Losing Peanut

Today’s post comes to us from Crystal Bay.

RIP dear Peanut. Last night, as I was weeping knowing it was our last night together, the old guy walked up to me and licked my tears. He’s been hiding for days, but last night he came for what used to be our nightly ritual. He hadn’t done this in months as he grew weaker. He walks up to the cover I pull up to my chin, paws it down, then I lift it into a tent for him to enter. He then makes three circles before finally plopping down close to my face. I then kiss him a dozen times while repeating, “I love you, Peanut”. Every night for 14 years. I wish that I’d created more of a dialogue with him over all of these years, but this is all I ever said to him.

The vet showed up at 10 this morning. He was on my lap relaxing in front of a space heater he’s always loved. My dear friend, Bruce, was here, and right up to the moment of the quick-acting sedation shot, I kept asking if I was doing the right thing. Did he have more time to live? Should nature just decide when it was his time to die? Was he really suffering or just old and skinny? The sweet vet told me that I didn’t have to go through with it; that she’d come back another time.

He sprawled across my lap as she administered the sedative, and slowly got sleepier. “Peanut, I love you” over and over. I was still so ambivalent that I asked her if he could revive from the sedative if I changed my mind. All I could think of was how spending the last day and night with him was so painful that I couldn’t go through this process again a few weeks or even months from now, so she very gently inserted the needle and pushed in the medication which would stop his heart.

I held his limp body, crying my heart out. I had decided just this morning that I didn’t want to bury him after all because the vision of lowering him into a black hole was just too much. The vet brought in a small kitty bed with a soft little blanket. I placed him in it. And then he was gone from my life. A piece of me and a part of what’s kept my world in balance went with him. I wrote a letter to him:

Dear Peanut, I found you in the middle of Crystal Bay Road 14 years ago on September 1, 2003. Your little eyes were glued shut with infection and your back leg was crushed. I rushed you to the vet who said that you were, at best, 4 weeks old and doubted that you’d survive. I came back several hours later, and there you were, bright eyed and bushy tailed, eating dry kibbles.

For the next two months, I kept you on or very near my body 24/7. When with clients, you nestled on my shoulder. I took you grocery shopping in a tiny box, to my volunteer work, to lunch dates. And every single day, I kissed the top of your head a thousand times, saying, “Peanut, I love you”.

For the twelve years following my divorce, you were the only warm body in my world who alleviated my loneliness. No matter how my day had gone, you were there at the end of it with our silly ritual, letting me know that you loved and needed me. I thank you for that.

Your buddy, Izzy, is already searching the cottage for you. I’ve always cared for her, but she’s not you, Peanut. Perhaps, after the six years she’s been here, she’ll come out of her shell and show some affection and bond with me? Right now, she’s lying next to me on the foot stool by the heater, something she’s never done before. Only an hour ago, you were there.  She’s always deferred to you, even in this last year as you grew weaker, she’d box with you then suddenly jump off the bed out of respect for you.

You were my fur person, my devoted companion, and the only constant presence in my life. Thank you for the 14 years you graced my life.

I love you Peanut, Mama

What’s the name of your favorite pet?

49 thoughts on “Losing Peanut”

    1. It seems to be a human trait to name baby animals or humans something that fits only their new life cuteness. He was so little that I thought of him as a little peanut. What I didn’t take into consideration is that when he grew to become a mature cat he’d outgrow his given name!

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  1. I understand pet loss…we had several and ‘tho husband said ‘no more’…he couldn’t handle the haeart break…i brought home an abused frightened dog from our Friends of Animals shelter.

    Bandit (renamed by granddaughter) has been with use since Nov. 2012.
    Can’t imagine life without him ‘tho I’m very aware of expected life spans.

    My heart goes out to you…your great loss…thank you for sharing. Someday you will be able to remember without the tears…but tears are good for now.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I have been fortunate enough to have many beloved pets throughout my life. Each time when one ages and dies, it is a heartbreak, only cured by falling in love with the next one. My favorite of all is probably one of the dogs we have now, Bootsy. What a love she is, even after a rough start to life.

    I feel so lucky to have found her. She was a traumatized rescue dog in 2011 who was terrified of all adult males. Now she is a quirky little sweetheart who just loves the dog park. She is also a great rodent hunter which only endears her to me more.

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  3. i always wonder how smart it is to set yourself up to have your heart trounced every 10 or 15 years by losing a pet to inevitable death

    our 4 pets today are all so personable that it’s an easy answer. ernie waits bedside for us as we go to sleep and harasses me every morning to feed him neow

    the dogs are so successful at replacing the affection we felt for the last dogs that we are whole again

    everything we touch in life affects us and pets leave such a lasting impression

    i am so sorry for your pain

    peace

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  4. Because the pets we love have lives much shorter than ours, to give your heart to a dog or cat is to make grief inevitable. Unless we die first, the pet precedes us, and that hurts like hell.

    That means that the highest service our pets can perform is to give us rehearsals of the experience of losing a loved one. The cat or dog that breaks our heart by dying is teaching us how to deal with the loss of a father, a mother or anyone else we love deeply.

    The second service our dying pets perform is reminding us that life is limited. Whether we like it or not, that is the most sure fact of all. Nothing is as precious as the gift of life. We spend much of our lives trying to ignore or deny the fact or mortality. It is good that our pets teach us to value the greatest gift we will ever experience.

    I won’t claim that this was anyone’s grand plan, for I don’t understand such things. I’ll just say that this service our pets do for us is holy, necessary and beautiful.

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  5. So sorry for your loss. Our oldest cat, also named Peanut, is 13 and very probably hasn’t a lot of time left. She is annoying. Her voice is grating and unlovely. She doesn’t like our year old kitten. She makes for a lot of work. She gets thyroid medicine twice every day and we have to chase her down. She is starting to think outside the box, if you get my drift.
    She is, however, ours, and we will care for her until she is too ill and uncomfortable. That is the deal we make when take an animal into our home. I want prople to take care of me when I am old and annoying, too. She is very affectionate and sweet and has a lovely, soft calico/ tortoise shell coat.

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  6. So many pets, so little time…never enough time.
    Mixer Dog, a shepherd mix born across the road.
    Tinker Dog, a silly little terrier mix.
    Hannibal, my first Great Pyrennese who lived to 12 years
    Jacques Brel, a Schapedoes (Dutch Sheep Dog) who was born in France but I found in the Duluth Animal Shelter
    Madame Hildegard, my most recent favorite, an English Mastiff, adopted as a 7 year old, said good bye to this April, when she was 9.

    House cats with no names but “Cat”
    Barn cats that left too soon

    Arrogant, my first Trakehner horse
    Kismet and Marzipan, sister Arabians
    Info the Thoroughbred, the first I had to have put down
    Kizmet and Finin, my last Trakehners
    Ising the Icelandic, Sláinte the Tennessee Walker, both in their 20s now

    All gifts that have taught me about love and loss and the passage of time .

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      1. I called him by his full name….maybe just Jacques once in a while. One of the ironies of his name was he had a terrible shrill bark that he used often…quite unlike the human Jacques Brel’s deep melodious voice. His registered (in France) name was JK. (and I see I misspelled the breed…it’s Schapendoes (schapen = sheep, does =?)

        One of the reasons for being a favorite was because of him I met and visited in France a lovely woman who raised them and guided me in understanding him. He had some severe behavior issues that almost got him euthanized by the couple who had brought him to Duluth. They decided to put him up for adoption instead because (I think) he had been a gift from the woman’s mother. (Some of his issues (dog aggressive) were inherited…others? High reactivity, defensive aggression…

        http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/schapendoes

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        1. Just read on internet of a 4-year old female Schapendoes available in southern Ontario with similar issues as Jacques Brel…looking for a home where she is the only dog and no young children….but mostly I think they are friendly, sociable and loving. At least the only other ones I have met or know of are…funny, fun-loving dogs with strong herding instincts well intact. Jacques Brel herded my goats the first day here, then the second day got butted against the barn wall…he was wary of them in the pasture, but if they got out of their pasture he promptly herded them back in. One of my favorite images is of JB herding a skunk across the pasture into the woods. Never got close enough to be “skunked.”

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    1. My God that’s a lot of animals! I could never own a dog because their eyes are way too human and seem to evoke guilt and neediness, two things I struggle with myself. There was a summer here maybe ten years ago when I had to put down three 14-year old cats and a 4-year old Ragdoll cat in only six weeks. That summer was a blur because of so many losses, one after another.

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  7. What a tear jerker,CB. sniff, but thanks for telling Peanut’s story. Significant that he seemed to know to come “home” for his last night.

    I think I’d have to say Slushball, whom I’ve described before. 1/4 Siamese, great mouser who loved cantaloupe and cauliflower (cooked).

    Somehow the universe requires us to keep risking our hearts by loving other pets and people, knowing full well that at any moment they can leave us forever. Somehow we keep doing it. Life just would be no fun without other beings to love.

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  8. Earlier this summer, in June, our kitten had a conversation with this big grey cat in the garden under our bay window. Kitten was inside on the window seat. The two weren’t making angry sounds, just conversing. I had seen this grey cat slinking around in our yard for several months, and since it was so hot, and he was quite thin and had burrs in his tail, I decided to catch him and call the animal control officer to take him to the shelter. We have a brand new shelter here and they do a great job homing strays or finding owners. We couldn’t take him in as we already have two cats and our older cat has her health issues.

    He rolled over on the sidewalk for a tummy rub as I approached him, and tolerated the cat carrier waiting for the officer. I found out later the shelter staff named him Hagrid, and described him as loving and affectionate. Unfortunately, he was FIV positive, so they transported him to a FIV cat colony in Eastern Montana where he could be cared for his remaining days.

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  9. We had two Welsh Terriers named Maggie and Casey, and two cats named Ginger and Albert. Son has a Westie named Baxter and a cat named Boots.

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  10. Malcolm X, Ajax, Missy, Luke, Bill, Skeeter, Sky, Yoda, Todo, Charlie, Peanut, and Izzy. Not one of them lived past 14.

    I’m now faced with a far bigger problem than grief over Peanut. I have a 6-year old calico, Izzy, who’s spent half her life hiding behind the furnace, only emerging at night to be with her one friend, Peanut. She’s spooked by anyone entering the cottage. The day he died, she finally came to me for affection. In the early hours of the next day, I smelled gas in the bathroom. Her furnace is in this room. I called for emergency gas help. He found carbon monoxide leaking from the water heater next to the furnace. I also discovered a hole in the floor through which she could escape down to the underbelly of the cottage. I’ve always called this maze of underground tunnels the “dungeon”. There’s only a 20″ clearance between the dirt floor and the floor studs and, to my knowledge, no human has ever entered this maze.

    Spooked by the gas man, she dived into the dungeon and would not come out. I called for her hour after hour and tried to coax her up with a baggy full of tuna on a string.

    Then next morning, I tried to contact HVAC to dissemble the duct system, thinking she might be stuck in a vent; two male friends, animal rescue, and, ultimately the police. The cop, a hefty guy, burrowed his way through the tunnel; my two friends did; and I went in there three different times searching for Izzy. We all came out dirty and covered with cobwebs. My friend found a collar she’d lost months ago.

    Now I realized that she hadn’t just been hiding for years behind the furnace, but living under the cottage in the dungeon. In other words, she’s been living a double life! Two and a half days went by before my daughter gently opined that she’d breathed in the carbon monoxide and retreated to her underground refuge to die. There would be no rescue or recovery. Having this occur within hours of losing Peanut was devastating. I accepted that I’d live out my days here knowing that my little calico had laid herself to rest beneath my floor boards.

    Last night, when I came home late, there she was; standing in a window box right outside my bedroom window. I thought it was a mirage, but popped the screen to let her in. She darted up the stairs and dived into the opening to an access wall for plumbing which I’d unfortunately opened up just in case she needed an alternative route out of the dungeon. I gave her all night to emerge for comfort and food, but this morning as I called to her, all she’d do was growl non-stop, something this lady had never done. When I coaxed her with tuna, her head was the only reachable part of her, so I grasped onto it. She went utterly psycho and disappeared.

    My heart breaks for her because her entire, gerry-rigged life was shattered in a matter of hours. Her only friend, her grounding wire, had died AND her six year long refuge had been breached. The cat presently upstairs behind the all is not the cat I’ve known. I am now her enemy and faced with the impossible choice between leaving food and water near the opening so she can survive, or not leaving sustenance so that she’ll be forced to come downstairs. Frankly, it feels like a scene out of Pet Cemetery. I so want off of this roller coaster.

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    1. I wish you luck with this one, CB – I don’t know what to suggest, but maybe another baboon does? Or there may be an animal behavior person you could consult – we have one in WInona, I’m sure there must be someone in the Twin Cities – even a phone consultation… ?

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      1. I just spoke with the vet who put Peanut down. She thinks that I should just let her be for a few days while supplying food/water. My daughter thinks I should live-trap her and bring her to her horse ranch. All that I know for sure is the I now represent her enemy and tormentor. One final idea is to call a “cat whisperer”. Google will provide, I hope!

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    2. Cb, try to relax. Cat’s are amazingly adaptable and resourceful. She may never become comfortable around you, but if she comes to trust you, she’ll tolerate you in her space. I’d say leave food out for her. Perhaps move it a little further away from her escape hole as time goes by. Once she trusts that you wont capture or harm her, she may become comfortable coexisting with you. Dry food may work just as well as tuna, by the way.

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        1. the cats likely fine you are the one who is suffering
          we we each have our own reality. the cats is newly discovered by you. you will both be fine

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        2. I trust that both you and Izzy will find an acceptable way of coexisting. She’s in complete control of how much suffering she’s willing to endure before she comes out and accepts your hospitality. Let her do this on her terms, and she’ll accept you. Sometimes animals are the perfect teachers to give us insights into our own behavior. I’m learning this every day with Martha. She loves me, I know, but I’m clearly not her master.

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        3. I had a cat who would disappear for at least 24 hours when he was frightened but always came out eventually. I have found calicoes are especially freaky. I suspect she will be fine with time.

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  11. OH, I forgot to mention the goats…too many. Most recently Poplar and Beretta. Before that, Snow, Minute, Coal Miner’s Daughter, Prima, Dritte, Chicago (white socks), Scandal (black socks), Calico, Victor and Victoria…and more whose names I have forgotten.

    The hardest one was the first horse…a young, talented thoroughbred who had shattered a shoulder. He fell into the hole, I fell on my knees.

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  12. Our son Joel had a favorite – Charlie the Cat, who came to us as a kitten and was adopted by the aforementioned Slushball, till he grew bigger than his adopted “mom”. Charlie was such a good hunter that Joel enlisted him to hunt squirrels in August, when we would hardly get any pears from our pear trees because the squirrels got them all. We have a photo of Joel in full camouflage with his air rifle, under the big tree. Joel would try to hit a squirrel in the tree; it would fall, wounded, and Charlie would finish him off. (This probably happened just once.) At any rate, Charlie was Joel’s cat and outlived him by a few years. When Charlie took his final breath, it was in the flower bed under Joel’s window.

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  13. Evening all. My kid favorite was Princess, a shepherd/collie mix who was the most loyal friend ever. When I was about 7 I remember being absolutely distraught about something (can’t remember what any more) and she sat with me on the steps of our house while I cried and cried.

    As an adult it feels unkind to name a favorite, but what the heck. Katy Scarlett was my first dog on my own – a beautiful mahogany gal who got me through some tough times and some fab times. She was way too smart and selectively naughty… I think I’ve told the popcorn string story as well as the streusel muffin story before!

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  14. Sorry, CB, to hear about Peanut. While losing a pet is always sad, heartbreaking even, there are some you know you’ll grieve forever. They are somehow kindred, irreplaceable spirits you were blessed to know.

    My unforgettable pet was Teddy, my first golden retriever who died too young from leukemia. He was a big, gentle, goofy boy who simply assumed everybody loved him. And they did.

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      1. Teddy got weaker and weaker. For a while, prednisone kept him going. He tried to go for walks to please us, but finally he just couldn’t do it. As Tim says, quality of life is everything. I carried him, all 100 pounds of him, into the vet finally and we sat stroking him while the vet gave him the injection that released him. I know how hard it is.

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        1. My point, in case I wasn’t clear, is that it’s not always easier to sit by while a pet dies. Sometimes they suffer long and needlessly and when death finally comes you can regret not having been braver and kinder.

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  15. OT. Our friend Larry Hofmann won first prize at the Fair’s fine arts competition. I’m thrilled beyond belief; what a well deserved recognition for him. Larry is not just a very accomplished artist, he’s a genuinely good friend, an interesting human being, and an all around great guy. I can’t think of another person that I know with such a broad range of interests and expertise. He’s a fine musician as well. If I had a bottle of champagne, I’d pop it.

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