Bingus of the Wee Bings (1994-2006)
By Robin Dearing"Um, Mama, so how is Bing?' I was standing in the bathroom trying to get myself together for work. It was exactly the question that I was hoping she wouldn't ask until after school today. I tried to stifle my tears and figure out how I was going to explain that I had my sweet, old kitty put down last night. I told her that his kidneys weren't working anymore and that the doctor had to put him to sleep. "Does that mean that he's dead?" was her reply. I nodded yes. She cried but still managed to brush her teeth and get herself ready to come to my work before she headed to school. She'd be her normal self for a bit, then she'd tell me how sad she was. "I wish you'd never taken him to that place," referring to the emergency veterinary clinic I found in the yellow pages. After I explained that he was really sick and already dying, she said, "I wish you'd taken him there sooner." But the fact is that old is old and nothing can turn back the hands of time. I'd had that cat longer than I've been married to Bill (and longer than my first marriage, too). I bought Bing from a pet store in Pennsylvania not because he was so cute I had to have him, but because I knew that no one else would buy him. Pet stores that sell cats and dogs are often evil places where the animals are treated like merchandise. Bing was covered in fleas (something we, pet owners, in glorious Western Colorado have little worry over) and parrot poop as he seemed to like to hang out below the bird's cage. His fur was all matted and his head seems a couple sizes too big for his tiny body. Who was gonna spend a bunch of money on a pure-bred Persian that was all pathetic looking? Oh right, me. He turned out to be the cutest little guy, even if he was timid and goofy. He never exhibited the grace and dexterity that is innate to other cats. Instead, he would fall down or get stuck. But he was sweet. And he did develop some talents. He could beg for cat treats like no other. He even learned how to scoop a treat off the coffee table with his paw and put it into his mouth. I've never had to have a pet euthanized before and it was the suckiest decision I've ever had to make. Richie and I talked this morning about the passing of her kitty who died at home in October. At home or at the vet's office, it sucks either way. I've worked in animal hospitals before. I've seen cases where owners were unwilling to accept the inevitable. They would have procedure after procedure done in order to eek out a little more time with their pet. I told myself a long time ago, that I would not do that to my pets. I wouldn't put them through costly and often futile treatments just to make myself feel better. But even having that firm conviction and knowing that his kidney failure was chronic, I couldn't tell the veterinarian that that was my decision. Thankfully she figured it out and quickly it was over. Nothing left to do now but grieve.