Emily, I have been in your shoes many times, sometimes it was cancer or kidney failure or a tumor or a tragic accident. Many times a cat, many times a dog. It is never easy. It is always heartbreaking.

I recently lost my 16-year-old dog who had Degenerative Myelopathy. Have you heard of the human disease ALS? Degenerative Myelopathy is like that. For 18 months, I watched my sweet, loving dog lose her ability to stand, become incontinent, lose her dignity.

I tell you all of this because I want you to realize animals are in our lives for a reason. We need them and they need us. It is a privilege and an honor to share a deep communication with a pet. That privilege requires us to make the tough decisions because our pet depends on us for comfort and protection.

You sound like you are prepared to make the hardest decision you may ever face. I hope you know that such a decision is a gift you give your beloved cat. And, should you realize it’s time to say goodbye, be with him until the end. He needs you. And, as hard as it is, you need to be there for yourself as well as for him.

I admire the strength it took for you to write this. I admire your bravery to face a difficult week.

Know always that Eddie is with you. I believe my pets who have passed send me new companions to fill the void they left. My Pooh passed in April and in July I adopted two 10-year-old dogs, sisters who were deeply bonded. Their personalities are so much like Pooh’s, I am sure she arranged the whole thing! Loving another pet will not lessen your love for Eddie. Leave your heart open.

How wonderful that you are filled with gratitude for the time you’ve shared with Eddie! Keep that gratitude strong and close, you will need it in the days to come.

I will be thinking of you this week, particularly on Friday, wishing you all the courage and love you need for Eddie and for yourself. If you want to talk, write a new comment here.

Hugs from me to you and to Eddie. I celebrate the love the two of you share.

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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