by Barbara Felton
Orrie was a present to my son, Mark, from a girlfriend back in 1991. He was devoted to Mark but, since Mark didn't let him sleep in his room, Orrie slept on my bed every night.
And, of course, being the teenager Mark was, I got to feed Orrie and, of course, take care of the litter box. Orrie and I became ardent TV watchers with him sitting on my lap.
On May 3, 2000, Mark passed away suddenly, so Orrie became mine. Orrie truly was my soul mate. We loved each other unconditionally. He was my living connection to Mark.
In September, 2008, the vet found a squamous cell carcinoma in Orrie's upper jaw. The prognosis was two weeks to two months to live.
I decided to take Orrie to Tufts small animal hospital. There, he had 4 radiation treatments, which did not cause any side effects. It did shrink the tumor.
He then started a chemotherapy regimen at my local veterinarian's office. He was loved by everyone there.
About two weeks before he died, Orrie went blind but this did not faze him. On Easter Sunday, 2009, I had been to dinner at a friend's house. When I arrived home, Orrie's mouth was bleeding profusely.
I rushed him to the emergency hospital and they determined that Orrie's tumor had broken through the gum wall. Because I wanted Orrie's longtime veterinarian, John Kelley, to be the one to euthanize him, Orrie stayed overnight.
The next day, I took him to Eastham Vets where he knew everyone and they in turn, knew and loved him.
After a very long goodbye and much loving, I put Orrie in my lap. He had been purring the entire time.
I kept telling him I loved him as John injected the euthanasia shot. I knew he had left when the purring stopped.
I was completely devastated and could not contain my grief. Dr. Kelley decided that I should not drive home.
He called my son, Stephen, to tell him to pick up my car later and technician Emily, a longtime buddy of Orrie, drove me home.
Thanks to the radiation and chemo, Orrie gained an extra 4-6 months of quality life. I believe that Orrie crossed over the Rainbow Bridge that day and joined Mark and that they are both waiting for me.
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