Julie, My "Grace"
by Phillip Cooper
I found Julie on January 3rd, 2019, at around 10:30 pm. Me and my girlfriend Mary were on the brink of separation, and I needed to go where she worked to pick up some things (Walmart), but I told her before i left that i wasn't coming up there to bother her. Before i got out of my neighborhood, i saw a cat with a pair of glowing eyes was on the side of the road. So i stopped and got out. I approached this curious creature slowly, but she didn't move. She was terribly skinny and her spine was arched and ribs were visible. When i reached down, she meowed really loudly, and started walking in front of my parked truck.

She wanted to go with me.

So i picked her up and put her in the truck. My once task of only picking up a few household things now become my mission to get stuff for her. I breezed to the pet section and picked up a covered litterbox and a food bowl so she would have something for shelter and a pan to eat and drink out of. Even though i told my girlfriend that i wasn't going to bother her, i saw her and told her that i have a cat in the truck, and that im sorry, but i have to rush home.. So when i got back, i took Julie out of the truck, and placed her inside of the covered litter box and placed the food bowl inside. I covered the top of it with a towel to give her insulation. She aggressively ate all the food i gave her and then wanted more. She drank water for what i swear was at least 15 minutes. She had a rusted collar around her neck, and i removed that from her. I left her outside for the night and went in to rest.

The next morning i came out to check on her, she meowed so loudly again, happy to see me. So i brought her inside and put her in a spare bedroom. When i looked closer at her, she appeared to be mostly blind, and she was walking in circles with a slight head tilt. She also didn't seem to like to use the litter box much, or be around other animals a lot (she was vicious!), and her right whiskers were damaged. We asked around the neighborhood and a nearby assisted living complex if she belonged to anyone, but we couldn't find an answer.. I then told Mary that i didn't want to find who owned her, i wanted to take care of her. She then became our 6th baby; along with two dogs and four cats. We nursed her back to a healthy state, and we then named the precious girl "Julie".

Soon after, we took her to the first of a series of four vets to check her out. They told my girlfriend that she was just old, that she may have some arthritic issues but nothing more. I knew this had to be wrong.. but to avoid frustration, we just let it go.

With my worry starting to grow for her, we moved her to our bedroom to stay with us. She would walk continuously for at least an hour, mapping out the room and her surroundings. We first had her in a large dog kennel to keep her safe at night, then in a play pen, then in an enclosure in our bathroom. She lived between the 3 locations for about 3 months. We then let her sleep in the floor beside us so she could walk around at night because i knew she didn't like being pent up. Since she kept having issues missing the litter box and peeing/pooping in the floor, we started to take her outside. Man did she love that! It was from there on out that we took her outside and walked her until she relieved herself. For some reason, if there was a gentle wind blowing, she would expel herself faster, which we always thought was cute and silly.

It wasn't much later though that i noticed signs of decline. She was having trouble balancing herself, and her front legs were getting weak. She was slightly swaying and would tuck her left leg under her right one when she would make those wide circular walking paths and she would have to pause to regain her balance. She was having issues holding her neck up too. All of that gave me suspicions that she's having something serious going on internally. So we got a harness for her to help out, but then we noticed her back legs were starting to get weak.. We would hold her tail up gently to help her walk, and she really enjoyed that! She would speed up her walking to the point she started making us dizzy!

We took her to the second vet, which was in early June, and this time, they suggested that she had a brain tumor, or that it may be an inner ear infection that he cant see.. I felt so terrible that i hadn't brought her sooner.. I honestly just didn't know what i was dealing with.. I was so scared when he told me that. He gave us motion sickness medicine and antibiotics. Two days later, i heard her stertor (snoring sound) in her breathing, and she didn't want to move much anymore. I was so afraid because i thought i was going to lose my baby then, so i went back and told the second vet, "I feel her pain, she needs something for pain..". So that day, they gave her a dexamethasone shot, and she perked right up! she still walked in circles a bit, but she was walking better and looked happier. I was relieved and so happy.

After that, we got her on a waning dose of prednisolone. That did okay for her for about two weeks, but in the meantime, she had some urinary/bowel incontinence issues. I got her expelled at the emergency vet (the third vet) after 3 days of not urinating, but then she had the bowel issue. We took her back and they gave her subcutaneous fluids.. It scared me, especially when the ball of liquid moved to her weak left arm and it gave her trouble walking, and then she had a bladder the size of a baseball. She did pee it all out after i took her outside the next day though, and then pooped that night. After all of that, her elimination methods were normal again!

After that, she was doing okay.. but we did notice after the dose waned past a day between that she was having balancing issues again. I started to worry more. It was so bad that i kept checking on her at night to make sure she didn't get stuck or hurt during the night, or that she wasn't sitting there in pain. For the next two weeks, now into late June, i barely slept.. i was this way for the rest of the time she was with us. I started to introduce CBD oil and Cosequin to her diet to try to help her. They both helped in their own ways, but i was too nervous about giving her too much of the CBD oil if she had a neurological issue. She then stayed in the bed with us so that she could be beside me at night and i could make sure she was okay. I swear that month i did so much research on the internet that i drove myself insane.

The next week, (now early July), we started an acupuncture treatment with the now fourth vet, who stuck more to treating the vestibular symptoms, and to help her along while the prednisolone treatment waned. We took her for two sessions, and they seemed to help a little bit. The B12 shot she was given seemed to help her more though! She was still wobbly, and she had issues intermittently drinking water and eating on her own, so we would syringe her water and would hold her steady while she ate. She still did pretty well outside, but me and my girlfriend needed to stay with her to make sure she maintained balance while walking and eliminating. I swear, i bothered the vet almost every day through email, and i apologized many times that i was so frantic, i just wanted to help my baby.

I was afraid of the days to come, so on the third week, i ordered a record player so i could play some music for her. The records i had belonged to a good friend that had passed several years back. I was hoping it would arrive in time.

Then, on the last Friday of the month.. tragedy struck..

I came home from work and found her in the floor, paralyzed and stiff. she slowly started to recover after i attempted to loosen her limbs, but she was very uncoordinated and couldn't walk. I was afraid she had a stroke or hurt herself badly.. i rushed her to the emergency vet again, and they too thought it was a brain tumor, and it may have advanced. They explained that they don't believe she had a stroke though, rather she got so dizzy that she was reaching out into oblivion to try to get herself back up.. they gave us gabapentin to take home.. We gave her her last dose of prednisolone to help her recover, and we watched her through the night..

Saturday, she seemed okay, but pretty slow. I was with her all day, and decided to give her some gabapentin later that night to help her with the pain since i knew the prednisolone probably wasn't doing much at this point. It sedated her for a very long time. She was now barely drinking and eating, and i was fearing her time was very soon. She was now struggling to get up on her own, and i had to lift her up to help her walk. The record player arrived later that day, and i opened it up and put two Rush vinyls on for her to listen to while she rested. She came out of her daze that next day (Sunday), but she was having trouble walking for any longer than 5 minutes. It took her a very long time to pee, and she never made a bowel movement. We took her outside and laid her on her blanket, and she just stared up at the sky.. It was the most beautiful thing i had ever seen in my life; it seemed like she saw God in that wild blue yonder.. I gave her a much smaller dose later that night to help her get through, and she was again sedated for the next 4 hours. I laid beside her in the floor as she rested and read the Bible to her and held her paw. She would reach for it and when i had to get up momentarily, i gave her a miniature spider man plush for her to hold. I brought her to bed with me and gave her spider man to hold, and she didn't move the whole night. I kept getting up to check her heartbeat and breathing, and i could tell her heart was starting to get weak.

Monday morning when i woke up, She looked so tired.. My baby was exhausted.. I felt that it was time to take her to the vet and that i might have to make the ultimate decision. So i played the guitar for her, and i recorded her purring so that in case we had to let her go, i would still have that to hold onto. When we got to the clinic, The vet told us she looked really rough since the last acupuncture treatment she had, and then suggested we can either have her on sedatives to get her through, or we can go ahead and give her to God.

It was the hardest thing i ever had to do in my life.. I told her i was prepared for this, but no i wasn't.. I didn't want to do this. I had overcome pyschosis, financial ruin, and lots of heartbreak in my past, but nothing compared to this. I didn't want her to be sedated all the time and then not be able to eat or drink and still be in pain, but i just didn't want to let go either.

But I picked her up from the exam table, and i asked God what i should do.
I felt him.. he said.. "Give her to me"..

So I did. I made the sacrifice of taking on all of her pain so that she would never feel it anymore.. I listened to her heart beat for the last time, then she made her way to heaven.

We tried so hard to help her.. so much money was spent.. so much sleep lost.. so much time and effort put into it.. so many people involved.. but it was worth every penny.

Every moment was priceless.

She brought me closer to God, she saved my relationship. I never knew that this 6 pound long haired furball would bless me so immensely.. She gave me so much joy, and more importantly, the path to salvation.

Every time i feel the wind blow, i think of her. It's been very hard on me and my girlfriend, especially me though, because this was my first time having to do this. Everyone that knew of what was going on praised me and Mary for all we tried to do for her. We gave it our all, because she gave us everything she had. She was a fighter, and i told Julie in the first weeks that i had her that i would follow her all the way down.

I fulfilled my promise. She carried out her mission.

And to anyone reading this; never give up. Get more than one opinion.. never hesitate to help your baby if you can. I know i look back and regret that i didn't act sooner, but i know her fate would probably have been the same. We couldn't afford the CT and MRI scans we needed, but at the same time, we were more afraid that she would go into surgery and we would lose her there.. So i think we chose the right path..

We got a glorious 7 extra months out of her from the night i had found her at a near death stage, and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Julie Bug, i want you to know i'm writing this for you. I know you are still with us in spirit. I still feel you purring on my neck from time to time. I still know the rhythm of your heartbeat. I still carry you with me everywhere i go. It was so hard to watch you go, but in the end, i just didn't want you to hurt anymore. I loved you with all of my heart, and i always will. You will be with us when a very special moment happens between me and Mary, and for the rest of our lives we will love you and miss you.

Thank you God that our paths crossed that night.
Thank you God for giving me the time to be with her, to enjoy her presence, and the opportunity to try to help her.
Thank you God for her bringing me and Mary together in an otherwise hopeless scenario.

But most of all, thank you God for sending her to save me. I may have rescued her that night, but she brought me so much closer to you. When i asked earlier that day for a way to fix everything going on between me and Mary, you sent Julie to me. Please God, never let me stray from the path again. May i forever walk in your light, and keep Julie in my loving memory.

I'll see you soon, my love.
And as you would say with your meow's:

"Helloooo", and "Oh Wow!"

I'll never forget you.
Comments would be appreciated by the author, Phillip Cooper
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