I went off to work and my boys had the day off from school. My 9 year old called saying our cat, Dulce, was shaking and falling down. I called the vet (and now I know you should find a vet and pre-register the minute you move but my previous vet was able to send the vaccine records). A neighbor was nice enough to load up her newborn baby, my two boys, and Dulce in his crate (from the move) into her car and just drive up the street to the vet. The vet watched him all day and did zillions of tests and only found high glucose so we scheduled a diabetes test for the next week.
I picked him up and returned him to the catio. As I strained the spaghetti for dinner, my 14 year old said that Dulce wasn’t moving. I spilled noodles all over the sink and ran out to the patio/catio to find a listless cat. I lifted him up and all three of us started crying. We tried to call the vet, which was now closed, and get the emergency vet number but couldn’t get it together to write it down. We left the house for the car to try to find it on GPS and of course all the neighbors were out and saw our parade of sadness. One hugged me and said I shouldn’t drive while sobbing so her husband drove us as we held a stiff cat.
We ran inside the emergency room for animals and they said there was a three hour wait. I’ve never been to these places before but I said, “We just need a heartbeat”
We sat in the waiting room and I worried about my neighbor, was he really that kind to drive us here and wait 3 hours?
Then they called us into a room which I knew was a bad sign. They told us the news – Dulce didn’t make it. They suspected a heart attack and our new vet later confirmed that he probably had a heart condition that the tests would not have seen.
I drove home and us boys shared stories of Dulce’s life with the neighbor. I’d never shared mourning before like this, never had neighbors right there to catch us in our worst moments.
The next day I took my boys out to a movie to laugh instead of cry. We came home to baked goodies and a card signed by everyone in the community. I knew I made the right choice to live amongst caring people.
A few weeks earlier another member had to leave town suddenly with his family since his dad had died unexpectedly. We could only send flowers. Seeing their dark house that week made me sad, remembering my own losses. When he came back, I spent time with him to talk and listen. WIth co-housing you have many ears to listen, many shoulders to cry on, and a second pair of hands to drive you and your wailing family and one dead cat to the emergency room.