In August of 1999 I started volunteering at an animal shelter in Portales, NM. Sometimes people would drop off boxes of unwanted kittens. In one box there was a green eyed fluff ball that the staff named Jasmine. When I would visit the shelter she would reach up my leg and beg to be held, like a baby.
At the time I was living in a dorm. Eric, my then boyfriend, was sharing a house with another guy. Their landlord did not allow pets. I refused to accept this and began a mission. After calling and meeting with the landlord she finally agreed to allow the cat to live with Eric(with a monthly pet rent).
Eric picked her up while I was at work and then he came to the art building where I was doing my work study job. I ran out to the car and pet this sweet little lady. It was love. We had her. Our first animal adoption.
We were both taking an art history class at the time and she ended up with quite a name, Ophelia Jaguar Devouring a Hare Putti Wimmer. Oph for short. Loaf for when she was lazy.
Within the month we had also adopted our sweet Siamese Mia. The two became deeply bonded. The pair of cats traveled with us throughout a few residences in NM, MT, WY, CO, and WY again. They were with us through dating and marriage and college and graduate school and the birth of two children.
The two lived with us for many years. Every day Mia would groom Ophelia and vice versa. When Mia became ill and passed away Ophelia was devastated. Over time she improved, but I think it is clear that she never really recovered from that loss.
In the following years Ophelia has gradually declined both mentally and physically. She has been our little off kilter granny for the past few years and that has been ok. As she has aged sleep became her most common state. Arthritis limited her ability to walk. Then, last month there was a tumor. After consulting with the vet, and considering her weak state and advanced years it was advised that we keep her comfortable and let her live out her days. We have been watching her, waiting and preparing ourselves for the inevitable. We had hoped we wouldn’t have to make a decision, but then yesterday morning we knew it was time to say goodbye.
We were thankful that the decision was so clear and that we were able to give her one final gift of loving relief. Still, it hurts with a chest crushing weight. She lived with us for half of our lives, longer than we lived with our parents. I will miss that crazy old lady, the fun loving kitten fluff ball, the bonded pair of her and Mia for the rest of my days. What a gift it is so connect so deeply with another sentient being.
Goodbye Ophelia. I will see you on the other side.