Editor’s Note: While stories of losses can be hard to read, they’re an important part of the work we do. Not all of the animals in our care will make it, but it’s essential to tell their stories. Not only because the animals deserve to be memorialized, but also because in far too many cases, the comfort we give them at the end of their lives is the only love and kindness they’ve ever known. Our foster parents are incredible human beings and it’s important to recognize that the work and care they put into their animals isn’t always rewarded in purrs and puppy breath. Sometimes fostering is hard and heartbreaking. We couldn’t do this work without their commitment to opening their hearts and homes to animals in all stages of life and health.
By Denise Stone, foster parent
Two of my other foster cats were due for vaccines the day I met Blue at Brother Wolf’s adoption center. As I waited, I asked which of the quarantined cats was most in need of foster. I figured that if one of them needed a quiet spot, some meds, or some subcutaneous fluids, I could provide that. I work from home and I have the space, so why not?
The medical staff quickly suggested Blue, a 3-year old fluffball who had been surrendered to the shelter along with his brother Tom Tom. Their previous caretaker had too many cats at home, and their health and well being had suffered from it. In Brother Wolf’s care, and with my help, I was sure Blue and Tom Tom would finally find their true forever homes, where they would be loved for all their days, just as they deserved.
Poor Blue was dehydrated and weak as we loaded him into the carrier, so we were sent home with special food, fluids, and an IV. We did everything we could to set this little guy up for success, but our opportunity to care for him came too late.
At home, I set Blue up in a spare bedroom and discovered how very weak and thin he was under his fluff. He couldn’t even walk straight. He climbed into his litter box and I snapped a quick arrival picture. I thought I’d be taking a lot of pictures of him throughout his stay with me and I looked forward to watching his progress day by day.
When I checked on him an hour later, he had crawled under the bed. I laid on the floor beside him, stroking his head and speaking softly, but I couldn’t coax him out.
Later, when it was time for his sub-q fluids, I found him in the bathtub. I took it as a good sign that he was up and moving about the room. He was great at sitting still while the IV fluids nourished him.
During my next visit, we sat together on the bathroom floor. I noticed he hadn’t been eating, so I syringe-fed him. Though he had received flea medication when he was at the adoption center, I could tell fleas has been a long-neglected problem before arriving. I gently brushed his fur, ridding him of flea dirt.
I worried about him being so sick, but I truly believed that his story would have a happy ending. I believed he would get strong and healthy and that his coat would shine again. I went to bed that night believing that.
When I checked on Blue in the morning, he was clearly in distress. I called Brother Wolf’s overnight emergency phone number, slid him into his carrier, and rushed him to the nearest vet clinic. Heartbreakingly, he passed away before we even pulled into the parking lot.
At only three years old, he was gone.
I had only known Blue for about 18 hours, but I wept for him. I wept for the life lost, the love he wouldn’t experience, and out of frustration over how his previous family could have let his illness get so out of hand.
It has been two weeks since Blue passed and the pain of his loss makes me tear up each time I think about the unfair lot life handed him. I’m thankful that Brother Wolf took him in and that I got to provide him with a little peace and comfort at the end of his life.
Rest in peace, sweet boy. I’m sorry I couldn’t do more for you but I’m glad your last night was not spent in a cage. I will honor your memory with the next foster that comes to stay with me. You will not be forgotten.
HERE ARE 3 EASY WAYS TO HELP ANIMALS LIKE BLUE:
- DONATE – Donations help us feed, board, and provide medical care to the 500+ animals throughout the adoption center and in foster homes. Visit our Amazon Wishlist to shop for items that can be shipped right to our door or become a member of the Compassionate Circle by making a recurring monetary donation.
- VOLUNTEER or FOSTER – Volunteers and fosters are Brother Wolf’s backbone. Do you have an hour to walk dogs or fold laundry? Do you want to learn to trap feral cats with our Community Cat Program? Are you a social butterfly who can help at one of our weekly adoption events? Do you have space in your home and heart for a temporary foster animal? Click here to learn more and sign up!
- SHARE – Share this story with your friends and family on social media to help spread Brother Wolf’s message of uncompromised compassion.