By Jim Bucher
March 4, 2014
It’s been almost a year since my new career path took me to the doorstep of the Xenia Gazette and other CITIVAS newspapers and it’s been a fun journey so far.
Going from a TV reporter/dude for almost 25 years to pages in print hasn’t been that difficult a transition.
The best part, I don’t have to wear a tie to write. But if you’ve been along for the ride, I thank you for welcoming me into your homes, or wherever you read the paper.
If you’re a regular reader then you know I’m a pet lover. At one time right out of high school, I wanted to be a veterinarian, which I think would be rewarding.
Meeting all kinds of animals, diagnosing and treating what ails them, but the part I don’t think I’d be good at is putting someone’s beloved pet to sleep. Even though most vets will tell you, that’s the one thing they don’t mind doing. It’s the most humane way to end a sick animal’s life as opposed to other means which we won’t go into here.
This brings me to the crux of the matter. No matter how many dogs and cats I’ve had in my life, there’s always the inevitable, the end of theirs.
I think back at my best bud Tinkerbelle the boxer. She lived 15 years, a good life, full of fun and frolic. The end is never good and even though I debated whether to stay in the room when the ‘shot’ was administered, I’m glad I did although don’t get me wrong, it still haunts me.
Did I make the right decision? Could I have prolonged her life even though she was suffering? If you’ve never been through it let me tell you, it is gut wrenching.
My friend Doreen Harkama went through this a few years ago and it’s still raw and emotional for her today. Doreen by the way is a MIX 107.7 personality and a good friend of mine. She’s one of those closes buddies where we text pictures of our pets back and forth like proud parents.
Many of those pictures are of her ‘bestie’ feline friend ‘Shooter.’
“I was about 26, child-bearing age…but I could not have children. My Dad went with me to choose a kitten to adopt from the Humane Society. I looked into a cage with five grey kittens, (about 7-weeks-old) put my finger up to the cage and one of them came over and immediately wrapped both front paws around my finger.
Thought to myself, ‘don’t choose the first one you see.’ My Dad said ‘Too late, that one already chose Doreen.’ He was right, I bonded with that baby boy the second he wrapped those little white-booted paws around my finger.” Says Doreen.
And the name Shooter?
“Well, we got him home and he very sweetly crawled up on my (now) ex husband’s
chest and proudly pee’d on him. ‘Shooter I yelled! That’s his name!’ He’s been with me ever since, moved with me from Michigan, my divorce, re-marriage, step kids … When I suffered a herniated disc in 2007 he rarely ever left my side.” Doreen says.
Shooter was a loyal friend and companion for many years, but like what happens to all of us, life happens.
“Around 2008, he had slowed. He wasn’t eating or using the litter box and after many trips to the vet, I was certain this latest visit to the doctor wasn’t going to be good.” Doreen says.
And it wasn’t.
“When his test results were in, the vet broke the news without Shooter in the room. He had Cancer. We started with the questions ‘can we have them removed?’ ‘Yes, but they will grow back and not give him much quality of life.’ ‘What if we don’t do anything?’ ‘He will eventually starve himself to death”. Doreen continues.
Then the decision which each and every animal lover dreads.
“I just looked at the ‘nurse’ and she knew it was the time. She put the shot into his IV. It didn’t take long and even though she listened for a heartbeat, I knew the second it happened. I saw his aura — his soul — whatever you want to call it — leave his right eye, into his left eye and out his left side & disappear. No one can tell me that pets don’t have a soul. I saw Shooter’s leave.” Doreen says.
Guess if you’re not a pet lover, you can’t relate, but if you are, you know exactly how what Doreen went through.
So why get a dog or cat when you know the inevitable?
“Wow, good question … well I wouldn’t give up the sunshine just because I know someday it is going to rain. Our pets give us so much unconditional love and I can’t
speak for anyone else, but that is something that I NEED and it’s OK to grieve your pet. You are not alone and you are not silly for crying over your pet. They are family members and who doesn’t grieve when a big part of your family passes away?” she says.
Exactly, Sunshine is a good thing.