I look forward to Lavinia and Rick Ross’s monthly update at:
https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com/ It is a collection of photos and text documenting their progress in their vineyard, flower gardens (some of which are memorial flower beds), and more. One section is a report from their many cats, among them Willow, whose story I will turn over to Lavinia:
As you know, our old calico Willow has been declining the last few years with failing kidneys, and has been on subcutaneous fluids for the last few weeks. Her hind legs have slowly been getting weaker, allowing me to do more for her, but also signalling that the end was nearing.
Willow stopped eating last night, and the feeding stimulant from the vet did not work today. She was pooping in her bed this morning, and lying in it, her hind legs seeming to be weaker than the night before. I cleaned her up in the sink, and she did not fight that so hard today.
It turned out Willow had come from a nearby property where the people had recently moved in. When I found out where she belonged, I attempted to give her back, but the man didn’t want her anymore. He had fallen and broken his leg, had no insurance and no job. She had escaped the first night and they had presumed her dead. So I took her in, fixed her up, and she became companion to Rick’s mother.
Given her extreme age and kidney problems she has been battling for years, the decision was made to let her go and join the Greater Universe as its newest citizen. Rick and I took her in to River’s Edge in late afternoon, and Dr. Hayes assisted her in peacefully passing on while we were there with her. Willow went quickly, and without pain. She was approximately 22 years old by all reckonings.
In Willow’s past life with the neighbor, she had been his sister’s cat. The sister died, then his mother took the cat in. His mother died, and he got the cat along with his father. He didn’t want the cat as she had a history of peeing everywhere, but my guess is that she was probably sick with urinary problems all those years. His father didn’t want to put her down, and they brought the cat to Oregon with them. We’ve battled her urinary problems all this time.
Her vet here in town, who retired two years ago, thought she had a condition where the neck of the bladder did not close completely. That would explain the urine leakage in her sleep. This also make an easy route for infection, and so the cycles of trips to the vet continued. I moved her care to River’s Edge after the Doc retired, as they do emergency care, and Dr. Hayes is an excellent cat vet.
The times between trips to the vet started growing shorter and shorter, and finally ended up with the subcutaneous fluids at home as the urine was pouring out of her and she was dehydrated. I was doing her towel laundry 2 or 3 times a day, and changing her bedding during the night when I woke up.
Due to the winter darkness and rain, Willow will be buried tomorrow morning at sunrise out by the persimmon tree, facing east towards the hazelnut grove. I think she would have liked the view from there. I like to think of her feisty spirit hunting in the tall grass, observing the birds, deer, all the various creatures that have come through the farm at one time or another. Rest in peace, little one.
Old Willow just ran out of road finally, and was not enjoying life. She will be missed.
Lavinia wrote this postlude to Willow’s journey:
I finished her gravesite this afternoon, putting some decorative stonework on it and planting daffodils. The weather was partly cloudy with some strong sun this afternoon. The old calico is enjoying a good run over the Rainbow Bridge.
Longer than my usual post, but I want to share how Lavinia and Rick cared for their beloved Willow though many people would have turned her away years ago because of her age and health issues.
Because they didn’t put her in a shelter, Willow spent the last years of her life enjoying the pleasures of Salmon Brook Farms and the love and care of Lavinia and Rick Ross. I join them in mourning Willow.
Mr. Doug, so-o sorry for what Willow’s family is going through and you as well. I imagine that Willow held on for as many years as she did because of the luv, compassion and care that Lavinia and Rick gave gave her when she joined their family. RIP Willow.
There is a lot to that, I think.
Thank you, Valentine. We loved Willow very much.
A fine tribute to a beautiful soul Doug!
Thank you, Tofino Photography. Doug wrote a wonderful tribute to Willow.
We all have known a “Willow” in our time. Mine was a cat called “Pug”.
Pug must have been a beautiful little soul.
we so do love our little furry friends don’t we!
You know it!
Willow continues to walk with you,she will wait for you.
We still feel her presence here. I hope to see her again.
Oh I’m positive that will happen! All things loving are drawn to each other.
22 years is a good run for a cat, and she was clearly loved and well taken care of. Those last years of her life despite all the illness in them must have been good years.
I think they were just as you describe them.
Thank you Franhune4u. We miss Willow very much.
That is very sad..
Our old girl ran out of road. We will miss her, but she lives in our hearts forever.
What a shame we have to go through so much turmoil in life. I guess this is so we know the good times when we get them and boy do we appreciate the good peeps and loving environment we get. Willow is at peace now with many other angels. She will always hold a place in your heart.
I am inspired by the Rosses for many things, among them their tender hearts.
Thank you, Jean. Willow is at peace, and will always have a special place in our hearts. She was a unique cat.
Thank you so much for sharing this post about the care your wonderful friends gave this sweet old girl. It makes us all aware of how much are furkids mean to us. Best wishes for Christmas and New Year’s for you and The Boys !
Thank you. Imfeel strongly about caring for our fur friends at all stages of life.
Thank you for reading Willow’s story, catladymacm. Willow was a sweet old girl.
A beautiful post. Thanks so much for sharing Willow’s story. Glad she had such a loving end to her life.
I appreciate Lavinia telling me this in an email. I knew it was a story that needed to be shared, and she reviewed and approved it first.
Thank you leggypeggy. We tried to give her the best best life we could.
They have been such good friends to me, I can feel their pain in all this.
Wonderful perople, aren’t they? I wish they were closer to where I live. I’d especially enjoy meeting their critters.
And we would all love to meet you, too!
Thank you, GP. The decision of when to euthanize never gets any easier. It is painful.
Sadly that is very true.
Awww. Willow sounds like a magnificent cat. How lovely that she found the home she deserved.
My exact feelings.
She was magnificent. <3 Thank you, iamthesunking.
I’m so sad about Willow too, although I am glad she had such loving care in her later years. Older kitties are some of the sweetest and bring much joy; they do break hearts when it’s time for them to depart to the Rainbow Bridge.
I agree exactly. I remember a calico that belonged to my neighbors. She was in cat years my age at the time, and we had a special bond because we both had health issues that made us cranky. LOL! She was a sweet kitty as long as you respected an old injury to a leg that had been repaired with a metal plate. In cold weather, it was uncomfortable for her.
They do tend to depart sooner, but you are right, older kitties are just as lovable as younger ones. We were pleased to be able to care for old Willow, and yes, she did break our hearts. She was with us for about 6 1/2 years.
Thank you, Doug, Andy and Dougy, for sharing Willow’s story with your readers. She was a unique spirit, and we were blessed to have her for as long as we did.
I felt it important to honor her memory. She wasa fortunate kitty girl to have you and Rick in her life when she was an old kitty.
RIP Willow. You were a lucky cat.
Thank you, Kate. Yes, she was a lucky kitty.
That she was, Kate….
How does it happen..that i cry for a creature I never met.. is it my own mortality that I also question..I am a animal person but still this struck me odd for some unquestionable reason..there are no coincidences in life..I am not sick but I am now suffering with chronic pain and psoriasis which comes with inflammation & have a great many personal problems..too much life without any fun…I am a creature of the universe and my spirit is restless..there will be peace for Christmas but after that a along period of upheaval…we will just have to wait and see( Doug I wish you a Happy and a Healthy…its only because we go back a long way that I felt comfortable enough to write this)
You are in my thoughts and prayers, Sheldon.
Empathy is a good thing, Sheldon, even though it can cause distress and pain for what’s happening to others, even a sweet, old kitty girl. I will miss her “reports” on Salmon Brook Farms.