Goose Tunney, 2003-2012

Saturday, April 21, things started to change. Goose’s body reverted from battling disease to the start of a death process. The part of me, all of me, that loved his very being tried to convince myself that he was just tired, not hungry and unwilling to move off of the couch. But I knew better. And I knew that there really wasn’t any coming back from a cancerous mass on the brain stem of a 19 lb. cat that slept on my neck nightly and lived his days for Purina’s Pro-Plan.

We had the talk. Me kneeling in front of him, laying on the couch.

“I’m not going to let you suffer,” I told him. “I’m going to help you.” I didn’t go so far as to explain what the process was. I made no mention of the end, or the dying process, or the mess we were in, just that as his friend, I was going to help him in the only way I knew that I could.

He remained unresponsive. I had no real plans that day. Instead, I stayed in sitting next to Goose, with my hand on him, for most of the day. I’m pretty sure I had drank a bottle of wine by 3 p.m.

That night, Heather returned home from New York. In the days while she was gone, I made no mention of Goose’s condition, but broke down on the way home from the airport, explaining what I thought would happen within the next few days. The dying process, the research I had made on the topic of euthanasia, the dread I felt.

Through the night, Goose remained restless, unable to find comfort.

On Sunday, I really honestly thought Goose was going to find his peace on his own. His breathing had slowed, he had forgone food and water, and he remained in his sacred spot on the couch. But I’ve seen it before and I’m sure that I will see it again sometime: cancer isn’t quick. The body is left to slowly expire without relief. I never envisioned it would strike one of my best friends in the world, again, but it was. He survived another day, with little food, water or movement, and I knew it was time to call the doctor.

The doctor was off that Monday. But I asked about the euthanasia process, and if they offered it, and broke down listening to price breakdowns, paw print in clay offers and disclaimers. I retained the blind hope that maybe, this was just a step on the way to recovery, and maybe, the doctor would call me back and say that we were fine. That next morning, Tuesday the 24th, she called and offered no such solace.

We made an appointment for 3:30 that afternoon.

The next few hours, I had to work. Blindingly. By 2 p.m., I was unable to do anymore, and spent the next hour and 15 minutes sitting next to Goose, petting him, comforting him, holding him, letting him know that everything would be okay.

The appointment is something I hope I never have to go through again. After an assessment, the doctor agreed that nothing could be done, and a sedative was injected into Goose. He relaxed, quickly. The doctor then returned with the drugs that would take his life, and carefully injected it into his leg.

I held his head, kissed him, told him that I loved him, felt one final gasp, and then his head went heavy in my hands. The doctor quickly left the room and I lost it.

Left to stare at his still body, incredibly devastated, asking him to please come back. Still petting him.

It’s been just over a month, and I’m learning to live without his physical presence in my life. But I’m still shell shocked.