…I woke up on the couch with him lying on me, like he always did. Purring and happy and warm.
…I laid there petting him and holding him close for as long as I felt I could.
…I put down food for him, which he didn’t eat much of.
…I took care of the rest of our kids, and put them in their run and in other rooms.
…I sat with him on my lap, purring and warm while I played a video game.
…I tried to not watch the clock, to not count the hours and minutes until noon.
…I cried off and on as I held him.
…I cried when I heard the knock at the door, knowing it was the vet.
…I sincerely thanked the vet for taking time out of his day off to come to our house.
…I felt his sympathy and his own grief as he said “I’m really sorry”.
…I scratched Byron’s ears when the vet asked me to, to help distract from the poke of the sedative as he sat on my lap.
…I felt some small measure of pride and happiness as he squawked one final time after being poked, happy to see the imperious spirit he had one last time.
…I told him it was OK, to lie down and sleep as I made him comfortable and lied him down on my lap.
…I told him “Thank you. Thank you for everything.” as he went to sleep on my lap.
…I held him close as the vet looked for a vein to make the final injection.
…I pet him and cried as I watched the vet give him the final injection, but was happy to see him asleep and at peace.
…I started to cry hard when the vet said “he’s passed” after listening to his heart beat fade.
…I tried to joke about how of course one of our kids would eliminate inappropriately as his bladder released on the town on my lap as I held him.
…I thanked the vet again as he picked him up and carried him away.
…I touched him for the last time as the vet carried him out the door, my hand reaching up and touching his tail, feeling the softness of his fur the last time.
…I closed the door and hugged my wife and we both cried hard.
One week ago today, I finished something that counts as a thing I’m most proud of in my life: I helped to care for another soul for 17 1/2 years and gave him a good home, kept him healthy, and kept him happy. I made life better for another soul and in the doing made life better for myself.