Tuesday, January 10, 2012


There are few times in the life of a pet owner when a most unique creature enters their world and proceeds to redefine the meaning of loving an animal.  Cats being the quirky critters they are, are all the more special when they are able to endear to them almost everyone who meets them. 

Cisco, and brother Poncho, entered my life sixteen years ago as young felines in need of a veterinarian .  It was a fleeting interlude of doctor and patient.  That is until by chance, they were reintroduced into my daily routine.  For their first twelve years, Cisco and Poncho ruled their country estate. Brothers standing together, fending all whom crossed their way.  Coyotes, hawks,  raccoons, opossums, stray dogs, wandering cats, nearby road traffic.  They shared their outdoor world mostly unscathed.  That is until their farm was sold and they were abandoned to fend for themselves.  The temporary solution was to take them into my home until we moved to the farm.  So quickly did they adapt to indoor life, with only a few grumbles regarding the lack of fresh rabbit or mice on the menu,  the brothers gained a lasting foothold on my heart. 

Cisco and his genuine love of people quickly made him a favorite of everyone in the clinic.  Official greeter, consoler, entertainer of children, and lap kitty.  He wore all hats with equal diligence.  With his snagged tooth smile, he regularly pushed into an exam room to seek a head scratch.   He often found the lap of a grieving person, suffering from the loss of a pet, and provide gentle and  patient reassurance.  Children were his favorite target, often seeking them as soon as they entered his domain. Always gentle and kind, we had no worries when Cisco was on the job.
We almost lost him two years ago to sepsis from a perforated bowel caused by cancer.  At fourteen, he endured bowel removal and chemotherapy.  Though not a good patient, he resumed his normal duties as though nothing had happened.  His treatment had weakened his body, but not his spirit.  Then, an unfortunate run in with someone’s feet left him with torn ligaments in his knee.  Many will remember him hobbling around in a full leg splint for three months, garnering all the empathy he could from anyone who would listen.  We still laugh to the image of him tap, tap, tapping down the hall with the splint no more bothersome than his daily bath.   He has endured broken teeth, mouth sores, thyroid disease, debilitating sinus infection, and allergies.  I have no doubt he used more than nine of his lives. This proved to be good fortune everyone who has encountered him these last few years.

Cisco’s final battle proved more than we could surmount.  As his friends surrounded him and tears fell to his coat, he raised his valiant head, gave a weak farewell and slipped away from us.  As I left the building, the most beautiful full moon was peaking the horizon. His body will return to his farm for burial, but Cisco’s spirit was, at this moment, rising with the full moon.  His presence in our lives embodied the sentiment of Maya Angelou, “…people will never forget how you made them feel.”   I have rarely been so moved by one small creature, and Cisco has branded my heart.  Be in peace my friend.
1995 to 2012

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