I lost my best friend this week.
I don’t know how else to put it. I’m literally afraid to fall asleep and wake up without his head on my shoulder. I’m scared to work from home knowing he won’t be lying right next to me.
For the last 10 years, Elliott has been the epicenter of our home. Despite the big hairy guard dog, he ruled the roost. Chasing Drake around the house, stealing his toys, demanding attention from me wherever I went, which was fine because I always wanted to give him attention. And if he wasn’t around, I’d call his name and hear his collar jingling as he trotted to me, loose belly swinging with each step.
Elliott was always a special needs case. We picked him up at a shelter the day after he was tossed out of a car window. The fall must have fractured his face, because he had major sinus issues for the first half of his life, and a scar that ran down his nose. Then an extra (third) upper canine that grew horizontally out of his mouth meant dental surgery, allowing for his bottom canine to pop out and give him a proper snaggletooth look that I was more than particular to. He was prone to UTI’s, requiring special food, and needed amitriptyline (anxiety meds) daily, which left him still clingy as hell but slightly less manic. He had separation anxiety from me, to the point where he would fall before allowing me to put him down if I was gone for an extended time.
He rode around the house on my shoulder, and slung in my arms like a baby. He would beg to be picked up often, and every morning he would follow me to the closet to grab my attention as I changed, flopping onto the carpet in front of me, daring me not to pet him. More often than not he would sit on my lap facing me, a paw on each side of my head as though I were wrapped in a hug. This is how we watched movies, or hung out on the couch.
He was vocal from the get go. Basically bleating like a lamb the whole ride home from the rescue, yelling at me to be picked up, or just again trying to get my attention. He hated when I had the speakerphone on, and I swear he knew if I was on a conference call by the strange voices, and would use that opportunity to garner snickers from the crowd as he decided to sing the song of his people.
Elliott loved Drake. If Drake was tired, Elliott would bathe him, licking his ears or the top of his head as he laid down. Elliot would snuggle up against him, writhing around on Drake’s paws like the ultra needy creature he was. If Drake was feeling zoomy, Elliott would hop onto the couch and bat him quickly on the nose as he went by. And Drake loved Elliott. The number of times I picked up that cat to find him covered in dog drool cannot be ascertained. The mutual grooming was both endearing and gross. But mostly endearing.
He would steal Drake’s dog toys- his ball, his bone, whatever, if he had interest. He didn’t get many toys of his own, but his favorite was a cat wand, and he would carry it around, up and down the stairs, meowing with it between his teeth as if to show it off. Like many things with Elliott, he was 150% with everything, and so we had to limit his toy time so as not to indulge him in another obsession.
I never thought he was a looker, but I am proud of my weirdo cat that knew his name, who [mostly gently] ruled over his household with a strong affection, and I swear he knew that I was as absolutely, unequivocally besotted with him as he was with me.
The end was swift, but nothing like I had ever imagined. What I had hoped for was a crotchety, toothless cat that probably needed his own medication storer to keep his routine straight. I had hoped for a peaceful, though sad, in-home euthanasia that we prepared for as best we could. What happened was that I saw my best friend deteriorate in front of my eyes in less than 24 hours, and I had to make the choice to spare him the pain of treatments that were only 5% likely to save his life. My husband and I ended up in a vet hospital with him, waiting until he was as relaxed as possible and resting his head on my arm before we let him go. It was the right decision, but good lord it wasn’t easy.
I feel like there are animals, and people, who come into your life for a reason. Elliott helped me find a sense of humor in difficulty. He forced me to put away some of my own anxiety to be strong for him. It was the love of him that led us to Jackson, our other tailless creature. He was the best cuddler, a force of nature, and a personality that will never be found in 4 legs again. No amount of time would have ever been enough, but 10 years seems fleeting in light of everything. If an animal can ever be your baby, your therapist, your BFF, your manager, your patient, and your pride and joy, he was it.
I don’t know how I will get through without him.