Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Losing our boy

Chase Bird, Christmas 2014

I can’t tell you about the last six months without first telling you about Chase Bird. We lost our boy on Tuesday, October 27.

You know that my cats are my family. Larry feels the same way. So the last two weeks have not been easy.

Chase Bird’s death was unexpected. He was referred to a different vet to do dental surgery for stomatitis. During the exam before the surgery, the vet found a mass in his abdomen. We gave permission for her to do exploratory surgery.

He had numerous tumors, including one a little smaller than a golf ball. They could not be removed. Even without doing a biopsy, the three vets there thought it was lymphosarcoma, or lymphoma. The prognosis was very poor, and he was certain to be in pain.

Their recommendation: let Chase Bird go while he was on the table, so he would feel no pain and no fear. We let him go.

My friend Carolyn made this for me.

I want you to know about Chase Bird. He came into our lives in 2007 when he started hanging around our house. Apparently, he had been hanging around the neighborhood for a while.

He was so thin, we started feeding him. One morning, he jumped into my car as I got in to go to work. I remember his little face looking up at me, eyes so bright and eager. He chose us.

On October 20, 2007, we brought him into our house. We named him Chase Bird. He became family.

He was a gentle cat who would snuggle on our laps. He had the longest legs and jumped with such grace. When he purred, he also “puffed” his cheeks and made a clicking sound. That was his “I’m content” sound.

He could catch a toy mousie in the air. His paws could bend and pick things up—you’d swear he had thumbs. He would carry certain toys—only certain ones—in his mouth and looked so cute.

My friend Christi made this.

I am writing this on Tuesday night. We picked up his ashes tonight and brought him home. This ritual is heart wrenching and comforting, a strange mixture of emotions. It’s another reminder he’s gone. But his remains are home.

I have to believe that I will see my boy again. I still talk to him. I believe his spirit lives on.

And I think I heard him tonight.

The crematory service puts the name of the pet and the name of the pet parents on the bottom of the wooden box that holds the ashes and on a certificate stating that the ashes are his.

Chase Bird’s humans were listed not as “Larry and Tina Barbour.” They were listed as “Larry and Tiny Barbour.” Larry and I laughed and cried, probably a bit hysterically, when we saw that. And I’m sure I heard Chase Bird laughing too.


  1. oooooh i do know how much you loved and adored your chase bird. your words about chase bird always had a certain "shine" to them, like when a mother talks about her child. our pets are our family, i know you will love and miss him forever!!!!!

  2. I'm so sorry about Chase Bird. I know how special he was. I enjoyed everything that you shared about him. May he rest in peace.

  3. These little guys are a very important part of our lives. I'm sorry for your loss. You did the right thing to let him go. I think you just got a new nickname...Tiny!

  4. Tina, I'm so sad to hear this. Even though I never met Chase Bird, I feel like I "met" him through your blog, and I loved him too.

  5. My condolences to you and Larry, Tina. I know Chase Bird was a big part of your family. You did the right thing not letting him suffer, even though I'm sure the decision to let him go at that point was heart-wrenching. You put his needs and comfort ahead of your own - that's love.

  6. I'm so sorry Tina. This is such a beautiful tribute to the boy you loved. My heart is with you and Larry.

  7. I'm so sorry for your loss. My sincerest condolences.

  8. I enjoyed knowing Chase Bird through your words. He sounds like such a special cat. I'm so sorry.

  9. I am so sorry. Truly I am. My kitties are like my children, too, and losing our Sadie five years ago was the hardest thing ever. I was just thinking of her this morning, and of how much I still miss her. They are such a gift to us, these animals, are they not? {{hugs}}

  10. Oh I am sorry, Tina. That must have been a heart-wrenching decision to make. But Chase knew you loved him.

  11. Oh dear Tina, my heart is breaking for you as I read this. I know how much you loved him -- I remember so many beautiful photos in your posts and thought him most handsome. I loved reading your tribute -- not only heartfelt but so filled with love and admiration -- yes, admiration -- for this creature who could jump and catch and had that wonderful puffy-cheeked purr. I've lost cats to long illness and one very sudden (Stimpy) and I know that with the sudden loss, there is no time to prepare (not that it helps that much; the loss is powerful no matter what). But the shock is more extreme. I wish, I so wish, that as the time moves on your sadness will lift and those last moments will be dimmed a bit and only the joyful memories, such as the ones you've shared here. will be the moments that come to mind. I believe it will happen. Till it does, hang close.

  12. I remember having a dream one night, and my cats Silver and Tonto were playing "attack feets" with me, one of our favorite games. It felt so real! I was sure they were still with me.

    These days, I'm married to a man with terrible allergies to pets (plus we have a weird schedule that would make it difficult to be proper animal parents). Thank you for bringing all the Chase Bird stories into our lives. I enjoyed every one of them and live vicariously through your experiences.

    Hugs to you and Larry through the Internet during this most difficult time.

  13. Oh, Tina (or should I say Tiny?); so many hugs and prayers for you and Larry. I can't even imagine. I felt like I really got to know Chase Bird through your stories and pictures of him. We want some pets but it's not the right time. I always appreciated the little tidbits of Mr. Chase Bird. I am so sorry.

  14. He's so beautiful. What a generous and tough choice you made to let him go. Cats are the best, and you have a lifetime of wonderful memories. I'm glad he chose you.

  15. Oh TIna I am so very sorry to hear this sad news. I know how much you loved your sweet, Chase Bird. You gave him a beautiful tribute and his memory lives on in your heart. I hope that you will find another furry companion to help ease the loss of your sweet Chase Bird, I know it's soon and not everyone can do that but to me a home without a kitty in it just doesn't feel right. Sending you and your hubby hugs tonight as you grieve the loss of this sweet kitty.

  16. oh, i'm very sorry! i know he was a great source of joy for you - especially when he was free to roam about the house after losing your other cats. that's very tough. i was happy to read about abbey, though.


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