When I was about 10 years old, my parents brought me to a shelter to pick out a cat. I chose the prettiest and sweetest one and named her Tiffany, which quickly shortened to “Tiffy”. She insisted on being an outdoor cat, and I always worried about her when she was out. One day, upon returning from a trip with my grandma at age 12, I was greeted with some sad news. Tiffy had come home with a gunshot wound, and the vet was unable to save her. The news hit me hard, and after sitting and talking about it with my parents for a while, they said it would be best to go rest in my room. I opened my bedroom door only to find two sweet fuzzy gray & white kittens to comfort me. For the next 12 years, these sweet kitties, Toby & Brandi became members of the family. They were indoor cats, of course, and were very affectionate and loving. Brandi would even put her arm around me as if she was hugging me when i carried her around the house. They always knew when something was bothering me and knew just what to do to comfort me.


One day, Brandi started acting strange and wouldn’t eat or drink. When I took her to the vet, he had bad news – she had leukemia, was suffering, and wouldn’t last much longer. This happened while my parents were on vacation, so it was even harder without them. It had to be my decision to put her to sleep. Our vet, Del, who is a friend of the family, came in to work outside of his regular hours just for us to make sure Brandi was as comfortable as possible. My brother, Derek, drove while I held Brandi tightly in my arms. He offered a comforting hand to her and spoke softly to her at every stop light. When we arrived at the animal hospital, Del held Brandi and kissed her on the head while he led us to a room and told us that he would give us a bit to say goodbye. He gave her a sedative to calm her down in meantime. Just like Mark said in his book, I felt like I was betraying her by doing this, and wanted to scoop her up and run out of there, but I didn’t…. Derek and I petted her and told her everything would be better as Del put the needle in her leg. Her eyes quietly closed, and I could feel the life leaving her body… That was the longest drive home, and I will never forget the songs that were playing on the car stereo – “The Name” and “Better Than This” by New End Original. And when we arrived home, the house was so quiet.


Tara from AK