When I was eight years old, my family moved to Brazil. Now, I adjusted pretty well, and I loved living there, but when I was nine I was a little lonely. I prayed and prayed for months to have a little something of my own to cuddle and love.
Around Thanksgiving, we were at Walmart and were trying to find a parking spot in the parking garage when someone in the car (I honestly don't remember who) saw something. That something ended up being Mandy. A tiny, emaciated little kitten all huddled up trying not to die.
We stopped and put her in our trunk (she was very dirty and had poop and vomit on her, and there is air to breathe in trunks). We bought cat stuff while at Walmart and took her home with us. The veterinarian was able to keep her alive for us, and I had a cat.
I named her Mandy because of Walmart. In my nine year-old brain, I thought "Walmart . . . Mart . . . Marty . . . Mandy." :)
She has been a source of joy ever since. She saw me through the rest of Brazil, moved with me to Indiana, came with me to college in Utah, and then had to go to my parents in Michigan, because my current housing does not allow pets.
Click the image to view a larger version.She has been a comfort, companion, best friend, and family member. She would cuddle and sleep with me at night. She would follow me around when I was singing, and if she felt like it she would come when I called. When I would cry, she could always tell. She would jump up next to me and let me hold her.
She has loved me even when I played mean tricks on her (young children aren't always the best pet owners), and she survived even when she should have died (not only her birth and kittenhood at Walmart but a sad experience in 2004 when she went without food and water for three weeks).
She helped me survive the loneliness that was freshman year, when I wasn't sure why I picked BYU or what I was doing in Utah when I should have been at Purdue with all of my siblings and still in Indiana with my other friends and family.
She has lived at least 14 long, good years.
You may be wondering why I have decided to talk about my beloved pet. I spoke to my mother this morning, and Mandy has cancer in her abdomen. She hasn't been eating normally, so my mom thought she had a hairball stuck in her system and took her to the vet. Unfortunately, it is cancer and a very fast one. Luckily, it causes Mandy no pain, but it will eventually cause her to starve to death in about two weeks or so.
My mom is going to put her to sleep sometime this week, and then she and my dad are taking her to my grandparent's house to be buried in the backyard next to other family pets.
I wish I could hold her one last time and tell her how much I love her and how much she means to me, but I know that she already knows and she's a cat, so I really can't justify flying home. A pet is a pet in the end.
I am grateful that I got to see her over Christmas. I wasn't supposed to, but my mom felt strongly that she should drive to Michigan to check on the pets, so my parents and I drove from Fountain City, Indiana to Waterford, Michigan to Glen Este, Ohio in a 30-hour period. We laughed at ourselves for the silliness, and many people laughed at us as well, but now I am so glad that we did go, because I got to see Mandy one last time, and I hadn't seen her since the summer of 2007.