It’s taken me awhile to share this, but yesterday was #nationalpetday and it triggered the hell out of me. I know that some people will not understand and that’s ok. I didn’t always understand people’s love for their pets, until I had to. The summer after I graduated high school I worked in a law office in downtown Minneapolis. The lady that sat next to my cubicle got a phone call late in the afternoon one day and I literally thought her child had died. She was hysterical, sobbing through gasps and questions. I felt like an intruder. She was clearly going through something extremely personal and I was just there along for the ride. I later found out that her cat had unexpectedly died. I remember being bewildered by her emotion. She was that upset about her cat? I didn’t get it, at all. Sometimes it’s impossible to understand something until you have lived through it or experienced something similar. Years later when we put down our family pets, my god, the hurt was so real. The tears wouldn’t stop and I instantly remembered my cubicle companion and my lack of understanding. I get it now, obviously.
I got Callie when I was just barely pregnant with Munchie. Callie was a calico cat with the personality of a dog. She was EVERYTHING. I loved her so much. During my entire pregnancy, she slept on my belly. During my saddest moments, she would crawl right up next to me and stay until I stopped sobbing. She never got jealous of my kids and even when they were torturing her she was so full of love for them. After a few years, Munchie randomly developed a cat allergy. It was right after the birth of my second daughter and when we went into the allergist, I was praying with all of my might that it wasn’t Callie that she was allergic to. When the doctor came in and said she was severely allergic to cats, my now ex-husband didn’t miss a beat when he shouted out, “BYE CALLIE.” I hated him in that moment. It was nothing to him, but I had to say goodbye to my best friend. I remember thinking I’d rather get rid of you than her and I was dead ass serious. I thought it though, I didn’t say it because I’m not a monster.
During this same time my auntie passed away. Since I had to go home for the funeral I decided I would bring Callie back to MN and give her back to the family that I had gotten her from. They had agreed to keep her and still had her siblings so I found some comfort in the situation. The day we were supposed to fly I spent 8 hours in the airport. Delay after delay led to a flight cancellation and I decided it was the universe giving me a sign. So instead of getting rid of Callie I researched like crazy. I invested in air purifiers and whatever else might help keep Munchie safe and Callie in our home. To my surprise, IT WORKED! Maybe God knew I needed Callie. At this point I had already dealt with so much death, a cheating ass husband, and I was on my second round of postpartum depression… I needed Callie.
We were able to maintain for a while. We kept the allergies under control, we kept Callie, I got rid of my husband instead, and things felt right. Then my littlest one got sick, really sick, and nothing made sense. Everything impacted her health-including Callie. I was devastated. All that work I had put into saving Callie, keeping her with us and now this! Baby girl wasn’t going to get better though and it became evident that keeping Callie was no longer an option. Callie’s original family, once again, agreed to take her back in. We agreed on an open adoption. I could visit, check in etc. anytime. This was so important to me. I needed it, even if Callie didn’t.
So, before I moved back to the DMV, we dropped Callie off with her adopted family. I felt comfort knowing that I knew the people she was living with; I knew I could visit and that I was doing the right thing for my Smoochie. As we settled back into our life back on the east coast, I checked in on Callie often. I got pictures and updates and my heart felt full.
I wrote to check in on Callie one day and received the following message:
“I was going to message you last week but hoped for better news by now. On the weekend of the 3rd when it was nice out, we had our bedroom window open and when I came home I realized that the cats pushed a hole through the screen and got outside. I panicked and jumped in the car frantically looking for them and no luck that night. The next morning, I went out again and found Dublin about 5 blocks down the street hiding in a neighbor’s yard. I assumed and hoped Callie was with him but no luck. I’ve posted on the neighborhood watch and local shelters her photo/info but nothing yet and I’m so upset. Like I said, I would’ve told you sooner but I was hoping to have found her by now.”
Callie has never been found. She’s so loving and beautiful I’m hoping that someone has taken her in and she’s become a part of their family, but as a highly anxious person I have envisioned the worst. Did she freeze to death in the frigid Minnesota winter? Did some psychopath harm her? Is she ok? Is this all my fault?
So, yesterday’s #nationalpetday hit me pretty hard. My Callie is out there somewhere. Some days she crosses my mind and this overwhelming sadness fills my heart. A few days ago, Munchie randomly brought her up, “I really miss our Callie, we should visit her soon.”
I went silent. I wish we could visit, I wish that more than anything. I miss her too. I also totally get why my cubicle companion was so distraught by the loss of her cat, perspective is EVERYTHING and while I appreciate the life lesson, MAN WAS IT TOUGH.
Love and Light,