|||||Complete and utter silence||]|
At about 12 am today I went in to check on the kittens. Chip was in the box with them, and three of them were nursing, but one was not. It felt cold to the touch and he was breathing loudly, and he was wretching, cauing him to drool at the mouth. Something was not right. I got Dan to come downstairs and check on it, and he said it was definitely sick. Of course I started to cry, the poor thing was barely moving in my hand. Dan called his mom and she told me that the kitten probably wouldn't make it and there was nothing I could do. I frantically called Kim, asking her to come home from Joy's party so we could take it to the vet. Dan seemed resigned to let it just die right there, but Kim, Morgan and I resolved to take it to a 24 hour vet center in Sycamore Township. It was a half hour drive and Kim had the kitten wrapped up in her hat to keep it warm and tried to feed it with a bottle.
When we got there the receptionist raced to take him in the back where he could be checked out. Morgan said that this place was better than most human hospitals! I had to fill out the paperwork about the baby, and I realized that we hadn't given it a name. My eyes filled with tears, I turned and said to Kim, "It doesn't even have a name". Kim was crying too, and she said we should name it "Hope" because we hoped that he would be ok.
Unfortunately, there was nothing we could do. The doctor came in and told us that he was dying and the best solution would be to put the kitten to sleep to end its suffering. Morgan seemed not to like the idea, and since all three of us were owners, we had to come to a unanimous decision. She wanted to take this one back home and see if it would spontaneously recover, but the doctor said there was no chance. The baby was breathing as if it was going to die soon. She also wanted to take it home because if it was going to die anyway, we should save our money and use it in case this happens to another kitten. I couldn't bare to have it suffer though. Yes, I had only had it for five days, but it was my baby, and I loved him. Kim and I pretty much settled on the idea of putting it down. As upset as we were, it was the right decision to end the pain. I had to sign the papers allowing them to do it and we waited. I asked the receptionist if she could call the doctor and ask her to find out if it was a boy or a girl, bacause we didn't know. It was a little boy.
They brought Hope out in a little box so we could bury him outside of the Red House. The hospital was really amazing to us, because they gave us a discount on the costs. It normally costs $65 for them to simply check an animal out without giving treatment. Our cost for check-up and euthanasia came to $37.
He was only alive for five days, and that's all it took to cause me to seriously grieve for him. Chip knew he was going to die, so she pushed him away, but I can't be as strong. People around me said not to get too attached because you will lose some, but I can't. I love so easily. What hurts even more is that Kim and I agreed that on Monday we're going to take Chip and the kittens to a no-kill shelter. Even though the others seem healthy I can't go through another death like this. The doctor also told us that most shelters will give Chip the vaccinations she needs to make sure that she and the kittens have a happy, healthy life. It's for the best, but I've raised Chip. When she wouldn't come near a person because she was ferile, I tamed her. I fed her, kept her in the house in the bitter cold, and supported her throughout her pregnancy and birth. I love her, and although it's hard, taking her somewhere where she can be better taken care of is the greatest show of love I can give. I just wish it didn't hurt so much...
After we got home at about 1:30 am, Morgan wrote this on our refridgerator:
"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches the soul
And sings without words
And never stops - at all.
Good-bye little Hope.