Welcome to Willow's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
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Memories of Willow
Dear Willow,

When I first saw your picture, I knew you were the perfect baby kitty to join me on a new adventure, living off campus for the first time. You were so small and pretty. When I came to visit you for the first time, you were scared and ran away, but for me, it was love at first sight. I brought you home and you hid under the bed for sooo long. Even though you were scared, you purred when I reached behind the bed to scratch you between your ears. After about a week, you started to come out and play with your toys. All night long, you would play with your exercise ring. The ball in it made a bird chirping noise whenever you tapped it, and you used to keep me up all night. I wish you could still keep me up all night with the sounds of your play. At first, the other cats did not know what to think of you. You were so bold and would run right up to sniff them in the face! You were much different from the shy kitty I first brought home. Soon, they got used to you and started to curl up for nap time with you every day. Your antics made me laugh so much. When you pounced on Romeo while he was doing his business in your litter box, that was the greatest. You really scared him! Every day I looked forward to coming home and playing with you. You would run into my bedroom to say hello, and jump up in my lap for a nap or to get your face rubbed. You did not like to be held very much, but you loved to sit in laps. Sometimes in the morning, you would jump up on my bed and stick your butt right in my face. There's nothing I wouldn't give if I could just wake up to your furry butt one more time.

Even though going to the vet scared you, I knew it was the right thing to do to get you spayed. It decreases your risk of cancer and other disorders, and I've always thought it's what responsible pet parents do. After you were spayed, I knew there was something wrong. You were always hiding and hardly ever coming out to eat your food. After your surgery, I never saw you playing with any of your toys or snuggling with the other cats. I finally took you back to the vet, and for weeks, we tried to figure out why you were so sick. You were poked and prodded and I lost sleep so many nights trying to make you comfortable. We tried so much medicine, and I started to feed you soft baby food and water out of an oral syringe every day because I could tell you were getting weak. All you wanted to do was sleep. When two vets finally diagnosed you with FIP, feline infectious peritonitis, my heart shattered. We cried all day trying to decide what to do, and you were clearly getting so much worse by the hour. The hardest thing I've ever done is to let you go. Dad and I didn't want you to be in any more pain, and we stayed with you right until the end. Even though you were only with us for a few short months, you changed our lives and we miss you more than anything. You were our special Sweetheart, and coming home, knowing that you won't be there to run up and say hello, is so hard. A big piece of my heart left with you, and we love you very much. I know you're not suffering anymore, and I'll always remember the playful, brilliant, loving little lady you were before you got so sick. You deserved so many more years of love from us, but we're better people for having had you for the short time we did. Rest in peace, sweet Willow-bear. We love you.

Lindsey


Dear Willow,

I remember the first time I saw you. You were a small, little bundle of joy and fur that brightened every day of my life. I know I lived far away, but every weekend was brightened by seeing you. Also, I loved see you on skype or hearing your meow on the phone. I remember one day, we came home and you had caught a roach. It was really impressive because you were so very little, but still able to beat it. The funniest part was that you were so little that you did not really know what to do with the roach once you had caught it so you just kinda patted it over and over. I also remember one day I was sick and Lindsey had to go to class. You and I slept all day long on the bed, and you kept me company and took care of me. I remember when I got you your squeaking squirrel toy. It was annoying at first, but I know how much you loved it, so I didn't mind.

The hardest part about taking you to the vet was the uncertainty. I knew in my head that your prognosis was not very good, but I always had hope. You were our bundle of joy, our reason for life. You filled me with so much happiness everyday. When the first vet told me you might have FIP it broke my heart. I couldn't imagine a world without you. When envisioning my future, I always thought of my own children eventually playing with you or you keeping them company when they got sick. It really hurt to think that might not happen. Although you should textbook signs, Mom and I thought it was best to take you to another vet to make sure. We took one last nap together before taking you to the vet. I suppose it is good that I didn't know that was our last nap. We both just snuggled and loved each other for a really long time, and it made me so happy. I also didn't know that would be your last car ride either, but that is a good thing too. None of us knew. If I had known, it would have broken my heart. When the vet told us that you were only going to get worse, I had to walk outside. I didn't want you to see me get upset because it is not your fault. While outside, I thought about what we had to do, and I knew it was the right thing because we had spent to whole day, all three of us, lounging in bed like lazy people. Those last few minutes were sad, but I tried not to show it. I tried my hardest to look into your eyes until the very end so that you knew I was there and that I love you. It was hard for me, but I wanted you to know how much Mom and I love you. Coming back home, I immediately scanned the room looking for you, and I keep finding myself looking around the room for you. It is really hard for you not to be here. It would have been selfish for us to keep you in pain, and I know we are all better off knowing that you didn't have to suffer anymore. It will be hard to get used to life without you, but you will always be in my heart. I love you and mom loves you very much. Sweet dreams.

Don

Our cat did not get to experience a full life because she was diagnosed with a rapidly-progressing, 100% fatal disease called feline infectious peritonitis. Only 1 in 5,000 cats will experience this mutated form of the common feline coronavirus. You can learn more about FIP here:

http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/feline-infectious-peritonitis
http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/fip.html

Donate to fund FIP research here:

http://www.sockfip.info/
http://www.winnfelinehealth.org/pages/briafund.html

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