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My Tripod, Rockie

cat, fibrosarcoma, amputation, hind leg, black cat

My Tripod, Rockie

Remembering Rockie

5 Comments »

February 17th, 2017 Posted 11:24 pm

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Rockie was my first pet cat. I got him in August of 2003 just before my beagle died (also from cancer). I loved the beagle so much, and when she became ill with bladder cancer I felt overwhelmed with pain. I thought another pet might offer distraction and some happiness. I knew I could not get a dog, because I feared I would project expectations and compare another dog to my beagle. My ex-boyfriend’s mother was bringing home stray kittens during this time with the goal of finding them homes. I asked her if I could choose one, and of course, she said yes. I selected a black cat with yellow eyes and a bushy tail. I wanted to call him Rockie, from Rocky and Bullwinkle, because he had a giant tail like the flying squirrel cartoon character.

Rockie was a mostly quiet cat, but when he spoke his had a high-pitched meow. It reminded us of Felix the Cat. Rockie grew to a large size. He was 18 lbs when fully grown. He used to fetch his toy mice. He used to open doors with handles. He wasn’t fond of other pets. I got him a little buddy, my cat Gizmo, at one point because I was worried Rockie was lonely. Rockie tolerated Gizmo (a high energy cat) but preferred solitude. He also lived with a white rabbit, Thumper, for many years, but he was very aversive to him as well. In fact, Thumper wanted to be friends with Rockie so much that he chased him and pulled out some of Rockie’s hind fur with his teeth in an effort stop Rockie from running away from him.

Rockie loved to eat. He could not be free fed lest he would gorge himself. He was overweight. Rockie was as black as the night. We had trouble taking pictures of him, especially if his eyes were closed. He wore a black safety collar with bells, and he had a black name tag. He was an indoor cat or a “shut-in” as mom used to say. We never allowed him outside. I didn’t want my beloved to be eaten by a coyote. He scurried away at the sound of plastic bags rustling. He didn’t bite, but he had a strong arm. He hit me a couple of times while we were playing.

Sharing all these memories brings me sadness and joy. I loved him. I love remembering him. This is why I share the blog. I want to remember the details such as his plush fur, his soft paw pads, his rolling high-pitched mew, and the missing tip of his left ear.

 


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Grief Over A Lost Friend

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February 17th, 2017 Posted 12:13 pm

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It has been almost 2 days since Rockie’s spirit left his body. I made the emergent decision to have him put to sleep by the veterinarian after learning that his cancer recurred. The cancer this time was invading the cavity that housed his heart and lungs. There was virtually no space left in the cavity as the tumor was usurping the space. I am still devastated by this news.

Eighteen months ago, Rockie was diagnosed with cancer fibrosarcoma on his left back hind leg. The tumor was visibly large. We were faced with 3 options: euthanasia, amputation of the leg, or chemotherapy/radiation treatments. I did research on the Internet, and Tripawds was immensely helpful. I elected to have Rockie’s leg amputated. Per the research I knew that there was risk that the cancer could return immediately if the surgeon could not create clean margins (healthy tissue) around the tumor. Furthermore, I knew that there was a chance the cancer could reccur despite the surgeon getting clean margins. Others said their cat lived anywhere from 1-3 years after the amputation. I begged God to give me another 2 years with this pet. At this time Rockie was 12.

God gave me 18 months, and honestly, I am satisfied I got that extra time with my beloved pet.  Every time I saw him I would smile, talk to him in a baby voice, and hold him tightly. I did not know how much time I would have with him. If I had to repeat this situation with Rockie, then I would. My mother thinks differently, however. She said that she probably would have euthanized him instead of having the amputation. Her reasons for this are because Rockie was not able to do the things he was previously able to do. Rockie never successfully walked with his 3 legs. He hopped around. Also, he needed assistance getting on the sofas and beds. We bought him a soft stuffed staircase. Also, he could not jump onto the window sill anymore and bask in the sun. Lastly, my mother, like I, was devastated that the cancer returned anyway. I agree with my mom; Rockie couldn’t do the things he used to after the surgery. Also, it is heartbreaking that this vicious disease made a comeback. Everyone has a different opinion about situations especially sensitive ones involving pets.

 

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