Dear Mark,
We had to put our sweet Bentley, a pure white Maine Coon cat, to sleep last night.  He was approx. 13 yo, we\’ve been blessed with having him in our family for 12 years.  He was extremely ill when we adopted him.  He nearly didn\’t make it back then.  But we loved him and he recovered.  We then had 3 children, who he either ran away from, protected or endured their laudings of love and attention.  He barely ever scratched them (only after he gave tons of warnings).

Yesterday afternoon, he suddenly developed trouble breathing, cried and gave me a panicked look.  I rushed him to a vet here in Fairfax (his normal one is in Leesburg and we didn\’t have time to get him out there in rush hour).  He was in distress and diagnosed with a thrombosis in his front leg and lungs (he had a heart condition that caused it).  The doctor said we could treat it, but that it would happen again, was painful for him and would take many weeks if not months to recover.  She couldn\’t guarantee it would do much good.  His vet in Leesburg concurred and said he wouldn\’t really have any quality of life and it would happen again.

I made the difficult decision to have him put to sleep.  It was so agonizing.  He was so precious to us!  He would come into the room, lay at our feet and just purr from being near us!!

We all (3 young kids included – 9, 7 & 6) went back and said goodbye to our precious Bentley- crying the whole time.  He purred for us again.  My husband took the children out and I stayed with him since I didn\’t want his last minutes to be with total strangers.  His precious demeanor was present to the end.  He purred until his heart stopped.

Bentley was so fun to have around, very playful in his younger years, comforting during the hard times (loss of a parent for each – my husband and I and during our oldest child\’s successful cancer treatment 2.5 years ago) patient with a little girl (my 7 yo) who \”loves him too much!\” and just a loving presence in our home.

He is incredibly missed by all of us!  I don\’t have many electronic pics, the one I found shows his patience with my daughter who decorated with leaves and cotton balls, but it\’s not cooperating w/ the download here.  He was white as the driven snow, cute pink nose, toes and ears with long whiskers, green eyes, softer than feathers, long but not super fluffy fur and big – 18 lbs.  Precious temperment and so wonderful.  We love Bentley so much and now have a strange emptiness in our home and our hearts without him!

Thanks for allowing us a place to share his memory!

Dan & Kim, Andrew, Elisa and Juliana from VA