It’s never easy. The routine is the same. Staff explains the procedure and what we should expect. He is taken to another room to be weighed and prepped. We sit in the exam room, try to comfort each other,
“Yes, this is the right thing to do for Rocky’s sake. He has been suffering.”
Returning Rocky to his human’s arms, “5 and 1/4 pounds,” the tech announces.
Good God, he lost another 2 pounds. Never was a large specimen, but over the past few months the weight loss has been quite noticeable. Loose skin holding together a scrawny skeleton.
the tech shares as she shows where the IV has been started. Rocky doesn’t seem to care about all the attention he is receiving. His eyes, once the most beautiful yellow pools imaginable, are pale and dull. The opiate seems to be taking effect as he leans into his human’s arms.
The rush of memories which this creature has lived for us brings tears and a momentary wish to stop everything,
“We can make him better, let’s just take him home and love him as ever.”
He loved riding on the dashboard of his Freightliner trucking for America.
My humans walk me on a leash when we have time to stop at a truck stop. Tonight, one of my humans left the side box door open. I’m going for a walk by myself. I’m a cat, not a sissy dog that needs to be walked on a leash. The air is fresh and alive with scents new to me. The most enticing smells are coming from the field of sage and cacti in the field behind our rig.
I knew Rocky was missing from the truck when I began the routine checklist before heading out on the interstate to the next destination. Normally he was very attentive to activity on the truck and wanted to be involved. But, not tonight. When I noticed that the side box door had been left ajar, my fears heightened. Who knew where an inquisitive cat could be exploring. The fields behind us were coming alive with night life – wild dogs, coyotes, snakes, hawks and owls. A small 6 pound cat would be a tasty morsel. Got my shoes on and cap, grabbed a flashlight and started my search. “Rockee, here kitty, kitty, time to leave. Rockee.”
I hear my human call for me but, dangit, I’m just having too much fun. Critters out here in the weeds I have never chased before. And I’m running without a leash around my neck. Doesn’t get any better than this. Oh shit, what was that? Just came swooping down at me like an airplane. Yeah, I know what airplanes are, I’ve been to a few airfields in my life. Been to Offutt, Tinker, Eglin, Dover – you name it, I’ve been there. “Swoosh!” Oh shit, there it was again. Maybe I should head back. Don’t want to miss dinner.
“Rockeeeee, where are you?” I’m sending up prayers now. We have to be in Phoenix by daylight and there is no time to search for a wayward cat. One more lap on this path and that’s it. We have to go. “Dangit Rocky, get back here.” I hate snakes – especially when they slither across the path in front of me. “Rockeee!”
Those dogs I am hearing don’t sound like the two poodles I know from back home. I need to run faster, I’m hungry and scared. What’s that up ahead of me? It’s a human, but is it my human? I’ll just jingle the bell on my collar and hope for the best. “Jingle, jingle…….hey there, yoohoo, it’s me, Rocky.”
I am about to give up the search and head back to the truck empty-handed. “Oh Lord, one last plea. Rocky’s a good boy.”
Jingle, jingle, jingle.
Music to my ears. Turning around, there I see Rocky sitting on his haunches trembling five feet behind me. He is so upset and distraught that the body tremors are jingling the bell on his collar.
“I knew everything would be cool. I’ll just sit here and allow my human to pick me up, hug me and then scold me for running off.”
WHEN THE CAT YOU LOVE BECOMES A MEMORY, THAT MEMORY BECOMES A TREASURE. unknown
Sweet dreams, Rocky.
May all your road trips be safe, may you forever have salmon to eat and may your next life include me.