By Ad Hudler
The assignment for bloggers this months is "How I got the call."
I got the call on a Tuesday morning at 9:42 a.m., according to the clock in my truck. It was my wife, at the vet's with our cat, Sophie. This was the fourth time we'd taken Sophie in to have a tumor removed from her rear leg.
"Dr. Golden wants to ... to take her leg off," said my wife.
"That sounds really expensive," I said.
"What are the other options."
"Uhh ... well ... putting her down."
We had had this cat for nearly 21 years. We got her at the Humane Society just before we were married. She grew up with our daughter, at first sleeping in her crib with her and then, later, in her bed. We moved this wonderful cat to five different states, from the subtropics to the winters of Minnesota and back again. She never complained, she always adapted. She was a true lady, always very clean and regal and well-mannered. She even endured five months in a cramped highrise condo.
That said, my wife and I have always rolled our eyes at people who treat their pets like human children. We love our animals, but we are true Darwinists; we would not, for example, put our dog or cat on anti-depressants, as my friend does.
So, when we were confronted with the decision of either cutting off Sophie's leg or putting her to sleep ... well, we had some serious questions to ask ourselves. But back to the call:
"I'll ask her how much it's going to cost," said Carol.
"Okay," I said.
Long pause, then she said, "How much is too much?"
"Carol! I'm not going to decide that! Don't put that decision on me!"
"Well, why should I have to decide?"
"Because she was your cat when we got married. It's your choice."
Later that day, when we both were at home, I noticed Sophie was absent. I was afraid to ask what had happened.
Finally, Carol said, "She's at the vet's having her leg taken off."
I breathed a sigh of relief.
"How much?" I asked.
"Fifteen-hundred," she replied. "And the funny thing was ... that was the limit I'd given myself when the vet left the room to go research the cost. So ... what was the magic number in your mind?"
"You won't believe this," I said.
So sweet Old Sophie had her leg removed, and she was with us for four more years, hobbling about and hissing whenever anyone walked by too quickly. When it was time to die, she simply stopped drinking water. I could tell she was tired and ready to move on. And my wife and I and my daughter all took her to Dr. Golden, who helped us lead our beloved cat into the next world.
I miss her.
>New York Post: Hudler's newest novel is "Required Reading"