Missing Hershey, Loving Nala

A year ago, I said goodbye to my Hershey boy. It was a strange moment for me, losing him. Part of me had expected that the be the end result of our visit to the pet emergency room ( which I chose only because my friend worked there at the time) which was comforting for me. Part of me was also hopeful that day, that all he would need was some medicine and he would be just fine.

But the poor little guy was not fine. He was old, losing weight due to not being able to eat or keep much food down. He was in much pain and discomfort and so I had to make the hard choice. I asked the vet if doing further blood tests would do him any good. In her gentle way she told myself and my sister no, no it wouldn’t. I didn’t want Hershey to spent a few days scared and alone in the hospital, though well cared for by the compassionate vets and vet techs. Especially since in the end the result would have been the same. I had to say goodbye.

That night when I got home, I threw out his food, litter box and favorite toy. I was dealing with the loss by being practical. I didn’t need these things anymore after all. Might as well get rid of it all. I have kept his bed though. That I washed and placed inside my closet. It is still sitting in there as I write this post.

Those first few nights of falling asleep were hard without him. Hershey had been such a cuddle bug, I held my pillow tight to my body that night and for a few nights afterwards. Coming home with his mewing chastising me for being away was a tough adjustment. I had friends ask me about adopting another pet and I was not sure about doing so just yet.

Until

Until one day while scrolling through Instagram I came across a post asking for someone to take in their cat. At first I scrolled past it, then back again, then past it again. I exited the app and then went back in. Looking at the photo of the cat, I knew she was mine. I messaged her mommy, a mutual acquaintance about taking in the cat. By the end of the week I was meeting Nala and taking her home after an hour or so.

Poor cat had no idea what was happening, meowing the entire drive home, finding various hiding places at the house. I knew to be patient as she adjusted to the change, there were a few hissing incidents during the times I overstepped her boundaries. But, as time went on she became comfortable, allowing me to pet her and even sleeping on the bed with me.

I put out Hershey’s bed for her but she never used it. Perhaps she could smell Hershey’s scent despite all the times it had been washed. She preferred instead the couch in the living room or my bed to sleep. Still I kept the bed, even though it is not being used.

Nala is different from Hershey, more independent at times. She likes her alone time wheras Hershey could not be alone for too long. I wonder though how the two of them would of gotten along, how long it would of taken for them to learn to live with each other companionably. I still miss my Hershey boy but I also love my Nalalulu too.

That is what grieving does. I have lost family members and I remember when our beagle Pumpkin was gone. But she really was not my dog. Pets are an important part of our lives, we care for them and love them and they care for us too. Not only because we feed them either, though that is a big part of it.

It is learning that it is alright to miss the ones we have lost while having new joy and love in our lives. Learning to care through pain. That has been the biggest lesson in this year for me.

 

Meet Nala

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Earlier this year, I lost my Hershey boy. His loss hit me harder than I realized until weeks later. I honestly didn’t think I would get another cat.

Then an acquaintance posted on IG needing to re home her cat. I didn’t hesitate to message about her. I knew Nala would become my girl.

It’s been a few weeks since I brought her home. I’m learning about her personality, how different she is from Hershey. She has found her favorite places to make her own.

It’s nice to come home to sweet meows. To have another presence nearby. The love of a pet is priceless after all.

Saying Goodbye

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I said goodbye to a friend the other day. My dear Hershey boy was an old man at 24 years old. He had not been eating much and had gotten down to a tiny six pounds. And so I made the best decision for him, to let him go. To end his suffering and to prevent any unnecessary poking and prodding.

The first night home was strange. His favorite resting spot was now empty. I found myself petting it a few times during the night. No more will I hear his gentle purring next to me. Or his begging meows for his weekly serving of wet food. No more scolding meows when I would come home and not immediately pet him.

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He was my best friends cat first. The first time I met Hershey he was teasing her blind dog Woofer. His constant companion was another cat named Jake. The two would get into trouble outside. Hershey starting up fights, leaving Jake to finish them.

By the time he came into my care, he was older and more settled. My friend could no longer care for him and I offered to take him home. I had never owned a cat. He was wary of me as he did not know me. But soon we found our way.

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That was about eight years ago. In that time he became my ride or die. It was him who was there for me when sick late at night. He gave me cuddles when it hurt just a bit too much to be alone. Having him in my life was an assurance of love. In turn he showed me what it was to love.

Right now, I feel alright. I do not think it has fully hit me that he is gone. Sunday after I got home from church was when he got his wet food. Maybe it will hit me then. My only regret was not wiping away the gunk from his eyes one last time. I did kiss him and stroke his one ear just so. Quickly the anesthetic was injected, and he lay down. Then he was gone, free from pain.

I am not sure about adopting another. It will not be for at least a few months at least. If I do it will definitely be from the local shelter.

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