Tuck’s 84 in dog years, still he’s such a little boy.”
His stocking’s hung on high again. He’s asking for a toy.
“A raw hide too would sure be sweet,” he told his sister Tink.
“So get that list to Santa quick! You’ll miss him if you blink.”
“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” – St. Francis of Assisi –
Even one sunbeam is a gift from above in mid January and I was particularly grateful they were present early yesterday morning.
Mr. Bojangles, my hospice cat, was warmed by those same sunbeams as he took his last little breath.
My heart was warmed some as well.
It seems Mr. Bojangles decided to leave on his own terms.
He passed away peacefully while the car was warming up so I could drive him to our vet.
However, Mr. Bojangles earlier days had been anything but cozy, and were laced with many shadows. He had originally come to the shelter as part of an animal cruelty case.
Yet his days in my home appeared to be happy ones for him. He fit right in with the household and immediately claimed his special spot on a desk near a window.
It was just perfect for catching a sunbeam or two, as well as a quick catnap.
Mr. Bojangles passed exactly one month after he came to us from the shelter.
Though his time here was brief, I will always remember the sunny days we spent together and smile.
And I am at peace knowing the shadows in his life are finally gone forever.
I spent Christmas Eve four years ago in an empty hospital watching Saturday Night Live reruns with my husband, Richard.
It was always his favorite show.
I held his frail right hand in mine, but found myself smiling.
My husband slept mostly, yet didn’t seem to be in pain.
Richard was in hospice at the time and wasn’t expected to make it until Christmas Day.
Though my mind was sometimes on overtime processing a host of decisions and emotions, I still found something beautiful about my husband’s hospice experience.
You see I often found myself living in the moment as well.
Maybe that’s why I found myself drawn to go back to see a special hospice cat I met last week at a local shelter.
This dear man will be joining me for Christmas Eve, and for the rest of his days.
The happy cat’s name is Mr. Bojangles, and it seems he still likes to dance.
At least for now.
But of course, I’ll still be there even when he doesn’t.
After all, that’s what life’s all about.
“I’m a hospice cat, yet I still have a life to live,
I’m a hospice cat, but I have so much love to give.”
I met a charming new friend last Friday evening as I dropped off my year end donation at the local animal shelter.
He was resting not far from the front desk as if he was waiting just for me.
I was saddened some as I saw on a nearby sheet of paper that he was a hospice cat.
And he was estimated to be only about eight years old.
I knew I wanted a picture of this special friend to bring home.
I didn’t have a camera, so I grabbed a pencil and found a torn Christmas card envelope inside my bag that I could use to sketch a quick portrait.
Once finished, the two of us spent about a half an hour together visiting.
My friend’s soft purrs seemed to say alot as we played with a shiny red and green ball and a tiny stuffed purple mouse. His sweet face kept looking up at mine, smiling it seemed with his heart shaped nose.
I smiled back.
After a while he looked a little tired.
And it seemed I was as well.
As I opened my bag to put the envelope back inside, I thought to myself how this little cat had opened my heart some on a cold December night.
“Merry Christmas dear one.”
“I’ll be back again soon,” I told him.
And I know that’s one New Year’s resolution I will definitely be keeping.
Influenced by his chi sister Tinkerbelle, Rex has taken his role as ‘Elf-In Training’ quite seriously.
After I helped him put on his official t-shirt today, Rex ran to the porch to survey the field in our snowy back yard.
He seemed to be keeping score of just whose been naughty or nice.
Those rambunctious rabbits received seven boisterous barks, with the squirrels scoring a mere two guttural grunts.
Looking a bit worn out after his shift, Rex retired to his comfy Christmas crate.
I tried to remove his little elf shirt for him, but he responded with a tiny growl.
Rex is two years old now, and a feisty fourteen in dog years.
Perhaps a little attitude is to be expected, since he is a teenager.
Though I admit I still started to sing “you better watch out, you better not cry” while he softly snored himself to sleep.
Just in case he was listening.
“You’ve got a job to do,” I told Tinkerbelle this morning.
Though I knew she probably didn’t understand.
I’m pretty sure dressing up in a Mrs. Santa Claus costume wasn’t exactly something Tink had signed up for.
“But Tinkerbelle, spreading holiday cheer this December is even more important than usual.” I added.
“After all, the news lately hasn’t been exactly sweetness and light so I was thinking you could help out a little. You know, maybe spread some of that fairy dust around.”
She finally seemed to acquiesce.
So I quickly slid the little red dress over Tink’s head as she excitedly tried to chew off the $1.00 thrift store price tag.
And she appeared even more excited once she eyed the original $20.00 tag directly underneath.
I’m pretty sure it was my imagination again.
Still, I told Tink we’d be donating the difference to the food shelf which is one of the many causes the thrift shop supports next door.
She then looked up at me for a while and slowly licked my hand.
In turn, I rewarded Tink with a treat which she immediately carried over to her chi-brother Rex’s food bowl.
I watched her drop it in.
It seems that Tink maybe one very sweet, and smart little cookie after all.