Goodbye dear Spanky…

Today, we had to say goodbye to our sweet girl Spanky and I need to share.

Spanky was a stray who came into our lives twelve years ago. A black cat who wore a white bikini. She was pregnant when we found her roaming the neighborhood. We started feeding her, but left her alone, thinking she might go back to wherever she belonged. She gave birth to three kittens in the a roll of carpeting, in the back of a neighbor’s truck. We decided to take her in when the young neighbor showed up at our door with a pure white kitten in his hands asking what he should do.

At that point in time, we had four adults, two dogs and two cats already living in our home. Fortunately our home and our hearts had enough room to fit her in. She quickly became a part of the family, although she truly preferred being a one pet family. She tolerated the other animals, and people, and became extremely loyal and attached to my honey and I. It took us almost three weeks to find the perfect name for her. I remember lying in bed next to my honey tossing names about, when he said, “How about Otis Spankmeyer the third? Spanky for short”. It fit her a personality, and the name stuck.

She was the youngster in the house. We got her spayed, and she outlived all the others. In 2011, we became empty nesters. My dad had retired, and my folks decided they wanted to spend some retirement years in their own place. They had moved in with us several years earlier when we purchased a large home with in law quarters. They took their cat with them. We downsized, just us and the two cats. A while later, we had close friends, family really, who were moving from another state to our town. They moved in with us for six months while they found jobs and looked for their own place. A few days later, I found cat pee on my down comforter on my bed! My first thought was that our older cat had started to lose her faculties. She was, after all, fifteen years old. We battled the peeing for a few weeks, and I was ready to put her down. Until… one day I walked into the room and found Spanky on the bed trying to hide some fresh pee!!!! That little stinker!!

A regimen of canned pumpkin for a possible bladder infection and replacing the comforter put an end to the peeing. The vet said she may have just been mad at us for bringing change into the house. She ended up having a love hate relationship with the guy who moved in. He loved to tease and play with her, and in later years would treat her to pieces of shredded mozzarella cheese when he visited.

Spanky loved to play hide and seek with her daddy when he arrived home from work. Often running from him into a room, waiting for him to come find her, and when he did, she would bolt to a different room. She was a triller too. Whenever she would jump, awaken to a pet on the head, she would let out a squeaky little trill. It was like an early warning that she was coming up into the bed to cuddle. She loved to cuddle in the mornings. She would crawl under the covers with me for about 15 minutes, and she would stretch out next to her daddy a little later in the morning for love. At night, she loved being scooped up by her daddy like a baby, and would gently paw at his chin while he stroked her back.

She was a hunter, and cleared the backyard of voles when we first moved in. Patiently she would wait at a hole, watching and listening, sometimes for a half hour, before suddenly springing and flinging a one of the little creatures into the air with her teeth.

These past couple months were filled with many vet visits, and she quickly gained a reputation as the “infamous Spanky” amongst the vets. They even marked on her chart beware of fast teeth.

Our favorite thing was sitting in the backyard on a warm sabbath morning, drinking coffee and watching her chase bugs in the backyard.

The tears and sobbing comes and goes. I know that with time, the hole she leaves in our hearts will shrink. We are entering another chapter of life. She brought us great joy, we brought her great joy. No one is immortal except the Almighty. But, the hole she leaves in our home may well make space to bless another abandoned animal in the future. She will be desperately missed. Rest in peace with no more suffering, our dear Pookie Bear, our Spanky Girl.

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