Compassionate Care: Tony, Our Tiger
About three months ago, we received a request from a Shelter in Upstate NY, asking if we could take a ten year old cat, Tony, the Tiger, into our care. He had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, which gave him some diminished mental capacity, and made him walk in circles. They could not house him in a suitable enclosure, where he had enough room and could be comfortable for his last months. We agreed to take Tony as a Hospice Care cat. It was the first time we had done that within the Shelter. The volunteers were all made aware and asked if they would be comfortable tending to him. He might be unpredictable, he might be messy. His pacing made him a bit clumsy and his sight was not top notch. All the volunteers were on board to help Tony in his final time. He was given a med suite room as his home base...with lots of bedding and puppy pads and a senior litter box. He even had a bed with a gentle pet heating pad, which he loved to lie on. In addition, he was given the whole med suite room, with two big windows where the sun could stream in and warm him and lift his spirits. And volunteers would go in and sit on the floor with him and pet him gently and delicately. He would walk circles around them for a while and then settle in on their laps for a spell.
After about two months, it became clear that his health was deteriorating...that one eye was being ravaged, and one foot had a tumor that was no longer hidden. We, and our vet and dear friend, Dr. Melora Hunt, determined that it was time for Tony to be gently helped over the Rainbow Bridge. It was extremely loving and peaceful. Jennifer Gile brought a bouquet of flowers to put in his room, as a token of love. And Tony was buried in Rod’s rose garden, with a beautiful rose especially for Tony, planted above him.
When the volunteers received word that Tony had passed, they were quite moved and very grateful for his presence in their Shelter lives.
These thoughts from several of our volunteers:
*I had a very sweet half hour with him this morning...he walked around a lot, ate now and then, came to me as I was sitting on the floor, got some love pats, and even licked my hand. He seems quite peaceful. I told him he was loved and that very soon, he would be in a much more comfortable place. That seemed okay with him. :-)
Thank you for all the good care you have given him. It is very precious. We are a very special place with very special folks.
*When Tony came to the shelter I knew we would learn something special. He seemed to express so many emotions by his behavior. He was irascible, friendly (on his terms), patient, grateful and sometimes comical. Last night I sat with him after he ate. He cried a bit so I went into his room and he settled down on his mat. That’s the first time I’ve seen him so relaxed and still. I think he’s ready. It’s tough to say goodbye!
Thank you, Helen for giving us the gift of knowing Tony. I feel like my family knows him as well as I do from all I’ve shared with them and I bet each and every shelter worker has shared stories of Tony with their families. Tony has many, many friends and will be missed, but he has taught us all to be and feel more compassionate!❣️
*Thanks to all of you that provided so much love and care for Tony. What a wonderful undertaking for something that you knew would be a difficult task. I so enjoyed following his journey while reading the diary entries from iShelter.
There are so many wonderful memories. You should all feel so good about what you did for him.
*Well, after all was said and done, I ended up going in to spend time with Tony and I am so happy that I did so. It was really apparent when I looked in on him that he knew his time had come, but he still wanted to roam and be petted. Thank you and Rod for being with him and, Rod, thank you for burying him in your rose garden - what a tribute!
I brought him some flowers, even cats can enjoy something like that now and again - hope I was not out of line...
A truly beautiful sunset time for Tony.
This from the director of the New York Shelter:
Aww... We are so sad to hear Tony has passed, but are beyond grateful for all the love and care you gave him during his time with you. He was obviously very loved and comfortable there, and that's all we ever wanted for him.
Thank you for letting us know, and for everything you all did for him. You are all very special people to, not only take him in in his condition, but go so above and beyond for him to make sure he was happy.
Thank you again for everything. “
Rest in Peace, Dear Tony, Our Tiger. You have given us so much.