avery (aka “bluedawg”), march 22 1999 – july 27 2013
i never wrote about this at the time, because it was too painful, and now an entire year has gone by and i just can’t believe it. a year ago tonight, we held avery for the last time, and said goodbye.
just a week prior, he’d been to the vet for his usual checkup and everything looked fine — his kidney values (which we’d always kept tabs on) were great. and then suddenly, exactly seven days after that checkup, he didn’t want to eat and got lethargic and barfy, so we took him back in. we got the bad news: his kidney values looked bad, and our vet wanted him to go to the emergency vet right away to be monitored. it was a friday afternoon, and we drove him out to the same emergency vet who had treated him 15 months prior when he had a kidney emergency. they did an ultrasound (as they had the first time) and things looked very similar to his earlier visit, so they decided to try the same treatment, because he’d responded so well previously. we had to leave him overnight, and they’d call us in the morning with an update.
unfortunately, in the morning things didn’t look better at all; he wasn’t responding this time, and his kidneys were shutting down. we drove out to visit him, and he seemed pretty sad. it was heartbreaking. we asked to try new/different meds/fluids for another few hours, just in case, and they indulged us. we took a walk and went to a coffee shop and basically just tried desperately to distract ourselves while waiting for the phone call. when they called, it was bad news again: no change whatsoever, and basically out of options. we weren’t ready for this at all, and we felt so terrible for him, and we were just lost.
we went back to the emergency vet and talked about euthanasia, and i talked to our regular vet on the phone to get her input as well, and the whole thing was kind of a blur. we couldn’t believe we had to make this decision and we couldn’t believe we had to say goodbye and we just Didn’t Want This At All. they brought avery in to see us, and we snuggled with him and told him we loved him about a million times, and eventually we had to decide when we were “ready,” which was excruciating. when they administered the shot we held him close and whispered “i love you” into his ears over and over, and i don’t know if i’ve ever cried so much or so long. even writing this, i’m crying all over again and it feels like it was last week, instead of last year.
we adopted avery from a rural shelter outside of austin, texas. we were “just looking” and absolutely not planning to adopt a kitty that day, but avery stole our hearts almost immediately. he was one year old, and had been captured by animal control (with his brother) a week prior. he had been an outside cat his whole life (we always figured he lived near a restaurant parking lot, because he was ultra friendly and liked to beg for food, heh), but he was extremely outgoing and the most mellow cat we’d ever met. it was like holding a ferret; he was just lounging in our arms five minutes after meeting us. we left to check out other shelters in the area, but we kept talking about avery, and decided to go right back and adopt him that evening.
because he was so outgoing and silly, we thought he seemed more like a dog than a cat, and because he was grey (or “blue” in animal colors), we started calling him our “little blue dog.” and then, because he was from texas, we added a little southern drawl, and “bluedawg” was born. those of you who have known me for a long time and from other places will recognize that name, i imagine.
avery lived with us in austin for about five months, and then moved with us to milwaukee when we graduated. he lived in three different houses with us here, and he was the kind of cat who took everything in stride. we adopted finley when avery was four years old, and after making it clear that he was head honcho, he “adopted” finley and gave him baths and snuggled with him and play-fought with him, and just basically became best buddies for the ten years they lived together. we adopted maia when avery was nine years old, and again, he made it clear that he was in charge, and she absolutely fell in line. he wasn’t afraid of anything, and he was hilariously noisy. one of the biggest things we realized after he was gone was how quiet finley and maia are on a day-to-day basis. avery was forever yelling and making himself known, and you could carry on entire conversations with him.
i feel like i could write forever and never do him justice, and i already feel like i’m being self-indulgent. i just really needed an outlet today, because i’m missing him in a really heart-hurting way. thanks for listening. avery, you are loved, and you are missed. <3