Sunday, October 4, 2009

Our final goodbyes to dear little Vixey

I brought Vixey home from the clinic after she passed away.  Upon reaching home, I brought Vixey back into our room (yes, it's my room as well as Vixey's room, so it's our room).  Vixey has spent the last two years in this room together with me. 

All my books were written in this room.  All my talks were prepared in this room.  And Vixey had been my faithful companion for two years during all this time.  I spend many, many hours in this room each day.  And whenever I look away from my laptop, right there, on my left, would be Vixey, sitting on the router, her favourite spot.  And I'd call her, "Piggy-Wiggy!", and she would always, always respond with the wag of her little tail.   

Since the very day I brought Vixey back (with brother Wii aka Little Chief), she had been hugging hot things.  She started with plug points, then our hi-fi set, and finally progressed to the computer router which she absolutely loves.  The vet said she probably had hypothyroidism, hence, feels cold all the time.  Yet, she never liked hot water bottles.  She just loved electrical gadgets. 

So I brought Vixey home today, and placed her at her favourite spot in the room, next to the router.

You're home now, Vixey.

All the cats, and Mac and Bobby gathered around.  They seemed to know what had happened as there was a melancholic air in the house.  One by one, they came to see and sniff at Vixey.    

I put on the CD of chanting, and I sat with Vixey at her favourite spot. 

Vixey's brother, Wii aka Little Chief

Bunny saying goodbye

Bobby was with us all the time

Suki did not quite know what was going on although we brought her to say thank you and goodbye to Vixey. 

Indy, on the other hand, was clearly upset when we brought him to see Vixey.  He struggled to go away, so I let him be. 

When Vixey was first hospitalised this round, I had wanted to have a photo taken with her in the house, but we did not have time.  And I told myself, Vixey would be coming home, and I would surely have a chance to take a photo with her. 

Vixey at the clinic

The photo above shows Vixey at the clinic on the second day.  I guess this is the last photo I would ever have of Vixey and me.  You probably cannot see Vixey in the photo because I was wearing black pants.  That's my little black beauty. 

It was always difficult to take a photo with Vixey because she was never comfortable being carried.  She liked being stroked and patted, but not being carried.  The vet said somewhere probably hurts, and that is why she never liked being carried. 

All this while, though I did not write about it, I was well aware (and I had been told by every vet I've brought Vixey to) that her lifespan would not be very long. Vixey was mentally- and physically-challenged.  She had a growth deficiency and her organs were all under-developed, thus they would fail sooner than the average cat. I had already been told about this and was thus, in a way, always prepared for this to happen one day.

When Vixey was admitted four days ago, her vet had said to me, "Remember we knew this would happen?  Just that we did not know when?  Maybe it's happening now."

I did not want to take his word for it because I wanted to keep my hopes high, but I was prepared for the worst.  At the back of my mind, I also did not want Vixey to suffer from any prolonged agony of pain.  If this is it, and if she has to go, I hoped Nature would let her go peacefully and painlessly.  But before that happened, I would definitely still do everything possible to save her.   

Then, Vixey starting improving after being put on drips and this gave everyone hope, including her vet (who is normally a realistic (read: pessimistic) person). We were already talking about having her blood taken on Monday, assuming she could come home, and I would be learning how to give her her dialysis jabs myself.

But suddenly, everything took a turn for the worst this morning. Her neurological signs became very bad, her eyes starting "bobbing" and she was already mentally "off". I did not see all this as the clinic was closed. The vet related this to me later.

So, that was what happened.  It was time for Vixey to go, and she went quickly.  I am comforted to know that there was no prolonged suffering.  That would have been extremely heart-breaking for me.  

So, when James Kho, the proprietor of Pet Memorial Service, finally arrived at our doorstep, it was time for Vixey's final journey.  

I whispered to Vixey that we all have to go now, and brought her to the car.  My husband, daughter and I will bring Vixey to the crematorium.  

As we were about to leave, Indy came....finally.  

Indy wasn't upset now.    


Indy saying goodbye to his big sister before we left for the crematorium

At the crematorium, we all said one last final goodbye, and I placed Vixey back into her favourite basket (not the one you see in the photos).  It is a smaller one. 

Her cremation was accompanied with the soft chanting of the Metta Chant.  That is the chanting that had been accompanying Vixey each time she got sick.

Animals have no religion, and they don't need to.  But they understand and appreciate love and kindness.  In return, they give us unconditional loyalty and faithfulness.  Even when you scold them and reject them, they come right back to you and still love you.  What better religion can there be than that?     

I believe in immediate rebirth.  It is comforting when you do, because you know the moment life ends in this body, it is already reborn in another.  And what you see before you after life has expired is just an "empty shell".  The "spirit" (or consciousness, or soul, or whatever we wish to call it) is already reborn elsewhere.  

My husband said Vixey's "tour" as a cat is meant to be a short one.  She just came back as a cat to pay a karmic debt, and now that she is done, she is off to a better realm.  Vixey's going to be reborn a lady of great substance, he said.  And that's because she lived her (this) life as a lady of great substance.  

Despite all her medical problems and her retardation, Vixey not only did not give us any behavioural problems, she was an extremely considerate cat.  Whenever I gave her her enemas, she would jump out to the garden (something she never does on ordinary days) and stay there because she did not want to dirty our floor (with her uncontrolled defecation after the enema).  Vixey was the only cat who knew how to use the bathroom, and she trained all the kittens under her to use the bathroom too.  

Most importantly and unforgettable would be how Vixey would take care of every kitten that I bring home to nurse.  Indy benefited most of all.  Vixey practically brought Indy up, taught him how to use the bathroom and took him to the food and water bowls in the kitchen to eat.  Vixey accepted every kitten that I brought back to nurse.  She had never even once hissed at any of them though for a cat, it was infringing into her territory.  Kimba, Creamie & Crackers, Suki, and even Joanie (an adult female cat) were all allowed to share her room and her space.      

Vixey truly had a heart of gold.  

She will be reborn as a person with a heart of gold, and she will do great things in life.  

I will miss Vixey very, very much.  It is going to be very hard for me in the next few weeks, but life has to go on. 

And life will go on....

The first thing I've decided to do right now is to work on the reprint of Pawprints on My Heart.  This reprint will be done in loving memory of Vixey.  Let the message of love and kindness to animals spread far and wide so that more people would come together to help the animals.   

The second thing is AnimalCare work will go on as usual.  We have not had a day's break ever since we started on 31st May, and we will not have any break now.  We will go on helping as many animals as we can, in memory of all our departed furry friends who have touched our hearts.  

In ever loving memory of my dear little Vixey,
May you have a happy life now, in a much happier existence.
You did great things in this life, despite all your shortcomings,
You will do great things in your next life. 

Vixey passed away on World Animal Day, 4th October 2009. 


Anonymous said...

cheer up teacher! =)

Miss FW said...

kahyein, just to let u know, i am terribly upset as u are :(. and i cried too! :( :(
be strong. i know vixey is watching from heaven.
she will deeply missed, even by a strangers like me. :(

RIP Vixey, we miss u.


PPK said...

We will meet again, Vixey, and you will be a lady of great substance and a heart of gold.

Yuen Keong said...

Hey Dr. Chan,

Sorry to hear that Lil' Vixey has just passed away, overall i have finish reading both your books and i found Vixey, although mentally challenged and all the other complication, to be the cutest cat among all (second is Indy). May God bless Vixey and hopefully everything is alright :)

Your ex-Calculus 3 Student,
Lee Yuen Keong

ManekiNeko said...

Dear Dr. Chan, this post reduced me to tears. The photos of your other cats (and dear Bobby!) saying their farewells just tear at my heart.

May your grief run its course, eased by the knowledge that no one could have given Vixey a finer life.

Maneki and I send you condolences and prayers! -Amanda

Little Yong said...

Yes, Vixey is such a sweet darling that brighten up your days and the great "trainer" of your other cats, may Vixey R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

I've been following Vixey's story and I share your grief. I must say that Vixey is very, very, very lucky indeed to have you shower her with love & care during her short stint as a cat. May she be relieve from all suffering and have a good rebirth.

Uncle said...

Dear Kah Yein, I am very sorry to hear about Vixey’s death. Through your writing, Vixey contributed not only towards the reduction of her own suffering in samsara, but also reached many humans beings who learnt about the importance of compassion and fellow feelings for the other inhabitants on earth.

I agree with you that this is the worst moment for preaching on detachment.

May I share with you a few thoughts by Gaylon Ferguson whose book Natural Wakefulness I am reading:
(Facing someone who has just experienced the death of a close relative) “Slowly it dawns that this very eagerness to do something, to apply an antidote or a remedy, overshoots the mark of simple presence and emotional openness. Finally I say to myself, “none of this strategizing works: what she wants is just someone to be present, to share her experience of sadness.” I realize that I am mistakenly setting out on a fix-it project – as though there is something wrong with the grief Mary is feeling. This haste to cure her emotional distress is well meaning but fundamentally aggressive in its drive to change her experience from what it is.
The awakened heart of mindfulness, on the other hand, allows me to simply be with Mary’s feeling of sadness – as well as to make friends with my own uncomfortable feelings in the presence of such depth of feeling. It is an awkward and tender moment in which two people feel the vulnerability of the human heart. Of course we wish that our loved ones would not die—as absurd as that wish surely is for mortal beings. Mindfulness gives dignity to experience of sharp and painful grief-- it is enough in itself; it does not need changing or correcting or a spiritual cure.”

KW said...

Hi Sis,
Please accept my deepest condolence to the demise of Vixey. I still can remember the challenge you've gone thru when you first discovered her. I'm sure she have gone thru the life full of love from you and your family since you rescued her back. Just think of that, she might have been lucky than many others. May she re-born into a better plane of existence.

Take care.

metta to Vixey,

Anonymous said...

Vixey was such a sweet little cat. You had so much love and care from you, she couldn't have asked for a finer mum.

Jaik said...

My deepest condolence to you and your family for Vixey's untimely demise. Your metta and karuna are commendable indeed. I wish Vixey a good rebirth. She's a beauty I could love too.

I particularly like your saying that, and I quote,
"Animals have no religion, and they don't need to. But they understand and appreciate love and kindness. In return, they give us unconditional loyalty and faithfulness. Even when you scold them and reject them, they come right back to you and still love you. What better religion can there be than that?"

This is very profound and a good reminder to all of us not to be sanctimonious with regards to our creed and beliefs. Yes, with unbounded and unconditional love and kindness every moment of our life, what religion do we need? Indeed! Indeed!

After all, religion is a creation of man. What we need is to be in tune with nature and with our inner-self.

Thanks for sharing this deep insight.

Helen said...

Sorry to hear about the passing away of your beloved Vixey and we share your grief. You had given a Vixey a wonderful life, in overcoming of her limitations and standing tall & brave among her families and friends Vixey had a life well-lived, thanks to you Sis Kah Yein & Your Family..

Sukhi Hotu to you, your family & the Animal Care Team

Teresa Chian said...

I cried and I smiled, then I cried again and smiled again. Thank you for sharing Vixey's journey with us. I can only say, "WOW".

Bro Albert Tan said...

Dear Sis KY,

You and I believe that life of every being, big or small, is precious. After reading yr post I really could feel how Vixey was cared for by you. My wish for her is may she be born in better realm, at laeast in the human realm. Don't worry, you would meet her sometime somewhere if the kammic affinity is strong.
With metta to you, you family and your beloved animals.
Bro Albert

tsuming said...

Tsuming Lim October 6 at 6:41am
Hey m-y,
i'm so sad to hear this. it doesnt seem too long ago that i found them and contacted you and your mom. Its good that she didn't feel much pain then. I'm sorry that i did not reply sooner, but i haven't been able to connect to the net. Sigh, well m-y, at least you can have comfort in knowing that you, your mom, and your family gave vixey the best life it could have. from saving it when it was a kitten and bringing it into your family with its whole society of animals im sure vixey is grateful.

Tsuming Lim October 6 at 6:45am
don't be too upset m-y. life is a cycle, and although vixey had a short one think of it more like she has moved on to a better stage. or perhaps the second life out of nine! cheer up =)