Monday, August 29, 2011

For my kitty, Tootsie....

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

One day when I was 5 years old, I came home from kindergarten class to find my mother extremely excited to show me a surprise. Could it be a toy? Could it be candy? No, it was much better than any toy or piece of candy I ever had or would ever have in the future. On that wonderful, magical day, I received my best friend and biggest love of my life: my kitty, Tootsie.

Over the next 18 years, Tootsie became one of the only constants in my life. She was there when I lost my first tooth, and watched me hide it under my pillow in hopes that the tooth fairy would visit. She was there to comfort me when my so-called friends didn’t invite me to a birthday party. She was there for me to share my joy and excitement after receiving my acceptance to college. She was there during my first true heartbreak, reminding me that despite what I felt then, I am loved, and always will be loved.

It is because of her constant love and support for me over those wonderful 18 years, that I felt compelled to show her the same love and compassion in the end. There comes a time in every relationship between owner and pet where you have to ask yourself, “Am I making her suffer because I’m selfish?” It was probably the hardest question I ever had to ask myself, and more significantly, the hardest and most difficult answer I ever determined. Ultimately, I needed to be there for my kitty like she was there for me my whole life.

It has been over a month since Tootsie passed, and there hasn’t been a day where she has not peaked into my mind. Just this morning , I was looking through my clothes to find something to wear, and I came across a black shirt with a bit of her fur attached. Never has a moment been so bittersweet. She may not be sitting at the bottom of my bed anymore, but Tootsie is forever sitting in my heart and memories.
When I think of Tootsie, I see a little ball of fur, cuddled so tightly in peace on a blanket. When I think of Tootsie, I feel fluffy, soft fur against my face as I take a nap on my bed. When I think of Tootsie, I hear a light purr reminding me how easily I can love something so small, and feel that same amount of love in return. When I think of Tootsie, I smell home.

It is because of these memories that Tootsie remains alive as a testament to the power of a pet’s love. While writing this has helped me in the process of coping, I also hope that this article forces those of you with pets to truly appreciate the little bundles of love in your lives. For those of you who experienced such loss already, may my memories of Tootsie also awaken your fond memories of your loved ones. May their little paws forever be imprinted on our hearts…

I love you, Tootsie. Forever and always.