Welcome to Blackie's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Blackie
Blackie was my first feral rescue-I was feeding him for at least 2 years outside before I gained his trust enough to take him in. He had a heated cathouse behind our garage to shelter him during the harsh winters. He was rescued into our home in March 2010, over two years after I first started feeding him. Once he realized he was safe with us, he turned into a very loving, laid back boy. Even with all the rescued kitties I have, there is an empty place in my heart for Blackie. I miss him terribly. My heart hurts. I am so sorry. I saved you from a life on the streets but couldn't save you from this...

Blackie was diagnosed with intestinal/colon adenocarcinoma in October. The only sign was weight loss. After bloodwork, and repeated ultrasounds, we had the diagnosis. Blackie also had cancer spread to lymph nodes and his kidneys. My husband and I considered surgery (which would've been a bowel resection) and chemo, which would mean traveling to Boston, frequent veterinary checkups, bloodwork, etc. Blackie hated car rides. It would also cost thousands of dollars and no guarantee that the outcome would've been any different. I didn't want to put Blackie through all that stress if it wouldn't change the outcome. We decided to treat palliatively at home with prednisone, Life Gold supplement and Maitake liquid (from the Maitake mushroom, known for it's anti-cancer and immune boosting properties). For awhile, he seemed to be getting better-was eating and interactive. But over the last week, I noticed a decline-he had days where he wouldn't eat at all, was hiding under our bed and under furniture more and more. He still had good days, which made the decision to put him to rest so hard. But I also knew that it was just a matter of time before the cancer took its toll and he would start feeling worse and worse, his bad days would outweight the good ones. I was trying to save him from suffering. I still second guess myself. Maybe he wasn't ready-maybe I could've waited a bit longer. Part of me feels like I betrayed him. Then part of me feels like he was declining and keeping him here was more for me than for him. I wish i had known sooner how sick he really was-I regret not having more time with him. I hate that I had to make that awful decision-I feel like I killed my baby. But I also know I saved him from a hard life on the streets and I do find comfort in knowing that he knew love and warmth in his life. I'm just so sad and I don't think I'll ever get over this. I love you, my beautiful boy.

November 9, 2015
I can't believe it's been almost a year. I think about you every day and know that you're watching over me as I continue my rescue work. I miss you my friend but I will see you on the other side.

November 26, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving handsome boy-I miss you every day.

December 2, 2015
I can't believe it's been a year. I miss you every day and my heart still hurts. I love you handsome boy.

May 28, 2016

Today we said goodbye to your beloved sister, Socks. She was my first rescue. I feel like I've lost my daughter-I am absolutely heartbroken. Socks was found abandoned as a kitten in my apartment building. She was meowing pitifully in the stairwell; there were doors at each stairwell (I lived on the 3rd floor) so I believe Socks may have been placed there in hopes someone would find her. Socks loved playing with plastic trash bags and shopping bags and adored playing with my rolled up socks. Because of her fondness of playing with socks and her markings (tiger with white paws), we named her Socks. We had her for 15 blessed years. Socks was a moody girl but she adored us and absolutely loved her daddy (Jim). Socks suffered from chronic pancreatitis and had occasional acute flare-ups. In the last 2 years, she had been admitted to kitty ICU for intensive treatment of cholecystitis and cholangiohepatitis (IV fluids, medications, etc). An ultrasound revealed she also had gallstones. Each time she had an acute flareup, she never really bounced back 100%; she suffered weight loss and chronic digestive issues. With another acute flareup of cholecystitis and cholangiohepatitis as well as liver and kidney failure, we decided to end her suffering. We treated initially at home with supportive care (subQ fluids, etc) but she was miserable. It is so hard to say goodbye. I love you, beautiful girl. I just hope and pray that you know how loved you were and will always be. I'm sorry I couldn't give you a better life. Be free, my sweet beloved Socks. I love you to the moon and back.

December 2, 2016

It's been 2 years and my heart still hurts. I think about you and miss you every day. I still wonder if I did the right thing. I'm so sorry you got sick and we had to make that awful decision that every pet guardian dreads-i can only hope and pray I made the right decision to give you peace and to save you from further suffering. I love you handsome-I'll see you on the other side. Give my love to Socks-you both will live forever in my heart.

July 20, 2017

Today we said goodbye to your brother, Smokey. He was the most loving, affectionate, gentle cat we have ever had. We rescued him as a stray around 10 years ago. He presented much the same way you did with weight loss, diarrhea, lethargy. He was initially diagnosed with pancreatitis but wasn't responding to treatment. An ultrasound last month showed a large mass on his pancreas. We brought Smokey home, treated him for pancreatitis and started him on Mirtazapine and Prednisolone to help appetite and inflammation. He was doing so well on the meds up until just a few days ago-he started having bathroom issues (straining to go to the bathroom, ribbon-like stool and prolapsed parts)-an exam revealed masses (likely cancer) throughout the lining of his colon (vet said it was all through his colon). As devastated as I was (and am!), after all his years of devoted and trusted companionship and love, the least I could do is give him a peaceful and dignified exit. I really hope there is a place in heaven for all of you (and for me). I just hope you are all in a better place, greeting each other-and I hope you greet me when my time comes. Take care of each other and watch over momma while she continues her rescue work-I miss and love you all so much.

August 12, 2017

I am going through all my vet records. I miss you all so much and think about you every day. You took a piece of my heart when you went away. I love you all so much. Take care of each other...

August 20, 2017

Yesterday, your "Dad" and I spent the day in Boston-it was a fun day meeting the cast of The Walking Dead. When we got home, I did my usual rounds and sat in our bedroom for a bit posting pictures on Facebook of our day. I noticed Daddy's phone charger on the floor; when I went to pick it up, I noticed Minnie laying under the bed. I knew immediately something was wrong. I reached out and petted her-she didn't move. Her body lay lifeless. I immediately picked her up, sobbing. She was just playful and full of life yesterday and was acting normally earlier that same day-how could this happen? What if I found her sooner? What if I could've helped her? My poor baby beautiful girl-I'm so sorry. I just pray you didn't suffer and you weren't afraid. You were only around 7-so young. I wish I knew what happpened but I can only assume it was likely a sudden cardiac event. I could've paid for an autopsy but there's no guarantee it would have brought answers or closure. We just lost your brother Smokey a month ago-I'm beyond heartbroken.

August 21, 2017

Dear sweet Minnie. I can't stop thinking about you-I miss you terribly and I didn't have a chance to say goodbye. It was hard saying goodbye to Blackie, Socks and Smokey but at least we had time to say goodbye. You're just gone-and I miss you. I miss your little jellybean toes and the way you perked your mouth when you were happy and made muffins. I'm so sad you were alone-I pray you didn't suffer-I hate not knowing what happened to you. I hate that you're gone and I didn't have a chance to say goodbye. I pray you know how loved you were and still are...I pray that Smokey, Socks and Blackie were there to greet you. I pray you weren't afraid. I'm just so sad.

July 18, 2018

This never gets any easier. Oh Mittens-it's funny how a little (and sometimes crabby) kitty can take up so much space in my heart. I love you so much. I would do anything for you. You started having seizures almost 2 years ago. We brought you to a feline specialist/neurologist and the seizures were well controlled on medications (Phenobarbital). Over the last few years, you've had your fair share of ailments-seizures, arthritis, chronic kidney disease. The last few months have been so hard. Mittens started drooling, stopped eating and stopped grooming. He lost weight. Bloodwork showed some impaired kidney function, but it was actually IMPROVED from what it had been 6 months prior. We started Mitty on Clavamox (antibiotics), gave him a dose of Cerenia (for nausea) and supported him with SQ fluids. Its been a roller coaster of emotions the last few months...some good days, some bad days. He seemed improved when on antibiotics, but would stop eating as soon as he was off meds. We contemplated doing a dental, but 2 different vets confirmed that Mittens teeth and gums didn't look bad. It was possible that he could have oral cancer and a dental wouldn't change anything. Over the last few weeks, Mittens was eating less and less. It was apparent that his mouth hurt (he no longer ate his favorite treats-he would respond to treats, but as soon as he tried to eat one, he would drop it out of his mouth as if in pain), that he suffered from chronic nausea (he drooled more and more) and I discovered a growth on his mouth/lip. Even if it wasn't cancer and we could fix his oral pain, there was still his arthritis, seizures and renal failure that weren't going to get any better. I wish I could've done more-I would've done anything had I thought it would make you better and give you more time. But I could see your quality of life was diminishing. I tell so many people-sometimes the best gift we can give our faithful companions is a peaceful and dignified exit. This is so hard-my heart breaks and I miss you so much. You went so peacefully, at home, in your favorite bed with soft music playing and surrounded by love. I pray that Socks, Blackie, Smokey and Minnie greeted you on the other side. I pray there are endless grassy fields for you to play in (you always loved your walks). I miss and love you with all my heart...until we meet again.

June 3, 2019

Thank you for choosing me to be your person-you were rescued as a stray, and you were absolutely petrified at the shelter. You were moved to Petsmart in hopes it would be less stressful for you and you would come out of your shell. Even while there, you hid constantly, trying to make yourself as small as possible in this big scary world. So the shelter called me-would I be able to foster and work with a painfully shy, but very sweet, handsome boy named Martin. That was four years ago. It took months, but Martin (or Marty as I affectionately call him) came around and learned to be part of a family. He became confident and the most loving, sweetest cat. He would meow and paw at me for attention. He loved to sit on the window perch and watch the birds. A few months ago, Martin became very sick-he was anemic and it was discovered he had a bleeding mass in his abdomen. We decided to take him home and treat him palliatively. He was eating, cuddling, purring and doing well on prednisolone. Sadly, he started to decline a week ago as we were leaving for Arizona. He was still eating, but not as much. He did ok for the week-was eating treats and purring. We got home Saturday. He has not eaten since we got home. I've given him sq fluids and he stopped using litterbox, stopped grooming and stopped eating. I think he's telling me it's time. I think he waited for us to come home. I'm devastated. Martin, thank you for letting us say goodbye. I'm so sorry you got so sick so quick. I pray you know how loved you are. Rest easy, my furry beloved friend-until we meet again.

October 2, 2019
My beloved, sweet, gentle, playful Shaggy. You came into our lives around 12 years ago. You and your brother Mittens lived next door to us-sadly, you were both left outside 24/7, regardless of weather. We lived in an apartment at the time and we had a stairwell leading to our apartment and a 3 season porch. On rainy and cold days, we left our door and stairwell open and left food and water on our 3 season porch for you. When the next door neighbors moved away, they left you behind and the rest is history. We took you and Mittens into our home. You were always such a gentle, happy boy. Last July, we brought you to the vet to be evaluated for weight loss. Bloodwork was normal but an ultrasound showed thickening of your colon and a mass in your abdomen. Although you had weight loss and occasional bowel issues, you weren't acting sick or in pain. We decided to bring you home for palliative and hospice care. We started you on a high protein diet, digestive enzymes to help you process and absorb nutrition and started you on prednisolone to help with inflammation. I am so grateful for the time we had. Even after a diagnosis of likely lymphoma/cancer, we had over a year together-over a year of playfulness and cuddles. I miss your cuddles, your purrs and even you playfully going after the strings on my scrub pants whenever I was getting dressed. Over the last week, you became so sick so quickly. You stopped eating. A X-ray showed the mass in your abdomen was possibly obstructing your colon, but they also couldn't completely rule out constipation as being the culprit (an issue we had battled in the past). I wanted to do everything I could for you but I didn't want to cause any more pain. I brought you home for lots of love and supportive care. I gave you subq fluids daily and tried everything to get you to eat. After a few days, it was clear you weren't going to get better. I knew it was time. It's such a hard decision to make-I didn't want to cut your life short and I wanted to do everything I could for you but I also desperately didn't want you to suffer. This was a decision that every pet parent dreads but it is a decision made out of love. I have a hole in my heart and I miss you so much already but I firmly believe that one of the greatest gifts we can give our loving pets after years of companionship is a peaceful and dignified exit. Shaggy transitioned at home, peacefully and surrounded by love. I miss him so much but I know he's at peace. My comfort is envisioning he and my beloved Mittens, Martin, Smokey, Minnie, Blackie and Socks scampering and playing in endless fields. Until we meet again my friends 💔

April 22, 2020
This never gets any easier. Oh my Blazey Boy-I trapped you and your siblings as kittens. You were born outside to a feral momma cat. Once trapped, you all went to foster but never really socialized. Sadly, because you remained semi-feral, your options were limited. I couldn't bear the thought of you being released where you were trapped or going to a barn, but sadly you weren't adoptable because you were never properly socialized. So you and your littermates came to live with me and the rest is history. That was just 3 years ago. Three short years...you deserved so much more. You loved to play-the little catnip rattling mice were your favorite. That and feather toys. If you had one in your mouth, you would growl if anyone got too close. You played right to the end. Sadly, it wasn't until you became very sick that I was finally able to pet you and handle you. You would even purr for me. You became so sick so quickly-a checkup at the vet revealed anemia and FeLV. I tried everything to try to help you through this crisis, from syringe feedings, subq fluids, antibiotics, steroids, iron supplements, even t-cyte therapy. Initially, it seemed you were getting better. You would eat bites here and there. Eventually tho, you stopped eating and lost so much weight-it wasn't fair to keep putting you through so much. I am so sorry for everything you went through. I am so sorry we didn't have more time. I am heartbroken and I pray you know how loved you were and still are.

June 20, 2020
This, by far, is the hardest decision a pet parent will ever have to make. As much as my heart is breaking, I am so grateful to be with my boy when he crosses. VECM is wonderful-and Shadow is checking out the new digs like he owns the place. I'm beyond grateful that he is not showing the least bit of stress or anxiety (I'm sure the gabapentin helped!). I am going to miss this boy so much 💔😭. Until we meet again my beloved friend 🌈🐾

November 12, 2020
Kittys story ❤️. Long post...
Kittys story started on a cool April night in 2003. I was pumping gas at a Cumberland farms in Hillsborough and heard a kitten wailing. I followed the sound of the wailing and searched everywhere. Across the street, at an abandoned warehouse, I found a tiny little kitten. She was crying and shivering-and could fit in the palm of my hand. I searched everywhere for her momma and littermates but no sign of momma or other kittens. From the beginning, I knew Kitty was a very special girl. When she was just a few years old, she was diagnosed with a grade IV heart murmur; after an ultrasound, it was determined she had a congenital heart defect. My sweet Kitty had a very big heart, literally and figuratively ❤️. With her heart condition, I knew kitty was at risk of developing heart failure, arrhythmias and blood clots, including a saddle thrombus. Through the years, kitty had repeat echos and even had a feline cardiologist consult. As she got older, she developed hyperthyroidism, ear polyps and kidney disease. Sadly, she eventually lost her hearing. Over the last few years, Kitty became hospice as we treated her palliatively for her advancing kidney disease. We tried prescription diets, water fountains to encourage water intake, subq fluids as needed, phosphorus binder, a beta blocker for her heart, thyroid meds, supplements including vitamin B12 and Slippery Elm powder (to help with GI and mouth ulcers) as well as Miralax and Cerenia as needed. Kitty had a check up a few months ago-although she had lost a lot of weight and developed back leg weakness related to spinal stenosis and kidney disease, she was alert, eating, playful, interactive and vet said she looked great. Over the last week, Kittys health declined dramatically. She lost so much weight, she became more vocal and restless. I continued supportive care; she would appear ok one day, then not eating etc the next. It's so hard to know what to do or when it's time with a chronically and terminally ill pet. Even if I brought her back to the vet this past week, and put her through bloodwork etc, it wouldn't have necessarily changed anything-I was doing all the supportive care at home (fluids, meds for nausea, etc). My sweet Kitty was almost 18-she lived well beyond what anyone ever expected. I didn't think it would be fair to put her through more tests etc if it wasn't going to benefit or help her. I made an appointment with Ark to say goodbye to my sweet girl on Friday (tomorrow), when I had a day off and they could come to our house. Over the last few days, kitty stopped eating altogether, became very dehydrated despite subq fluids, and very vocal and restless. She developed subcutaneous emphysema and began to have a strong odor. The treatments that helped her over the last few years stopped working. I believe she was in end-stage kidney failure and was uremic. When I got home from work last night, I tried to get her to eat-I tried kitten food, broths, treats and baby food. I tried to get meds and some food into her by syringe feeding her. She was just done. I stayed up all night with her-we cuddled, went for a walk outside and sat in the yard for awhile. I knew it was time and I knew she couldn't wait another day. We took the dreaded trip to VECM. She curled up on my passenger seat on her purple fuzzy blanket-she seemed content and at peace. We sat in the same room as I did with my beloved Shadow. I held her in my lap-she transitioned so peacefully-I saw the moment in her eyes when she left this world and I heard her last breath. Almost 18 years of cuddles, head bonks, playing with laser lights, Kitty Hoots cat toys, sleeping with me every night...my sweet Kitty is such a special girl. I know it was time-her little body was so tired. I just miss her so much and my heart is so broken 💔

August 18, 2021
My sweet, loveable Percy, my constant companion. This never gets any easier.
It doesn't matter how many I have or how many I've lost-every one I lose is like losing a best friend. I love them so much. My heart is breaking. My sweet Percy. My sweet, affectionate boy and constant companion. Until we meet again my beloved friend 🌈

August 23, 2021
Our sweet, affectionate Simon. He was rescued as a stray in 2012. He is the most affectionate, sweetest boy who loves to play and give kisses. A few years ago he was diagnosed with stomatitis and last year, he started having problems with his breathing (congested, loud breathing and coughing) as well syncopal episodes (fainting spells) and dilated, non-reactive pupils. Bloodwork showed slight anemia but no other abnormalities. Images were normal with no findings to suggest pneumonia, heart failure, no masses etc. One possibility was mediastinal lymphoma. Another possibility was a brain mass causing dilated pupils and syncope. Simon has been to the vet multiple times with the same symptoms, has had multiple tests, including bloodwork and imaging. We've tried antibiotics, deworming etc and he has done well on steroids. Over the last week, he's started to really decline. Between him and my sweet beloved Percy, my days off have been consumed with caring for sick kitties. Today Simon is having a really bad day. He hasn't eaten in 2 days (Simon loves his fancy feast and delectables treats). He is really working to breathe despite medications. In nurse terms, he has audible rhonchi and my guess is he has a pleural effusion. He's had this audible breathing before (which is why we did bloodwork and imaging to rule out CHF, pneumonia etc) but it's never been this bad. Jim and I have decided that to prolong the inevitable any longer would just be unfair to Simon when he feels so poorly. We've done everything we can. My heart is still broken from losing my beloved sweet Percy and I can't imagine losing my sweet Simon but I love him too much to let him suffer 💔😭. I've left messages with a few mobile vets to see if anyone can come to the house. If not, we'll be driving Simon to Emergency vet tonight (as much as I love my own vet, Goffstown animal hospital, I called them first thing and they don't even have a veterinarian on staff today). My heart is shattered 💔

September 4, 2021
My beautiful sweetheart April. I rescued her as a stray in 2015. I work closely with a local shelter-we had her spayed, vaccinated etc. Sadly, she tested positive for FeLV, so her options were limited. We kept her and vaccinated our other cats. Over the last month, April became acutely sick-stopped eating and lost a lot of weight. She didn't display any other symptoms-she wasnt vomiting, no change in litterbox habits, no hiding or displaying any sign of pain. We debated on whether or not to do bloodwork, etc. If this was progression of FeLV, we didn't want to put April through undue stress etc if it wasn't going to benefit her. But I also couldn't say goodbye without at least making sure something else wasn't going on. Over the last 2 weeks, I have been syringe feeding her 3 times a day, giving subcutaneous fluids daily; we've tried appetite stimulant, steroids, and Cerenia for nausea. Vet exam determined that April's teeth and mouth looked fine, she had a fever of 104.5; bloodwork showed elevated white count with shift-her body was reacting to something and her immune system was accurately responding. Surprisingly, her liver enzymes were normal. We decided to try antibiotics but also agreed if she didn't respond, we were done. Sadly, my sweet April showed no improvement over the last few days. She continued to not eat and lost half of her body weight. I suspect she had a mass or lymphoma in her belly/abdominal cavity. We could do imaging; an ultrasound would be the most diagnostic but would also cost hundreds, put April through more stress and would only confirm a diagnosis. It would not benefit April in any way. Today we said goodbye to our sweet, playful April. I am heartbroken.

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