Cancer is becoming a horribly common experience for people the world over. As cancer rates rise in humans, they are also rising in our pets. Far too many of you have lost pets well before their time, and while the treatments available to animals have improved, they are still far behind where they need to be. We see stories of selfless rescues and the addition of new family members every day. Sadly, not all have a happy ending. Even in tragedy we can see hope and love however, and these stories are the perfect example of how love and memories overcome grief, and even inspire a great change in others. These are just a few of the amazing stories you’ve submitted, and if you have your own story to share, you can right here. And once you’ve read through these tragic and wonderful stories, make sure to sign our petition to help fund pet cancer research!
Our first story comes from Angela in Rochester, NY. Read her beautiful tribute to Malakhi.
In April 1999, I moved into a new place and my first thought before anything else was to get a cat. I had grown up with cats and had ‘shared’ cats when I roomed with friends, but this time the kitty would be the very first one I got on my own. A family friend learned I was looking and let me know about a litter of kittens that had been born in the garage of someone she knew. It was a littler of little black fluffballs, but only one of them was a boy. He was determined to get out and say hi, so I knew he was the one. I named him Malakhi.
That first night, I was terrified of accidentally hurting him. He was only five weeks old and so tiny (far too young to be separated from mama, but the homeowner wanted the kittens gone). I made him a little bed beside mine and thought that might keep him content. Not even close. As I was drifting off to sleep, I heard this indignant squeak of a meow and the sound of a tiny kitten determinedly scaling the side of my bed. Malakhi made it to the top and curled up on my pillow beside my head.
For almost sixteen years, he was my little monster. Being weaned too early, he’d occasionally nurse on my shirt and he never quite understood he was a cat. He was never any good at hunting (even slept through one of the other cats catching a mouse in the same room), but he could stalk a spot on your lap like a pro. In February 2015, we said goodbye. Cancer cut his time with me short, but he left an indelible paw print on my heart.
Thank you Angela for sharing Malakhi’s story.
This is the story of Georgie and Lily, two pups that had rough starts, but found amazing homes.
A neighbor asked my daughter if she knew of anyone who would dog-sit her recently adopted, 7 year old female Miniature Pinscher while the family was out and she volunteered me. The oldest son of this neighbor showed up with a small black and tan dog in a crate that reeked of urine and feces. The neighbor had told us she got the dog because her kids asked her to and then found they were not home enough to spend time with her so the dog, Lily, ended up living in her crate for up to 18 hours a day! When she started barking constantly, they put her, still in her crate, out in the garage.
Three days later one of the sons came by to pick her up. I had discovered she needed a nail trim, dental cleaning and treatment for her infected eyes. So when they came to pick her up I talked with the Mom and told her of the dog’s needs. She immediately asked if I wanted her otherwise she would be returned to the shelter. I already had a dog, a cat and a limited budget, but I agreed to take Lily. With monetary assistance from the Dog Therapy group my puggle, Georgie and I worked with, Lily got the veterinary care she needed and became a great friend to Georgie although the cat was beneath her attention. Within a year, Georgie was diagnosed with mast cell cancer and had to be euthanized just 2 months later. Lily became my constant companion, even sleeping under the covers with me and likes nothing better than to go everywhere with me.
Pat A., Manchester, MO
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Baboo was a very special and important cat to his family. His families loss is palpable in this story.
One day, I was visiting my husband’s aunt. She told me that she had been watching her daughter’s cat and the cat got out of the house by accident. She used her car to search the neighborhood, driving slowly and calling out the cat’s name from the open car window. Sadly, her daughter’s cat never came but instead a scrawny, flea infested orange and white cat did and followed her car all the way home. He had on an old purple flea collar. She assumed he had a home but he stayed at her back door. She ended up feeding him for a few days. Curious, I asked to see him. He meowed at me and I was smitten.
I took him home with me. My husband and I gave him a flea bath, fed him and brought him to the vet. He had a gastrointestinal illness which the vet said was probably from eating garbage while he was lost. We looked for his owners but nobody came for him. He loved us immediately, sleeping in between us at night and staying close to us during the day. He was the sweetest cat we had ever met so we named him our sweet Baboo.
After our first child was born, Baboo would take naps with the baby, cuddling close but never hurting him. He stayed with us for ten years, sleeping in between us every night and sitting on our laps while watching television. When he was diagnosed with bone cancer we were devastated. Ten years was such a short time to have with this beautiful soul. The last night of his life, he chose to sleep with our son. Our hearts broke when he passed and we will always remember how lucky we were to have found him.
Christine Reynolds, Wallingford, CT
You can find more stories on the next page, including stories of hope!
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