I've just spent the better part of the last two and a half days crying, and the floodgate of tears came to an ebb at 7:17 yesterday morning. I sit here, 24 hours later, still in disbelief. Diego, my little fluffy monster lost his life. He was only nine years old.
There are so many things related to this death that make it so hard to deal with. He'd been sick for several months now with diabetes, but he was doing well lately...really well. Yet it was his disease that ultimately killed him. Of course, any death comes with grief, and especially when it's someone or some animal who has been around, living with you all the time. A pet is a part of your family, and since I have no partner and no children, he and Dylan were...are...my family.
Mourning Diego is not my only issue today and going forward because I'm not the only one mourning. Dylan and Diego have been together since day one. Though they look nothing alike, they are brothers from the same litter. The only thing they shared physically was the fact that they both have extra digits...Hemingway cats. These two spent every waking moment together, cuddling, playing, fighting, eating, and whatnot. From the moment I came home after leaving Diego at the animal hospital on Tuesday night, Dylan has been sad. His buddy's missing.
Wednesday was a roller coaster day. I received both good reports and bad ones about Diego's progress, but I believed throughout that he was coming home. I went to sleep that night happily imagining the reunion of those two. What a sight that would have been! Unfortunately, that reunion was never meant to be, and I can only hope that poor Dylan comes to accept that his brother won't be back.
At the moment, I can't have any interaction with my other baby, my lil panther, without crying. He and I have an intimate connection, and somehow I know he knows that his brother is gone and he is sad. I caught him laying in the cat carrier late Wednesday night, lying on the towel that Diego had laid on last Saturday on his last trip to the vet. At feeding time, when I call him to come eat, he runs into the kitchen looking around for his little buddy. And during the night, in bed, where the three of us always slept together, Dylan is restless, constantly looking over the side of the bed for his brother to come up and join us. My heart breaks for Dylan, as well.
I adopted Diego and Dylan when they were just about eight weeks old, back in April of 2008. Though I'd said that I would never again have a pet after my first cat, Spike, passed about six months prior, I'd been newly single and I wanted one to call my very own, only before beginning my search for them, I had already decided that I wanted two cats. Spike had been the only one for sixteen years and I always felt bad for him because he always seemed lonely. At least with these two, I knew they wouldn't be lonely whenever I wasn't around. And it didn't take long for me to find these two...
From the start Dylan and Diego brought great joy into my life, as pets do, and for the last nine years these two brothers have had their fair share of playful moments, getting into mischief, and just plain adoreable-ness! They've been all I've had for a family in all of these years I've been alone and I'm grateful for both of them.
A few months back, around September, Diego had started to lose a lot of weight and hair along his spine. Admittedly, I hadn't noticed the severity of either condition until my friend Bobby pointed it out to me. When you're present around someone or animal all the time you tend not to notice such things. I rushed him to the vet as soon as I realized this was serious. The vet had to run some tests on Diego, and she told me that it was either a thyroid condition, diabetes, or something else...I don't remember at this point, only that she told me to hope for the thyroid because it was the easiest to take care of.
The next morning, I got a call saying that Diego did indeed have diabetes. Apparently diabetes has become very common in both cats and dogs these days, and although the treatment...insulin shots every 12 hours...seems like a big commitment to make, I loved Diego and I was readily willing to take it on. The doctor assured me it would eventually become easy, and it did... maybe too easy.
Diabetes is a serious condition in humans, and in animals. It killed my father after torturing him for years with its many side effects, yet I'm not so sure if I ever took it as seriously with Diego because it became so easy to take care of and the insulin shots seemed to have brought him back to normal in just a couple of months. I became complacent, and even thought about him dropping down to one shot a day instead of two while I was away on a planned trip in a couple of weeks, just so that my friends wouldn't have to deal with coming here twice a day. I realize now that would have been stupid! So, for any of you dog or cat owners out there who's beloved pet gets diagnosed with diabetes, all I can say is take it seriously, and never ever forget that without the proper care, terrible things can happen.
So, I sit here with a heavy heart, but I know with time it will get better, for both Dylan and for I. But it'll be a long, long time...maybe forever, that I will be missing the purrs and the unconditional love bestowed upon me by my beautiful, gentle little Diego. I apologize for so many pictures, but even though I am prejudiced, I think he was one of God's most beautiful creatures. Don't you agree? Rest in peace baby!