It has been a while since you’ve heard from me. Between the move and a number of other life changes, we’ve been pretty busy.
A few weeks ago, Alex and I welcomed a beautiful German Shepherd boy into our family. He was a stray found in a nearby county and brought to one of the local shelters. They knew nothing about him except that he seemed to be about 4 years old and had suffered frostbite on the tips of his ears – meaning that he had at least been out during the worst part of the winter. (He also had a tremendous ear infection that we did not find until about a week ago.) They also knew that he turned in circles a lot, which we (correctly) assumed to be some kind of anxious tic. I knew from the moment we met him and he greeted us with big, sweet kisses that we were both goners. He was ours.
The Predmore family just grew! @apredmore5 and I are so happy to introduce you to Reus (pronounced like "Royce") the German Shepherd. He was a stray found a few weeks ago near Champaign. They think he is between 3-5 years old and so far has shown that he is a big fan of giving kisses and being brushed. The cats are not so thrilled about these things. #dogsofinstagram #predmorepup
We named this sweet boy Reus (pronounced like “Royce”) – after Marco Reus, the German footballer – and let me tell you, our hearts have been so full from the moment we brought him home. German Shepherds can get a bum rap, but he defies any shoddy reputation – usually with a big kiss and an adoring gaze. He is gentle and sweet and wants nothing more than to be loved. He even treats his toys sweetly – his favorite is his stuffed hedgehog, Herbert, whom he carries around like a security blanket. He is the very definition of all that is good about rescuing animals.
And yet, in the midst of our joy at our home filled with fur babies, tragedy was not far behind.
Saturday morning was Momma Swope’s birthday. We went to get our nails done and met my mother-in-law for lunch, then returned to our house so Carol could meet Reus. When we got home, we found our sweet, precious Alma cat lying on the floor by the back door. By the time we got there, she was already gone, we will never know for how long. She was only 5 years old.
I cannot describe that moment to you. I don’t want to even try. I could hear screaming – endless screaming – and knew somewhere, in the back of my mind, that it was coming from me, yet somehow I was powerless to make it stop. I have never felt anything so horrible in my entire life. It felt like my very heart was being wrenched from my body.
I will spare you the description of the rest of the afternoon. Suffice it to say, it was horrible. The worst was not knowing what had happened, or if our precious Reus had anything to do with it. We later found out that she had a heart attack – likely brought on from Reus trying to play and chasing her. Our vet has assured us a hundred times over that she did not suffer and that it was nothing more than a tragic accident – there was nothing malicious on Reus’s part. This news in no way diminishes the tragedy of what happened to our precious baby, but it does provide us the closure we need to begin healing.
Thank you to everyone who called, texted, messages and Snapchatted us the past couple of days to check in on us. We heard from the vet tonight and we lost our precious girl to a heart attack. The vet believes Reus had been chasing her and that caused it, but it was in no way purposeful or malicious on Reus's part. He says Alma did not suffer. It was, truthfully, the best news we could have hoped for in this circumstance. We miss our baby cat so deeply and that's a wound that will be raw for a long time, but we know our boy didn't have anything to do with it and our other baby, Cora, is safe. Thank you for continued prayers – we will need them as our hearts continue to heal. I love you, my sweet baby. I always will. ❤️
In the past few days, I’ve had a lot of time to think about this position we put ourselves into – loving these tiny creatures who depend on us for so much. I think there is no argument that our lives would be infinitely easier if we did not have our animals. We could do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, without having to consider who would walk them or feed them or watch them. We’d have fewer expenses – no toys or food to buy or vet bills to pay. We wouldn’t have to suffer their loss at the end of their too-short lives – for we never have them long enough, even when they live a long life.
I wouldn’t trade the 4 years I had with my Alma for anything in the world. I will always have the memory of her flat little meow, her adorable stubby tail, her little paw stretched out towards us in what Alex referred to as her “Hamburger Helper mitt.” I will always giggle at the thought of how she would toss her toys into the air and chase them, whether Cora wanted to play with her or not, feel my heart warm at the memory of the bond she and Alex shared, and roll my eyes at how the two cats would wrestle right at dinner time, as though they were gladiators in the ring. And most of all, I will always carry her love with me, for her love was great.
I believe that some of us are called to a greater love in this life. It is not a love that can carry on human conversation with us and give us verbal affirmation of what we need to hear. It is not a love that will be in our lives for longer than 15, maybe 18 years if we are lucky. It is a love that walks on four legs and wears a fur coat. It is a love that depends on us for everything and loves us unconditionally. It is a love that doesn’t care what we look like, or what our job is, or where we live, or who we are friends with. It is a love that wants only for one thing – our unconditional love back.
I will always miss my baby girl. That is a wound that will be raw for a long time. I will always carry a piece of her in my heart, and in time I will make room in my heart to love another fur baby. And another. And, let’s face it, probably a dozen more. Each will leave their mark on me, and I will be forever changed.
I love you, Alma. I always will.