So, Snoopy it was. My little right hand cat that followed me around from day 1. Well more like day 20 when she could actually walk. We were inseparable, she always waited for me at the door when I came home from school, and I always shared my pillow with her. She got into the habit of sleeping with one of my hands on her at all times, and she could be very demanding if that didn’t happen. Every day I would come home from school and we would hang out. She was there when I was doing my homework, she was there when I had one tonsil infection after another, on my good days and my bad.
And then she got sick.
We lived in china, where there were tons of stray cats around and rats outside. Mind you, I don’t remember there being many rats outside, but I was little, I could have overlooked them. As you may have guessed, due to the stray cats and rats, there was also rat poison outside. My parents had always let the cats out, so Snoopy came home one day and wasn’t right. She wouldn’t move, eat, drink. The vet came by and said she had eaten rat poison, and either she was going to pull through, or she wasn’t. My mom and I had set up a basket for her in her favorite spot by the attic window, she would always sleep in a sunbeam and watch the “big screen TV’ window while I was in school. My mom always told me that she was afraid to go upstairs because she was worried that Snoopy would have passed in the night. I insisted on sleeping up there with her, but alas, I would always get moved back downstairs into my bed. Then one night I woke up and Snoopy was back on my pillow. I was convinced it was a dream, only to wake up in the morning and realize that she was really there.
She pulled through, the tough cookie. And we were closer than ever before. She was with me when my family moved to Canada. She even got a passport! She stuck beside me even when we had to live in a motel for a month because our house wasn’t ready. She was beside me every day after school when I would come home crying because the other kids were mean to me. She was always on my lap when I ready Harry Potter books (nerd alert!). She was my best friend when I had no friends and my comfort through the storm. I like to say that she tolerated the rest of my family as she had a very specific ranking order. If I was home, everyone else was dead to her. If my dad and mother were home, she would prefer my dad. But then when my mom was the only one home, she was a huge suck up. Either because she was lonely or because she wanted extra treats, I’m not entirely sure. Then my parents divorced, and I had to move to Germany with my mom.
Because we had to stay at my grandmother’s apartment while we looked for a house, Snoopy stayed with my Dad in Canada until we were settled, and he would then bring her over later. Those three months were horrible. I didn’t have my pillow mate, my confidante, or my best friend. On top of adjusting to not having my father around. Getting her back was the highlight of my year, far superior to experiencing two christmases for the first time. And that’s saying a lot for an eleven year old!
Time passed, and she moved with me through a house, a second apartment and a move back to Canada, into a house that was already occupied by two other cats and a dog. Now the dog she knew, we got Charlie when we lived in Canada before my parents divorced. Snoopy had been the queen of the household for quite some time, when we brought home a teeny, tiny, 7 week old blonde Cocker Spaniel puppy, Charlie. (Charlie Brown and Snoopy, see what I did there?!). We brought him home, and he was so excited to meet Snoopy, that he attempted to climb up the stairs to meet her. 10 minutes of trying to pull himself up the stairs, he finally reached the second to last stair, the one below where Snoopy sat tall and proud, regal like, waiting for him. He stopped to take a breath and smell her feet, when she pulled her feet back, looked at him in a disgusted manner, looked at my mom and I waiting at the bottom of the stairs seeing how she would react, looked back at Charlie, and boxed him on the ear. Without claws, I assure you. Without a peep. Just a ‘I’m in charge here, and you better listen to me, you imbecile’. While Charlie sat back stunned and unsure of what just happened, Snoopy turned around and sauntered away slowly with her tail in the air stick straight.
Needless to say, two new cats in the house and her old ‘buddy’ Charlie, that was a lot for her to take on, but she did it. She adapted, and still would not let me sleep a night without her. Whenever I was gone to visit my mother, she would still sleep in my bed. She had a knack for sleeping under the covers, so it was important to always check to make sure there wasn’t a cat in the bed before sitting down. She was honestly like a person to me. I told her everything and I knew she understood. She never, ever let me down.
When it came time to go to University, I had decided to go to Carleton University for Journalism. I had to move from near Toronto to Ottawa, and couldn’t take her with me. First it was due to the dorm rooms not allowing pets, then it was due to the fact that I had roommates that didn’t like cats. And then it was because she was too old to completely uproot and bring with me. It broke my heart into a million pieces. I realized how great of a bond we had, and how much she meant to me. Even thinking about it now I can’t help but feel like I let her down by not bringing her with me. I knew she would be taken care of, and I knew that she loved my parents and was tolerating the other creatures in the house, but not having her by my side was heart wrenchingly sad. I had a tough time for my university time and after, and made a couple wrong choices. But whenever I came home I always knew that she was there waiting for me.
When it came time to decide what I wanted my future career to be, I thought about what I was passionate about in life. All I could think of was how much I loved Snoopy, and how much I wanted to share with the world that love and devotion she gave me. She was by my side when things went right or wrong, she was there when there were bullies, with my first break up, my parents divorce, my wonky grades in Germany, my good grades in Canada. Through new friendships in life, and lost loved ones. Through late night cramming and early morning work days. I realized that every single person on this earth deserved to feel the love of a bond like that. So I decided to be a vet tech.
Being a vet tech meant I could take care of other people’s animals, the way I would want anyone to treat Snoopy. It meant I could help save other peoples’ Snoopy’s from rat poison, help people when it came time to say goodbye to their soul mate, and help new Snoopy’s into the world.
I started my journey that was Vet Tech school. I put my blood, sweat and tears into two years of really hard work to be a vet tech. I made friends that I’ll never forget, met my best friend who is my person, I met teachers that really cared about me and my education. I made it through, more or less in one piece.
Then, 2 weeks before my scheduled VTNE exam, Snoopy died. It’s been almost two years and I still find this so hard to write. My best friend was 18 years old, a very respectable age. Her passing is to this day still one of the hardest things I had to overcome - and I’m clearly still holding on to it closely. I miss her every day, more than I actually have words for.
For those that have had a bond like this - you know exactly what I mean, what I went through. Yet it comforts me knowing that my best friend is up there, watching me tackle challenges daily. Watching me take care of other people’s Snoopys, the way I would have wanted her to be treated. I know that when I help animals cross the Rainbow Bridge, she’s on the other side waiting to greet them and show them around. She’s rolling in cat nip and chasing mice, and smacking Charlie around. She’s up there waiting for me, and i can only hope to one day be reunited again with my best friend.
Rest in peace, sweet girl. Everything I am as a Vet Tech is cause of you and your bond with me. I hope I do you proud.