs.
The vet called back Monday to check. I asked her how long. She said “weeks, maybe a month.”
In fact it turned out to be 72 hours. Once we knew, Ted went down very quickly.
Night before last he got out and we found him lying in a puddle of water at the end of the neighbor’s driveway. I think the cool of the water helped him breathe. From that point on, he couldn’t keep his food down.
That evolved into someone sitting up with him all night. When I saw him this morning, I could see the pain on his face. I went to a morning meeting and when I got to the office my older son called and said, “you need to come home.”
Ted was able to walk with us to the Jeep. And in one final romp managed to eat a mouse before we got him in the vehicle.
At the vet we took care of the arrangements and said our goodbyes.
I don’t know if I believe in the “Rainbow Bridge” (it’s a nice, comforting sentiment), but I like to imagine this scenario when Ted walks into Heaven.
Sam, “I smell my family.”
Ted, “They’re good people. I loved them very much.”