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Remembering with Thanks...

Even though today is Thanksgiving for the entire population of the United States, it is also a special day for me because it was the birthday of my most beloved pet, Bosco, who passed away two years ago. He would have been 23 years old today if he was still with me. I don’t think of him as much as I used to but I still miss him very much and without the ability to have another cat, there is a void that remains in my heart since his passing. He was an extraordinary companion during my time of acute illness and I don’t know how I could have made it through those first few years without him by my side in this bed of pain and suffering. So, for Thanksgiving this year, I will give thanks that the Lord sent him in my path to help me navigate the initial stages of Chronic Lyme Disease.

Bosco liked to wait for me to finish my cereal so he could have the milk that was left over. He would patiently wait at my feet while I ate my Frosted Flakes, staring me down as each spoonful entered my mouth, as if to say, “Aren’t you finished yet?” When I would finally finish my breakfast, I would give him the bowl and after only a few sips of the milk he would have had enough and would simply walk away from the dish with plenty left in the bowl. I never could understand what he was thinking. I guess he just wanted a taste of what I was having.

Bosco slept a lot as he got older. He had been very healthy throughout his life having only undergone one major surgery when he was 14 years old to remove an abcess from the back of his neck. Otherwise, he had the typical chronic illnesses of old age, a little congestive heart failure, some arthritis, some hearing loss and vision loss and a little kitty dementia that would cause him to cry if he didn’t know where I was in the house. All of his conditions were controlled by medications and he wasn’t in any pain so we elected to let nature run its course and let him pass when his time came. If I ever were to see him suffering, I would do the humane thing and put him down.

As he got older, he had difficulty maintaining his weight and his appetite wasn’t that good. Therefore, every night he would get a “Bosco Buffet” to see what would strike his fancy for dinner! I figured this was an appropriate picture considering that everyone will be pulling themselves up to tables stacked high with platters full of food on this Thanksgiving Day to celebrate over feasts with their families. My beloved kitty got to eat like this every night just so I could maintain his weight in order to keep him alive and with me as long as possible. He would only take a few bites of each dish and leave the rest, but so long as he ate something, I was happy. I went through A LOT of cat food in those final few years.

Then there was always room for dessert! Bosco’s favorite dessert was banana pudding. He would wait until I had finished my share of pudding and then I would let him lick what was left over in the bowl. He was in heaven. He liked yogurt too but banana pudding was by far the best. He would hover over me on the couch like a vulcher just waiting until I would let him have access to the bowl. I was just so happy that he wanted to eat something that I was thrilled to give it to him! Anything to put some pounds on my little man and I was content.

Then it was time for bed with Mama. He slept by my side every night (and day) for all of the years that I had him. He was the greatest comfort to me during my time of severe illness and never left my side during his last two years of life when I was bedridden and suffering the most. I know that he would have stayed with me if he could have, if his little heart could have held out longer, just to make sure that I had gotten better. He hung in there for almost 21 years by my side and for that, I am so very thankful. I know that he had to cross the Rainbow Bridge and I mercifully helped him go when he was suffering. It was the right thing to do. I will see him again someday and we will cuddle like we used to.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the cats who have been a part of my life Bosco and Meisha. Each of them played a major role at different times in my life, both contributing in their own way to making me into the person that I am today. I will always cherish the unconditional love, support and compassion these animals have added to my life. Happy Birthday Bosco, I miss you very much.

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