Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Loss of a Pet

by Thelma Jacqueline Straw

On August 9 it will be just one year since I sent my best little friend into that vast realm beyond recall. From which there is no tangible return.

It has been an eternity . . .

I'm a great believer in the nudging of what some people call Divine Providence. When I first thought about writing this for the year's remembrance of the death of Miss Priss, I was afraid readers would see it as too sentimental.

Suddenly on my screen appeared the moving piece by Bob Sullivan of MSNBC , on the recent death of his beloved golden retriever. Lucky died of an enlarged heart June 11, 2011.

I had my answer. Knew I could share Bob's and my thoughts about the passing of a cherished animal companion.

Bob's words:
"No one, nowhere, will ever love me like Lucky did."
"This kind of loss leaves you searching for answers..."
"There is just something about losing a dog, and either you know about it, or you don't."
"Another fellow will just wander up to your campfire when the time is right."
(Bob Sullivan/ Bob Sullivan Blogroll)

The death of a beloved pet ranks right up there with the death of a loved human - a parent, a spouse, a child.

But there is a difference. There is a unique bond between a human and an animal. The unconditional love, the total dependence, complete forgiveness. People often write this about dogs, but no dog is closer than a precious feline companion.

I'd had cats all my life. About fifteen years ago my red Persian Paddy died and I looked all over the Tri-state area for another red Persian. But it was not kitten-time.

Finally, late one rainy day, I found one - at a run-down pet shop that had seen better days, on 2nd Avenue near Grand Central Station.

A tiny, bedraggled kitten peered at me from a filthy cage. She didn't make a sound - but my inner ear heard her beg.

She was a Persian and she was the color of copper and red-gold.

From the very first trip home she never talked. She made her wants known by swishing her gorgeous plumed tail. Or by staring me down with round, soulful eyes.

It was destined that her name would become Miss Priss.

Her sense of play and fun was unique - she delighted in racing down the length of the living room on her hind legs - laughing the whole way.( Noone ever saw her do this but me!)

She had a perfect sense of time. When Daylight Saving changed the clocks, her inner timetable remained the same - to the minute. She would appear silently, wherever I happened to be, and wait patiently until I jumped up to do her bidding!

She loved to go out in the neighborhood for rides in my grocery cart. And how she loved the frequent meetings and gatherings held in her home. My guests were her guests - the buzz of conversation was hers. She was The Hostess!

The only time I ever heard her yowl in all those years was the night I kept her from the party: On November 11, 2009, we threw a party in honor of Bob Knightly's new novel. Fearing Miss Priss might get out of the apartment, I shut her up in her carrier, in a room away from where the action was. After several hours of friendly talk and laughter by old friends of the author, a couple of us heard an unholy howl! The only one in fifteen years!!!

She was used to being the life of the party! She stood her isolation as long as she could - then let it all hang out!

Miss Priss and I were soul-mates. I often looked at her expressive face and thought: Who Are You?

Who Were You Before You Became a Cat?

In the spring of 2010 I knew the winds had shifted. She began to hibernate into her carrier, her special little cave, coming out only to eat a little and use her facilities.

She s-l-o-w-e-d down. Like a wonderful old car that just couldn't run any longer . . .

In the end, she was the delicate weight of a soft feather . . .

Miss Priss, may your special guardian angel always hold you.

And protect you.

Nothing can hurt you now.

You are safe.

And free.

May you rest in eternal peace, my beloved little friend . . .


  1. Thelma, this is a lovely post, and I know just what you mean about knowing when to bring home a pet, and how close that bond can become.

  2. This is a lovely tribute to Miss Priss. I always feel honored when a dog or a cat agrees to be part of my life.

  3. Thelma,
    Quasimoda's reincarnation showed up a year ago: the same petite tiger, but longer, she spent her second year in a Rescue Organization cage. She is her own cat now and when she spies a feline interloper in the yard or on the street she puffs herself up like a blowfish, howling her best imitation of her larger cousins. Likes dogs, however.

  4. Such a wonderful tribute to such a lovely Miss Priss!!! She was indeed a unique cat!!!

  5. Thelma, I lost my beloved tabby, Molly, a little over a year ago, just shy of her 20th birthday. She was a joy and I know the sorrow you're still feeling. Miss Priss was a beauty and your treasure.

    Lelia Taylor