Welcome to Jennie's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Jennie
Dear little girl, it is a month today since I let you go. I miss you so much and there are so many things I never had the chance to tell you. On that last day when I came in to say goodbye, I wanted to hold you close one more time and smell the sweet warm scent of your fur. I wanted to tell you that you have given me so much happiness in your too-short life. I wanted to tell you I am sorry for hollering at you sometimes when you were in another room and could not find me, and were calling me - "mom, mom, mom" - just wanting to know where I was and to come and be near me. I wanted to tell you that I know how hard you tried to get well. You were so patient and brave, no matter what had to be done to you. I will always remember those 4 days I had you home with me and be grateful for that last time together, even though it seemed like much of the time I was giving you pills or injections, or forcing food down your throat with a syringe. I got to hold you on my lap a few more times. The last Saturday before we had to take you back to the vet hospital, you somehow managed to navigate the spiral stairs and arrived in the loft, wanting to be on my lap. You curled up and purred so softly, and tried to pat my face. I think you knew somehow that that was the last of our happy times together and you wanted it to be really good. All through those last 4 days you never complained and I know you must have hated it so much, not wanting to eat, and the food dribbling down all over your beautiful chest and paws. Remember how I washed your face and paws after I fed you. I brushed you, too, because by then you were too sick to groom yourself and you were always so fastidious and tidy, sometimes washing one paw for 10 minutes at a time. And then you started getting worse again and vomiting and I know you must have been feeling bad, but even then you never uttered one sound of complaint. I miss you calling outside my bedroom door every morning, so anxious to say hello - I missed you all night. I miss having you next to me while I am typing during the day, sometimes with both paws on my lap, purring so hard and so happy to be near me. Near the end before you got sick, you often wanted me to hold one paw, and your curled your paw around my hand, holding on so lovingly. I remember you lying flat out on your back next to me on the desk, enjoying the ceiling fan blowing on you. I miss you at night when I am reading and you are not there beside me to keep me company. I miss your elegance and your grace. I remember you sitting with your beautiful plume of a tail wrapped so neatly around you, covering your feet like a robe of state. I remember how you would lie like a lion, with your regal head and the huge mane of fur, and your front paws always gracefully crossed. I remember your incredible gold eyes. You never needed to talk, because your eyes did it for you. I remember how you would stand on your back feet with your front feet in the cupboard where your treats were kept. I remember you standing so tall on the kitchen counter, trying to catch a tiny little moth - and getting it with one careful little movement of a paw. I remember sometimes you would stand on your back legs and stretch your front ones straight up and then sort of paddle the air - like you were stretching, just because it felt so good. I remember how adorable you looked every summer when you had your "lion cut" for the hot weather, with your huge fluffy tail, your furry little socks on each foot, the ruff around your neck - and the rest of you all sleek - except for your little pink tummy hanging down. You loved it when you had your lion cut. You were so cool and comfortable, and it was so easy to groom yourself without all that long, long hair to deal with. I remember you sleeping behind our computer monitor on your soft blanket, wanting to be as close as you could all the time. I still hear your soft little "chirps" and "trills", greeting me, saying good morning, saying I love you, talking, talking, talking, all the time. You used to get on my lap, all 15 pounds of you, make biscuits for a while, and then curl up and purr and purr and purr, reaching up now and then with one paw to touch my face, as if to make sure I knew you were there and that you were content to be close to me. Jennie, my dear little girl, I feel that I failed you in the end. I should have known you were sick long before I did. I should have paid more attention to you becoming more picky about your food and taken you in to Tom before I did. Maybe he could have saved you if I had. I am so sorry, Jennie. By the time I got you to Tom, it was too late and you were just too sick and weak. Tom tried, and I tried and I know you tried your best, but after a month of seeing you getting thinner and weaker, my heart was breaking. As it says on the Rainbows Bridge, I have sent you on a journey to a land free from pain, not because I did not love you, but because I loved you too much to force you to stay. I could not put you through any more misery, my dear, good little girl. You had been through so much and with such fortitude and patience and courage. Please know how much I love you, and that I would give anything to have you back whole and well, and know that when I meet you at Rainbows Bridge, I will never, ever let you go again. Love, Mom.

In June of 2001 we drove for 4 hours from Mt. Shasta to the foothills outside Marysville to choose a kitten from a litter of five. After seeing photographs of all of them, I had decided on a gray tabby male. I picked up and held four of them and was about to pick up the gray tabby I had chosen when I realized I had missed holdiing one of the kittens. I picked up the last of the five, who cuddled against my chest, lying on her back, stared into my eyes, and started to purr. I knew then that she was the one I wanted. I named her Jennie immediately, after the book by Paul Gallico. (For all of you who love cats, you really should read this book!) Jennie was frightened when we put her in the cat carrier, so I held her on my lap all the way home, while she purred and purred, so happy to have someone hold her and love her. The conditions where she was raised were filthy and I do not think the kittens had ever been given any attention by the breeder. I had no idea then how sick she was. She was thin, with a big pot belly, like a starving child from some third-world country. By the time we got home I loved her already. Within a day or two we knew something was not right. As soon as she ate, she headed straight for her box and had very bad diarrhea. We took her in to our dear vet, who found that she had what he called the worst case of roundworms he had ever seen. He gave me medication and Jennie seemed to improve. Then I started finding blood in her litter box, and back to Tom we went. He had to do a colonoscopy and found that the roundworm infestation had caused inflammatory bowel disease (colitis). So we gave her more medications, and she got over this. Jennie became a beautiful, healthy, happy cat and grew to weigh 15 pounds. Her coat was gorgeous and her markings so lovely. She had the most incredible gold eyes. She talked all the time, using the little chirp which is one of the characteristics of a Maine Coon cat. At the time I had another cat, Tigger, and you can read about him on his web site. When Jennie was 2, Tigger became ill and during his workup Tom found a serious heart murmur. I lost him to a blood clot 2-1/2 years later. Jennie was then our only cat, and she set about doing her little best to fill the empty space Tigger left behind. I know Jennie always thought I was her mom, and she was like my little girl. If I left the room or closed a door and she could not get to me, she would call me with "meow, meow" but it sounded like "mom, mom." At the end of August my dear little Jennie suddenly went from completely healthy to desperately ill. We took her in to Tom and he told us she was really sick. She had pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, gallbladder disease and was losing weight and the inside of her mouth and the whites of her eyes were yellow. She had developed fatty liver, which is caused by not eating, at which point her body started mobilizing its fat stores, which overwhelmed the liver to the point that it could not function properly. Tom did an ultrasound-guided liver biopsy to get the diagnosis and told us that the cure for this was CALORIES and that she had to eat. She spent 2 weeks in the vet hospital while they gave her 8 medications a day and force-fed her with a syringe. Then Tom told me that he wanted to sent her home in the hope that being in familiar surroundings, she would begin to eat on her own. I brought her home, so thin and yellow and fragile, and so weak. I made a quiet place for her in our laundry room with a big soft blanket and her food, water and litter box. She had never liked being in a room with the door closed, but she accepted this, I think because she was so sick and weak. I wanted to keep our other kitty, a British Shorhair, away from her. As it turned out, he never bothered her at all but left her alone, as if he knew how ill she was. For 4 days I gave her injections and oral medications and force fed her because she would not eat. Then one night she starting vomiting andI had to take her back to Tom again. She was so constipated that they had to start giving her enemas twice a day to keep her going. In desperation, trying to do anything that might help her, Tom took her off all medications except for a pain shot and incredibly, she began to perk up and started to eat - a lot. But it was only a temporary improvement, and she shortly stopped eating again. Four days after that, Tom called me and told me, as he had promised all throughout her illness he would, that it was time to let her go. He gave her only a 10% chance of recovering and coming home. We went in and I sat on the floor by her cage, and she came out purring and so happy to see me, and rubbed her face on mine, as she always had done. Then she returned to her cage and while Tom sat on the floor with me, telling me as gently as possible that although he could start IV fluids and medications again, her pulse was weak, her veins were getting bad, and that if he were his cat, he would let her go. I could not put her through any more misery. There were so many things I wanted to tell her, but I was crying and at the end of my courage. I just kissed the top of her little head and told her I loved her so much, and left her watching Tom with huge, trusting eyes, as if she were saying "okay, I am ready to go." Jennie, I miss you so much. You were such a little girl, but your going has left a huge empty space in my house. You were so good and so patient, never complaining, no matter what had to be done. Be at peace now, and happy with my darling Tigger, and I will see you again someday at Rainbows Bridge. Know that I will miss you every day until then.

Good morning, my dear little Jennie. It is one year today since I sent you to Rainbow Bridge. Not a day goes by that I do not think of you. Forgive me, Jennie, for putting you through so much misery before making the decision to let you go, but I wanted to give you every possible chance to recover and be healthy again. Sadly, that was not meant to be. I remember how patient and brave you were. I remember the last day you came up on my lap and curled up and purred and tried to reach up your little paw to touch my face, but you were just too weak. It was as if you knew it was the last good day and you were telling me goodbye. Only a few days later you were gone. Finally, I loved you too much to force you to stay, and I know in my heart that was the right thing to do. I love you now and forever, Jennie, and I know I will see you again somebody. Meanwhile, you and Tigger keep each other company and run and play and be happy at the Bridge while you wait for me. On that day there will be no more goodbyes and we will all be together forever.

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