Not long after getting home from work, I was sitting at my computer when I heard Mikey cry out. I turned to look, and he was curled up in his usual spot on his bed, which also serves as my bed.

At first I thought that maybe he was just dreaming. A couple of minutes later he cried again. I walked over to him and put my hand on his head. He opened his eyes but didn’t move. I knew then that something was wrong.

I layed down next to him and gently stroked his head.

“What’s the matter sweetie?”

He had a look in his eyes that really scared me, and I began to notice an aweful odor.

He had wet the bed.

I scooped him up in my arms. His body was totally limp, and I began to cry. I knew right then that my little buddy was preparing to leave me.

I cradled him for about an hour, hoping he would snap out of whatever it was that was ailing him. I gave him food and milk, but his only movement was to occasionally stretch out his legs.

I wrapped him in a towel and placed him on his pillow on the couch where I was to keep an all-night vigil. There were times when he seemed content and peaceful, but as the night wore on, that changed.

I knew the end was near, yet I searched for and saw signs of improvement. They were never really there.

I slept a little. When I woke up Mikey still had that look of anquish on his face, and I knew what I had to do.

The morning dragged on forever, and yet 9 o’clock seemed to come too fast. I called the vet’s office, and they said to bring him in right away. I cried the whole way.

The vet came out to the waiting area to get us and gave me a big hug, and we went into the examination room. I watched her carefully, hoping she would give me some good news.

She picked Mikey up, looked at me and said, “It’s time.”

I burst into tears again and said, “I know, I know.”

Given my state, the vet felt that when the time came it might be better if they took him into another room. But I said, “No, I want to hold him.”

We were left alone in the room, and I held him in my arms for what seemed like forever. I prayed that he would leave this world on his own, so I would not have to make the decision. The longer I held him, the less likely I felt that I could make that decision.

But he was as strong as he was sweet, to which his nineteen years attest, and he held on. Occasionally he would look up at me with eyes that said, “Please help me, mommy.”

I still see those eyes.

The vet came back and we placed him on his pillow. I held onto him, kissed his head, and told him I loved him.

He cried out as the first needle entered his leg and I cried, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

I kept hoping for a miracle; that my loyal friend would suddenly jump up and say, “Just kidding.” And we would go home.

The second needle was administered, and his breathing stopped. The vet checked his heart. He was gone, and I felt a piece of my heart being ripped from me.

I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it.

What can I say about Mikey?

He was my buddy. During the warm months when the windows were open, I would arrive home and he would be sitting in the bedroom window. He would meow to me as I got out of my car. As I walked up the stairs, he would run to the door and greet me as I came in.

I would pick him up and cuddle him, and he would bury his nose as deeply as he could into my neck. He was a big-time cuddler. It seemed like he could never be close enough. It was like he wanted to be part of me. He is. He always will be.

Over the past few years Mikey had lost his hearing, and he slept alot, so he wouldn’t be at the door when I got home. I missed that. Still, as soon as I turned on the light, he would jump off the bed, and we would go through the same old routine.

Despite not being able to get around as well he still would follow me everywhere I went. He always wanted to be near me.

Intitially, I was going to post only a couple of photos of Mikey and forego any mushy, gooey sentiments. However,I feel that this is the least I can do in memory of an incredible animal that gave the world nineteen (19) years. Seventeen of those he gave to me.

So Mikey, thank you for the fun and the memories and the years. But most of all, thank you for your love. I love you.

Until we meet again, my little lion.

A couple of weeks after his death, I was holding him in my arms, and as I came out of my dream, I hugged him. I swear that when I woke up I could feel and smell him.

Dawn from New Jersey