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"The end of the journey"

"The end of the journey."

Those are the words I wrote one year ago today. I was on my way home to Tucson with the other animals when I received the phone call that Stimpy had died. I was eight hours away in Albuquerque. It has been one year, and I still cannot forgive myself for not being with Stimpy in the end.

Today is Thanksgiving. It was not a celebration for me. I pretty much just kept to myself, did not visit friends or family. I bought some flowers and took them to the place where I first met Stimpy. I was standing outside at the house when this scruffy grey cat came up to me and meowed. I did not have any cat food so I gave her what I had, a can of albacore tuna. From that moment on, Stimpy came back every day to get some wet food. I later learned she was the  neighbors cat but Stimpy made her choice where she'd rather be. One day, the neighbors were going to Mexico for a week and they asked if I wanted her. YES! From that day forward, Stimpy was my cat.

I asked my neighbors for a picture of Stimpy when she was a kitten. Last night they gave me two of her. They are blurry, they were taken before digital cameras. These were taken in 1995. They are so special to me, as they are the first and only pictures I have of her as a kitten.

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She is so tiny here. Seeing her sweet little face at the beginning of her life, knowing what life had in store for her later, all seems surreal. Her colors were darker but the distinctive swirls on her fur are the same.

In another picture, she is climbing up a tree with a stick in her mouth. It is blurry but in a way, it seems appropriate, almost like it is a dream.



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I took the flowers to the old house in the Barrio. The house is for sale and vacant. I walked around a bit, imagining Stimpy in the yard. I printed up a small memorial card and attached them to the flowers and placed them on the corner where we first met. I took her ashes with me too, not to spread but to place them there for a while too so her spirit was with me.
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I cried off and on throughout the day. I remember taking Stimpy to the vet and she received the rabies vaccine that would later take her life. Like so many people, we thought we were doing the right thing. I remember discovering the lump, the surgeries and the month I lived in a hotel room with her  in Columbia, MO while she underwent radiation therapy. All the events are so clear to me. Watching the tumor grow and ulcerate was almost unbearable. I chose not to end Stimpy's life. I did not feel like I had the right. She was such a fighter and she was eating and drinking up until the last day. She went when she was ready, and for that I am thankful.

She brought so much joy to me. I canceled travel plans because I did not want to leave her alone. I devoted my life to her before and after she got sick. She was such a special cat.

Contemplating this entry today has weighed on my mind all week. I wanted to honor her and this is the best way I know how. I will continue to fight for VAS awareness. I would dishonor her if I did not.

She was the most beautiful cat to me. She had a personality all her own and she loved me, I miss you Stimpy. I love you and always will. RIP sweet lady.

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Stimpy sleeping, This was taken in Columbia, Missouri during the month of July 2010 while we were there for her radiation therapy.

Rest In Peace Stimpy
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