I’ll never forget the day we had to say goodbye to our sweet and loyal cat Cinnamon aka “Chubs”. Losing a member of the family is always hard, but the thing that has really stuck with me when I think about that day is my husband’s final moments with his beloved friend.
When we learned the extent of Cinnamon’s illness I was nearly inconsolable. My husband was there for me, as stoic and understanding as always. He was strong enough for the both of us, and when it finally came time for that awful car ride I thought I would be able to handle what had to be done. I was wrong. In the room at our veterinarian’s office, as I held the paw of my sweet Chubs and told her that I loved her and would miss her, I broke down and had to leave the room for a few minutes to try to regain my composure. When I returned my husband was wiping tears from his eyes. “Allergy season” he explained as our veterinarian told us it was time. Allergy season had been over for months, and in all the years we’d been married he never had a problem with allergies.
The special bond between a man and his pet transcends our ideas of machismo and masculinity. It’s powerful enough to reach even the strongest, most silent type. Ernest Hemingway had his cats, George Clooney let his pot-bellied pig sleep in his bed, and U.S. presidents have lived with their pets since before there was even a White House. Popular culture has always tugged at our heartstrings by highlighting this unique relationship. Our fictional heroes have had furry friends by their side for as long as there have been stories to tell. Charlie Brown had Snoopy and Calvin had Hobbes of course, but you can find this special relationship represented well before the Lone Ranger decided that maybe the solitary life wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be and picked up Silver.
The oldest surviving texts in human history clearly show this bond. King Arthur had a dog named Cafall that helped him make sure that the knights of the round table stayed chivalrous, and cats in Ancient Egypt received the same mummification treatment as the pharaohs did. As far back as the 8th century BC, Homer knew that Odysseus couldn’t begin his epic Odyssey without the valiant Argos setting sail with him. There’s just something about the complete, unconditional love of an animal that can turn even the toughest, most heroic man into a blubbering,
As we drove home from the vet’s office that painful afternoon my husband was still suffering from his newly acquired allergies and I tried my best to hide the fact that I noticed. I put my hand on his knee and remembered an old story I had heard about a Skye Terrier named Bobby.
Bobby lived in Edinburgh, Scotland during the 1870s. He belonged to a night watchman named John Gray, and would accompany him on his rounds. When his owner died Bobby went to the burial service, and refused to leave. Friends and family tried to lure him away but he wouldn’t move from the grave. Bobby’s story got out and people in the neighborhood brought water and table scraps to him, assuming he would eventually follow them home. He never did. Bobby stayed at that grave until his own death, almost 14 years later. The townspeople built a statue in his honor that stands to this day.
There may not have been a statue erected when Cinnamon passed away, but I know that my husband won’t need a statue to keep her in his heart forever.
A Man and His Cat is a guest post from Lori Simmons, President of Kap-Lind Enterprises, Inc. (An American Manufacture of Pet Cremation Urns and Memorials) Lori claims she’s just a simple gal trying to carry on the my father’s passion for his childhood dog Cesar. Her father was well beyond his time when he started Kap-Lind in 1977, in an effort to properly memorialize his “best bud”. She took over Kap-Lind in 2009. Lori has a B.S. in Education from Columbia College.