Happy Tails

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January 16, 2017

Twenty-two years ago I adopted a 2-yr old 3lb stray kitty, named Rusty, from the Toronto Humane Society. I changed his name to Gilbert. I also made a promise that I would keep him safe, happy and healthy. The first year was a challenge, he became ill, had to be hospitalized for a week, and was so weak he often could not do what he thought he wanted to; things like jumping up to look out a window. Gilbert was a fast learner, you only had to show him something once and he would catch on – jumping onto the couch, then onto the radiator, and over to the window. Unfortunately that also worked with things you did not want him to learn. A baby gate would keep him out of a room, until that time I stepped over the gate to get into the room.

I never imagined what an amazing boy he would become. So smart, inquisitive, loving and so very loyal. He learned a number of commands; come here, let’s go, supper time, and was always by my side. Gilbert was a talker, and would both initiate conversations and respond. He had lots of personality for sure, and would be dismissive of most people he met. However, he did not like to be touched by anyone other than me. This could be challenging at his annual medical check-ups, but his vet understood and we never had an issue. About 3-yrs ago I noticed that he had become completely deaf, so I had to re-learn how to communicate; flicking the outdoor light to get his attention, being careful not to sneak up on him. With age, his hips became brittle. Step stools had to be set at the couches and bed, the litter box had to come up from the basement. More time was spent laying in front of the fireplace or on the bed in the sun. Two years ago at his “palliative care” visit, his vet told me that Gilbert has made a lasting impression on her. When I noticed that he was in pain, I knew I had to make the most difficult decision. His vet came to the house to make his passing as peaceful as possible for both him and me.

Gilbert was so much a part of every decision I made, including the home I live in. I may have rescued him, but he brought so much more to me. Gilbert was a unique boy and made an impression on most everyone he encountered. I never imagined that he would be a part of my family for 22 years. His longevity is a testament to a loving home and high quality nutrition. I will miss my sweet boy who was with me March 18, 1995 – January 9, 2017 RIP.

Colleen Sonnenberg