No time like the present.

-- Mrs. Manley

TIME MARCHES ON 3

I've received many interesting responses to last Sunday's column about Tut the cat getting old.

I printed some on Wednesday and I need to share the rest because they all say something special about pets and about getting old. So any letters that don't fit in today's column will be posted in my blog on Monday at http://www.ibabuzz.com/garybogue.

  • I am a former Contra Costan living in Australia. I read your columns 18 years ago. Last month our dear cat Alice died at 18 years, and yes, I wasn't in this country for many weeks before I badly needed a cat. Alice was also a companion and sister to my son who came here with me rather reluctantly at 16. She sympathized with him during his coming of age, first girlfriends and first jobs, and comforted me when he left a few years later to attend college in the United States.

    Alice lived in 11 houses in three Australian states and two territories. She was sometimes an indoor cat, when we lived in the "bush" and snakes and deadly spiders were a problem, and sometimes a partial outdoor cat if we were lucky enough to have a well-fenced yard. She slept in our bed, until recently with her head on my pillow. I was her mother, no question about it, and she was given all the affection I needed to give my adult children on the other side of the world. I deeply understand how Blaze from Danville feels about her dear Orlie. Compared to Alice, I am "just a human."

    Alice simply died from old age, not in pain, but following a seizure, and was held as she went by a loving embrace. She had the best possible life a cat could have, but as you and your readers well know, it is missing her that breaks my heart. I look forward to the day the ache becomes a warm fuzzy feeling.

    A dear friend in Benicia just this morning sent me the link to your column about dear Tut, and I have read about him and Orlie with sadness, but with comfort, too. The pleasure these unconditionally loving animals give us is infinite, and will be part of us forever.

    Thank you and your readers for being there, for me and each other. (Stephanie Strong, Queensland, Australia)

  • My name is Darielle and I'm 10 years old. I heard about Tut, and how he's getting older and not moving around as much. I'm very sorry to hear about that. Yesterday was one of my worst days in my whole life. My dog Bruin, almost 12, has always been playful and running around. He's like my big brother and my best friend. All of a sudden Monday he couldn't move his back legs well and he had to crawl to places.

    On Tuesday he couldn't move at all and my family had to make a very hard decision and we had to put him to sleep. I cried a lot but know he's not in pain and he had a happy life. We know it was best for him, but it's still painful.

    My heart goes out to people who have to make difficult decisions like I did. Give Tut a kiss for me. I want to grow up to be a veterinarian and learn all about animals. (Darielle Wilk, Walnut Creek)

  • I had to write in regards to your Tut column and some of the responses to it, especially Judie from Moraga. She noted that she had lost her last cat at age 16 and it hurt her so much she swore she'd never get another.

    I had to write and encourage her to share her love with another cat. I lost my beloved Riley at age 19. He was my baby and I still miss him terribly, but I couldn't live without the love and laughter that cats give us. We have a new little boy, Toby, and he makes my heart sing again. It hurts terribly when they leave us, but the joy and love they share when they are here makes it worth the heartbreak.

    After all, "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." (Karin from Danville)

    Find more Gary in his blog at http://www.ibabuzz.com/garybogue or write Gary, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099; old columns at ContraCostaTimes.com, click on Columns; e-mail garybug@infionline.net.