Your Pet Loss Stories

'Pumpkin 11-18-2008'

by Heather

I read the story about Naya and it has helped me since I am having a terrible time coping with the tragedy of my little Pumpkin.

Pumpkin was a little calico also, with long hair and beautiful green eyes. She was also small weighing just about 7 pounds. She was rescued from a corn field in the middle of winter when she was small enough to fit into my hand.

She was always very shy and timid. She grew up with my cockapoo Scooter and though she never bonded with anything or anyone really except for me, she tolerated him perfectly because he has an extremely sweet disposition. So things went well for 12 years. We too added a couple members to our family in the form of my husband and his rescue cat, Kitton. Everyone was happy and things went well for another 4 years.

We bought our first home last year on several acres and decided that we should rescue another animal from our local shelter. We chose a Norwegian Elkhound named Smokey, who for all intents had spent his whole life of about 4 years in a shelter. He had a sweet temperament and we all thought, including the shelter who had him for almost 2 years, that he was a very even tempered dog. He tested fine with other dogs and cats so we took him home.

The first day we went to work we put Smokey in our big bathroom with all his toys and bed and food and placed a pet gate in the doorway instead of closing the door, so he wouldn't feel isolated and could see what was going on. We got home that evening and all was well.

The second day we repeated the drill, but when we got home Smokey met us at the door having torn down the gate by breaking it apart. The house was trashed with urine and faeces everywhere. My dog Scooter and the other cat Kitton were cowering on the upstairs landing and then we found my precious little Pumpkin in the middle of the living room floor, lifeless. I was hysterical. I picked up her lifeless little body and carried her around for about a half not knowing what else to do but hold her, which I always did when one of us had a stressful situation.

After 17 years together I couldn't believe that she was never going to greet me at the door again. That she would never come running when I called her for bed. She would never get hysterical with meowing at the sound of a tin of anything being opened in the kitchen, assuming it was something for her. She would never run up and snuggle by my head on the pillow and purr us both to sleep.

I too was reminded of how heavy she felt when in life she was so soft and light in my arms as she nuzzled by my neck. Her eyes were open which I think made it worse. They were still a beautiful green but the sparkle had gone out of them. She wasn't mangled but instead her little body was wet where she had obviously been picked up by Smokey.

I'll never know exactly what happened to my sweet little girl. She didn't deserve to die like that and I feel it is my fault. I shouldn't have brought this darkness into her life. I thought we were doing good by saving a shelter dog and it turned out to be the worst decision I could imagine.

We buried her that night under our magnolia tree. She always hated going to the vet so I just couldn't do that to her. Plus the fact that I didn't know what to do with her until morning made the decision easier. At that point I wasn't even thinking clearly. I wrapped her in one of my shirts, so part of me would always be with her, and placed her gently in the ground. I said a prayer for her and told her how much I had loved her and how happy she made us all. I hope she felt the same about us.

I will get other cats but none of the new ones will have grown up with me. None of the others will have known the 13 year old me. I don't know if I can get over the guilt that this is my fault, my mistake that Pumpkin paid the ultimate price for. I can only hope she didn't suffer. I know Smokey was only using his instinct and I'm not mad at him. I too felt betrayed that after rescuing him to give him a loving and good home he would destroy part of it. I have had shelter dogs my whole life and they had always been the best animal companions, loyal and loving and fun.

I'll miss you in my life Pumpkin you were my one of my two best friend along with Scooter your pseudo-littermate. He's been looking for you each morning. Part of me does too and probably always will.

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