The loss of a pet is never easy, especially when it is completely unexpected. Life is like that, full of twists and turns and ups and downs, constant challenges that test our strength. Last night I came home and my little Boo Radley was dead on my kitchen floor. He hadn't appeared sick, just as sweet as ever when I'd left the house earlier in the day. But now it was 1 am and Booey was gone.
It was the week of my birthday, almost 10 years ago, when Boo came into my life. I had been planning a huge party...not even sure what year that was now...my 24th? 25th?...and my older cat Kiwi had gone missing. It was the day of the party, and she had been gone three days. My idiot ex-boyfriend at the time worked at the Hotel Del and when he came home from work, had a box. Apparently there are a lot of feral cats by the Del, and one had a litter of kittens and so they were trying to adopt them out so as to reduce their population on the beach. I got Boo. Instantly in love with him, at the same time irritated by my boyfriend's insensitivity...Kiwi had only been gone a couple days. Boo was the only good thing that ever came of that fucked up relationship. But instantly I loved that little kitty with the clipped ear (something they do when they spay or neuter ferals).
We had a great party, though poor Boo was quarantined in the bathroom the whole night as his introduction to my 55 lb. dog and my other cat needed time. My cousin and I were cleaning up after the party, talking about the night as we did dishes when we started to hear a loud mewing. We ran outside and Kiwi had come back, walking along my side wall, dusty and draped in cobwebs. We figured she must've been locked in someone's garage, perhaps. My cousin looked at me and says, "you can't keep him or you're the girl with three cats!" "But I already love him!" and that was that.
If you've never had pets and felt that love, I feel very sorry for you. And if you have had pets, you know that every animal can have a wildly different personality that make them unique. Boo Radley was an amazing personality. He quickly bonded with my dog while my two girl cats had their own special relationship. They'd fight every once in a while, of course, usually when Boo forgot that he was dwarfed by Pascha, but he was so funny in trying to earn Pascha's love. He groomed her, licking her eyes and ears until she'd swat him away. I'd be sound asleep and hear things being pulled from my lower cabinets and knocked off the table only to realize Pascha's bowls were empty and Boo was telling me to feed the dog. He'd gone through phases...at times he slept next to me on my pillow, sometimes up in a basket on top of my bookshelf, sometimes knocking 50 cds onto the floor to sleep on the entertainment center. In the past week or two he'd been sleeping in a dark corner of my closet. I didn't realize this was him probably being ill. He always wanted to go outside and I'd let him run around with the dog before corralling him back into the house as he'd meow and look at me with disappointment. Sometimes he wouldn't come back in right away, until he realized Pascha was back inside and he'd cry until I'd open the door to let him in. It is because of Boo and his habit for laying on my chest when I'd lie in bed with my laptop that I can type entire blogposts without seeing my keyboard or screen.
(Boo caught in a compromising position)
Last year when Monkey died, I realized I was in a shitty situation because I had four animals that were all relatively close in age and we know they don't live forever, but Boo passing hits me a little harder still. He was a total lover and I was lucky to belong to him for the past decade. Telling pet stories is pretty annoying and falls just behind talking about the weather or telling people about your dreams, so I'll just leave it at that and say thanks to everyone who tweeted/facebooked me last night and this morning. It means a lot and I know I'll be fine and I have a lifetime of pets that I'll love and who will subsequently break my heart. And it will be worth it every time. Boo certainly was.