Tuesday, February 16, 2010

So Long, Sparkle

This is our daughter Alycia enjoying a
special moment with Sparkle in their younger days.


From the first day we took her in as a young stray fifteen years ago, Sparkle seemed to know right away who it was she had to soften up and win over. As a child I knew the joy of having a puppy to pal around and grow up with, but I had never taken to cats—didn't want to know them. Their independence and aloofness always struck me as their way of saying they could either take us or leave us; it seemed not to matter to them one way or the other. I see now how wrong I was.

Sparkle was persistent—I'll give her that. No matter how many times I dismissed her or shooed her away as a young kitten, no matter how coy, tough or disinterested I tried to be, Sparkle was determined to neutralize my feline antipathy and expose me for the big, soft marshmallow I was deep down inside. Crawling up onto the couch where I sometimes snoozed after chores or a round of golf, Sparkle would plant her feeble frame on my large shoulders and snuggle right up next to me, as if to mock me for being such a pushover.

It was embarrassing to be rendered completely powerless by the charms of a kitten, but I was careful not to let my weakness show. I pretended not to care or notice whenever Sparkle jumped onto my lap to affirm our secret friendship. Before long, however, the cat was out of the bag, and I could scarcely contain my affection for her.

Whatever was left of the tough guy within me was reduced to rubble today as Sparkle went to sleep for the last time. My tears flowed freely as her tired head gently settled onto her soft and pillowy paws—the merciful medicine relieving her of the pain and discomfort she endured so bravely.

We have much to learn from the creatures we take in as pets, from the unconditional nature of their love to the enduring posture of their loyalty. Somehow it is beyond them to hurt or disappoint us the way we humans will all too readily hurt and disappoint each other. If their behavior truly is subject to the dictates of instinct, how amazing it is those very instincts should appear so agreeable.

For now, we're going to leave Sparkle's food and water dish right where it is—until it really sinks in that she won't be needing it anymore. I have a feeling it may be there for some time. Thank you for being such a good cat and such an important part of our family. We're going to miss you very much. So long, Sparkle.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is, we have suffered many this past year. Our animal companions sure make themselves true parts of our family, and it is so hard to say good-bye.

    Some try to say animals don't have souls, I find that hard to believe. If we humans do, then I feel they must as well. They know just when and how to comfort us, and many will lay down their lives for us. I don't have a human friend who I believe would do such.