George has been gone now a few weeks, and I burden you with my grief… It just seems I must put the tears of remembrance down to let him know in his eternal sleep he will always be in my heart.

George was a lively kitten who often irritated me with his antics. Then, in my guilt, I would play with him and try to make up. Active and lively were hallmarks of George and his breed. I so wish he was here now to annoy me.

He was a Bengal cat, a breed that developed some fifty years ago when an Asian leopard cat was bred with a domestic cat. George’s grandmother was a true Asian leopard cat of the jungle.

George’s feral rating was two on the scale of five, and aside from lively, he was lovable, greeted guests at the door, and wanted to be part of all the action.

Most of all, the furry family member was full of love, and he depended on my wife for all his food and maintenance needs – me, I was his playmate… I wish now that I was more of a play pal to him. The kids played with him on their visits, and he was most animated to see them. George had a large group of toys and he wanted all the kids to see them.

In the end he became lethargic and would not eat…except for chicken broth Julie made for him. George died in Julie’s arms. As I came from a ‘tinkle break’ they were there on the floor, and the room became very silent. Julie and I gathered on the sofa, and I held his dead body for some time, rubbing his beautiful marble tummy.

We cried! Actually, we bawled! We sat there for some time, lost in our own memory vaults, remembering the incredible joy he brought us.

We buried George in a secluded garden area on our property and we say ‘Hi, love you, Georgie Boy’, each time we pass.

Years ago, I buried my golden retriever and had the same terrible sense of loss. We have now buried all the animals we’ve owned – a little cottontail rabbit we had for seven years, after Julie saved it from a coyote on a Christmas morning years ago (we named him ‘Christmas’ and he became an in-house family member, complete with food and maintenance service)

A ferret named ‘Bandit’ we had for eight years, another joy in our lives. One memory is still firmly fixed in my heart: living years ago on a spread we called ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’ I was in bed with a severe gout attack. On the bed with me were Toby (my golden), Bandit (on a heating pad), and little Christmas. All seemed to sense my pain.

Bandit is buried on ‘The Lazy Rabbit Ranch’. Christmas is buried under a Tamarack tree in Arizona.

Guess there will be no more animals in our lives, but the memories of those we had still bring us joy in the remembering – and, tears.

Billy Ray Chitwood – July 12, 2016


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