Saturday, March 26, 2005

Raz has crossed The Rainbow Bridge

I'm not sure if I have talked much about my cat Raz. I found him as an all but starved to death kitten at the mall 13 years ago. He was (estimated to be) 8 weeks old at the time, and he weighed just 1.2 pounds (should have weighed over 2). After much convincing, my parents let me keep him, on the condition that he be an outdoor kitty (please, no harping on this issue (all current kitties are indoor only); thanks). It was a safe neighborhood, and we had a screened porch where he could stay. On cold nights, he slept in the garage on a heating pad. He survived a dog attack a few years later, and fully recovered. I always intended to bring him to my house after I graduated from college, but he was too much of an "outside kitty," and I couldn't let him run wild in the apartment complex, so I left him at my parents' house. They took excellent care of him. Mom even said that if she'd known he was going to turn out to be such a sweet and well-behaved kitty, she may have let him stay inside.

He was hit by a car on Sunday, not too long after we left Brunswick to return home from our Disney trip. After having such a rough week on vacation and with Luke's shots coming up, they decided to wait for things to settle down a bit around here before telling me. Not like it would change anything, and I seriously would have been a basketcase if they'd told me earlier, so I am grateful for the chance to get it together (more or less) before falling apart again. It's not really the car's (or the driver's) fault. He had recently developed this bad habit of running across the street as cars passed. He did this as a young kitten when he was getting used to the neighborhood, but he had grown out of it. He would also charge cars as they entered the driveway; he was just so happy you were home! Hey, there's a reason he earned the affectionate nickname of "Stupid." I'm sure he charged out right in front of the car, and there was nothing the driver could do. Mom says he didn't linger and/or suffer, and for that I am grateful. He was old (13 years), particularly for an outdoor cat. He lived a good and well-cared-for life, if not the cushiest. All things considered (his bad start, the dog attack, being outside for so many years), it's amazing he lived as long as he did. But that doesn't mean that I'm not going to cry the first time I pull into my parents' driveway and he doesn't run out to greet me.

Many of you have read this poem before, but I would like to post it here and dedicate it to my little fluffy gray and white kitty, the king of our yard, Raspberry, better known as Razbo or Raz. I'll tell his whole story a little later, so that you can all know how special he was. If you haven't read this poem before (or even if you have), get the tissue ready. You're going to need them. And give all of your furbabies a hug for me tonight.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

~Author unknown

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