Monday, February 11, 2013

Goodbye Daniel, My Heart

Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I bring the news of my beautiful Daniel's passing.
He took his final breath in my arms last night.

Daniel, on a closely supervised outdoor adventure...

For those of you who did not know of Daniel, he was brought into the shelter in his old age. He was so frail.  They said he was fourteen but my experience tells me he was closer to 18 or 19.
I met him on a transport from Southern Illinois.  My job that day was to bring him to a vet on the North side of Chicago.  If he lived he would have spent his remaining days in a cage.
The vet was very far away and I was unable to make it that day so Daniel came to spend the night with us.  He was filthy dirty, I had never seen anything like it.  He was also covered in so many fleas that he was bleeding under his mats of fur.

I gave him two showers, which he allowed.  When he was wet, I could see the full extent of his starvation and neglect.  I decided I needed him.

Daniel spent 10 days and nights at the vet.  He was so sick.  His story is here. Please read it?
I want the world to know that Daniel LIVED!

Friends, there are so many more like my darling boy.  Too many.  For whatever reason, his original owners did not see his true worth but I was blessed to know him for five short months.

Because he was FIV positive, it could be dangerous for him to be around the other cats so he lived in the upstairs guest bathroom.  I truly hated that.  I lamented each day that he was stuck there.  The bathroom is large (8x10) but I abhorred shutting that door each time I visited him. I cried most times. I wanted him to be out with us, with his family.  I feel I could have done more to make that happen.  I wish I could have shown him better that I was grateful for his love. I always think I have more time.  I wanted him to spend the Summer in the gardens with me and Gracie.  I think he was  formerly an outdoor cat and I think he would have loved that.  I had an idea for a large, long "cage" made with chicken wire that he could rest in while I worked.

Atticus, my black and white kitty, slept on the other side of Daniel's door, like a sentinel.  I think Atticus knew Danny was special.  Even at the end, as Daniel lay bundled  on my chest, in my bed, Atticus slept tail to tail with him but he never bothered him.
The hardest part is that I did not know Daniel.  I don't even know what his real name is.  Again, my tears fall because I did not know him well enough to know what brings him comfort.  I only know what I think he may have needed...and that is not enough.  Did he think about his original "owners"?  When he was sick and afraid, did he wonder why they were gone from him?  So many years spent together and now he was alone with a virtual stranger.  I'm sorry, friends, I cannot get this thought out of my head.  My heart is broken for these abandoned angels.

I never set out to get a cat.  God gave him to me...and I am eternally grateful and tremendously humbled by such a gift.

Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement for Daniel.  As I lay with him in his final hours I would occasionally check my blog and read your words to him and tell him you were his friends too.




  1. Unfortunately our thoughts of could haves and wonder ifs get the best of us. I lay down at night and think what else could I have done to make my baby better. All in all you loved Daniel and were there for him till the end. There is no greater love than that. You saved him! He saved you! That is the love of a pet. They will always be in out hearts and their memories live forever!
    My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Prayers!

  2. We lost a wonderful kitty who adopted us by finding his way into our yard and hearts. He died two years ago at the young age of ten due to leukemia and lymphoma. We tried a course of chemotherapy which did not work. We kept him at home, comfortable with fluids infused under the skin (for a while), all manner of specially prepared foods (for a while) and pain medicine. My husband slept on the floor (the kitty's preferred spot - as the slate floor was cool) with him the night he died. We buried him with grandchildren in attendance (he loved them and they, him) after a memorial service where we each said what we had loved about him. He is buried in our back yard under an olive tree, beneath a plaque that reads, "If love could have save you, you would have lived forever."
    You are not alone. Daniel knew that you loved him. Your heart will heal, but it will take time. We miss our little fellow every day and have his photo in our bedroom.
    A year to the day after our beloved cat died, we were awakened in the middle of the night by the sound of a little cat crying. We were outside in the front yard with flashlights at 2 AM, but the crying stopped whenever we moved. I had to sleep with ear plugs to get any rest that night. In the morning, I found a little one pound kitten, unweaned, about four weeks old at the base of our enclosed courtyard wall that stands six feet tall. She had hidden herself in a mass of creeping fig at the base of the wall. We think that her mother dropped her into our courtyard to protect her from coyotes. Our departed kitty used to sit on the top of the wall at that exact spot at the end of the day to survey his land. Strangely enough, she has his color and markings, though not his big blue eyes. We adopted her into our lives and after she had had her immunizations and had been spayed, we allowed her into our back yard. The back yard is about an acre and the first spot that she chose to go to was beside the plaque "If love could have save you,..." She stayed there for about an hour, serenely contemplating her surroundings. We are not into magical thinking, but it was certainly eerie. We do think our little fellow somehow arranged for her to come to us.
    And so, we adopt those tossed away or lost pets that come to our door and incorporate them into our lives (we now have three kitties who have come to us this way); we have provided for them in our wills so that they can live in new homes with their medical needs covered; and I have named The Humane Society, local shelters, etc as memorials at the time of my death. I cannot do what you do with animal rescue services as my heart would break every day.
    But know that Daniel knew and loved you in his short time in your care and your heart.

  3. Oh, Andie, I know Daniel's story. You were so fortunate to find each other. So sorry for your loss.

  4. My heart is broken for you, Andie. At least he passed in your arms, feeling safe...comforted...not alone. I'm sure he rested in that. Now he's running in heaven with all the other cats, free to roam and play as he pleases. If the Lord is to return on a white horse, surely animals are in heaven!!

    Wish I could give you a big hug. But, since I can't, I'll hug my dogs a little harder today on Daniel's behalf.


  5. I'm so sorry. The only thing I can think of are these words from Corinthians........
    "Love Never Fails".

  6. So sorry, Andie. I had an fiv positive cat, too. I had him and his brother since they were kittens and then one year when he had a check up the vet told me he was fiv positive. He was always up to date on his shots, but still got it. I did not isolate him and he lived about five more years. His brother never got sick, but was later killed by two dogs in our yard. It is always so hard to lose our beloved pets.

  7. Oh, Andie, I'm so very sorry! My prayers are with you.
    Shelia ;)

  8. So sorry to hear of another neglected animal, Andie how do you do it? You are so tender hearted that these precious pets continue to break your heart. You are certainly a very special lady. Big hugs, Cindy

  9. This little Kitty is going to make it shine, this little Kitty will shine. Wings have already grown and he is setting on a lap in Heaven. My Missy and Prissy by his side. God's love has surrounded you, and you alone must move on and know with your heart another is on it's way. Blessings my friend. Richard and Sissy

  10. Daer Andie, don't be hard on yourself. You did what very few people will ever loved unconditionally and shared Daniel's story with us, it touched alot of hearts and through that more Daniel's will be loved....Bless your heart dear friend...Colette xxx

  11. I'm so sorry about that baby, but so glad he had someone to love him and pamper him at the end. Bless his little heart. I love animals too and can't stand to think of them being mistreated and unloved. Thinking of you and that sweet lil man.

  12. My heart aches for you, Andie. I'm sure that you did everything humanly possible for Daniel's well being, and comfort, and just think how wonderful that he could be with you, in your arms, during his final hours.

    Grieve, but don't blame yourself for anything that you felt that you left undone.

    He knew he was loved.

  13. So very sorry for the loss of your sweet Daniel. We love our sweet pets so very much - they leave behind holes in our hearts but sweet holes as we look back at all the precious memories we had with them.

    bee blessed

  14. The fact that he passed away peacefully in you arms instead of in a cage is the best thing that could have happened to him. He died loved and appreciated.



  15. You did so much and I am sure he loved and appreciated every minute with you.

  16. Andie, You were so good to look after Daniel. I'm sure he appreciated your care & love. Without you, he might have died neglected,hungry and flea bitten.

  17. Oh

    I am so sorry Andie.

    Much love. And when you are ready, give me the "green light" to start those drawings. Anita

    p.s., I wish I knew how to draw cats, just for you.

  18. Andie you are a true angel! Daniel was so lucky to have you even for a short time. What a lucky boy he was to have gotten to know you. You sent him on his journey a loved soul, keep that in your heart.


  19. I couldn't read this post.
    It was too painful.
    My best friend had her dog of 17 years leave her last weekend.
    I still mourn my dog and cat who have been dead for over 20 years.
    Animals are my weakness and the main beneficiaries of my charitable contributions.
    I'm always the one who takes in the stray, and finds its owner or a new home.
    You have such a big heart, and I wish we lived near each other.
    But....on a lighter note.....I mentioned you in my newest post!

  20. I am so sorry to hear of Daniel's passing. Thanks to you he left this world knowing he was loved and safe- I'm sure he didn't think about his old "owners" for a moment- and was just so happy he could spend his final days with someone who would do right by him. Pets can bring so much joy and heartbreak - I always think of the line "What a fearful thing to love what death can touch" I don't know if someone suggested this already but maybe have a fundraiser in his name for an animal charity.

  21. Oh, I'm so sorry Andie. As my chihiuahua, Fergie, lies next to me I can empathize with your pain. I will quote some lyrics that come to mind from the Beatles. "And in the end, the love you make, is equal to the love you take". Daniel was loved very much by you.

  22. I'm so very sorry to read of your precious kitty, Daniel's passing. He was a good kitty & you certainly made his last days on earth better.

    Comforting {{{HUGS}}}

  23. Bless you for giving Daniel all of that love at the end of his life~

  24. So sorry to hear this, Andie, but I know you loved him and tried to do your best for him, and I am sure he appreciated it. Take care.

  25. Andie, I am so sorry to hear of Daniel's passing. I was just thinking of him today! Please know that you gave him so, so much, just when he needed it most. We always wonder if we coudl have done more but really, when you give fro the heart, as you do, there is nothing better that you can give. Daniel knew it - how many cats would let a stranger give them a shower? He knew. He was loved and happy and he had the best he could get for the short time you had him. He will always be thankful and he will look down from Heaven and say to the other cats, "See her? She's my mom and she's the best!" Hugs, Leena

  26. Hello Andie. I know your pain... I had my boy for 13 years and at the moment he went forever I thought that I could have done more to keep him alive and pain free.
    Daniel's little face on the previous blog, broke my heart. I am sure he knows he was loved.
    I am sure that one day you will be able to see him again, happy and health.
    He's now pain free and free he is to play and run with all his friends in Heaven, living a beautiful life.
    A day will come where he will know that is time to meet you again. He will wait for you, standing the other side of the Rainbow Bridge and as soon as he sees you, he'll come running towards you. We never forget them, but they don't forget us either. Take care Honey.
    Love, Sonie

  27. Thank you for sharing this. We took in 2 cats with feline HIV and eventually they became very ill and had to be put down. We were very sad, but took comfort in the fact that they were well loved and lived well with us. Take care xob

  28. You broke my heart with Daniel's story. I am so sorry for your pain & his. I'd like to think he is hanging out with st. George, who knew chains & cages too well, and St. Daniel, his namesake.

  29. Andie,
    You gave Daniel a life he wouldn't have known otherwise.
    You added peace to his life, and a shelter he could find warmth and love in. His bathroom was a safe heaven for him and a grand mansion of space to live in. You met his passing wish, a place he could pass feeling comfort, and best of all love.

    Andie, I don't know how you do this, with there sweet furry faces in and out of your lives. Just like your Narnia post, it just wrenched at my heart..
    Your love of life and cat life is genuine and found deep within you to be a caretaker, thank you for adding something special to Daniels 9 lives.


  30. Such a sad story to read, but really he had comfort at the end when he most needed it. I know how when I feel sick just to hear my hubby say a comforting word makes me feel a little better. And Daniel felt that for sure Andie.

  31. I'm so sorry Andie at your Loss. But having a Loving End is Comforting to any Living thing. We too have had Fur Babies that came into our Lives and stayed for much too brief a time before passing from Time into Eternity, but I have a Peace knowing that during that brief time they surely FELT the Love extended towards them and I am confident Daniel FELT Loved and Protected in your Care.

    Hugs from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  32. Andie,
    There is never enough time. Never!

    Really, there are no valuable words that I can say to console you. But, cat lover that I am, I am typing in this comment anyway....

    You did the best possible for your beloved Daniel. Your head knows that, your heart hasn't accept that.

    Don't beat yourself up that he couldn't spend more time with the family. His disease prevented his safely doing so. It would not have been right to expose Atticus to the disease.

    As I read your post, I felt that Daniel understood more than you gave him credit for. As the saying goes, "Cats know things."

    I'm still grieving over the loss of my beloved Dusti. It's been six months, yet I miss her every day -- especially in the morning when she so often exhibited her wonderful ways. Until the cancer made her feel so unwell that she no longer did those things.


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