Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

April 24, 2015

Full Circle

Back on March 1st I drove a few Owls down to The Owl Foundation. One being a baby Great Horned Owl that had fallen from a nest in High Park (efforts were made by Toronto Wildlife to get him home but the nest is much too high). Another Owl was a Northern Saw-whet Owl, unsure his story, but he was found in someone's window well north west of the city. And lastly, an Eastern Screech Owl. As always, it's bitter sweet doing these drives. I'm happy to be helping the Owls and such organizations as Toronto Wildlife and The Owl Foundation; but I always feel bad for the birds because they are sick or injured, and really don't understand what is happening to them.

The story of this Screech Owl is kinda bizarre. He was roosting in someone's backyard in Rexdale, Ontario, which is minutes from our home. A Hawk of some sort spotted the Owl and went in for the kill. The Hawk got a hold of the Owl and the birds came down to the ground, tumbling out back of someone's house. This fray got the attention of their dog, who basically went ape shit with the action, which then got the attention of the homeowners who all raced outside to see what was going on. As everyone came to the scene, the Hawk got spooked, and let go of the little Owl, fleeing in fear. The Owl lay on the ground, stunned and injured to some degree. The Owl was scooped up. Toronto Wildlife was called. And the bird was at the centre in no time after that.

After assessment and a brief stay at TWC, it was decided to send him down to The Owl Foundation for rehab with the Owl experts.

I did the drive as you are aware. I never did see this little Screech Owl that morning but did get to meet the baby Great Horned.

I left The Owl Foundation, wishing all the birds well and headed for home.

Jumping ahead to April 17th. I was out that morning doing my first ever solo Red-tailed Hawk release, then having a rush job of getting ready for work. I did not check any emails and had no idea TOF contacted us about the little Screech Owl. He was deemed "good to go home" and we were welcomed to take him back to his territory if we wanted to. Angie saw the email, told me, and of course we had no hesitation in saying "yes". Anyone following my recent blogs knows this along with the Hawk release are much needed distractions.

We made the arrangements to pick him up on April 18th (a lovely Saturday it turned out to be weather wise). We had plans already for some of those "distractions" that I may touch upon at the end of this story. Adding the Screech Owl release to end the day made it one epic Saturday overall.

If we got to The Owl Foundation in good time, Annick was going to band the bird with us. If we ran late due to our other goings-on, she'd do it on her own. Hey, don't blame her, she has a life as well, and it would soon be Saturday night. We made sure we would be there to witness the banding as it would be another first for us to see an Owl get banded.

5:30pm and we roll into Vineland. The trip to TOF was not such a bitter sweet one as this time we were taking an Owl away from there to have a second chance at a wild life. This thrilled us. It doesn't have to be an Owl, seeing any bird or mammal go home again is heart warming and uplifting. But this was our first Owl and it made things a little more exciting. 3 years of being a volunteer driver for TOF now.

I'm kinda lost in the moment in my head.

We met Annick at the house. She had us follow her to where the Screech Owl was being housed on the grounds. We chatted along the way, catching up on things and then entered the building. She caught the Owl in the enclosure and brought him out. She is going to band the bird now. Annick looks to Angie and asks her if she would like to help with the banding. Angie pondered this for a moment and then, like the wonderful thoughtful wife she is, said "no, I think it's best Rob take part, he brought the Owl down, so it adds to his story, going full circle". Angie's words were something along those lines, but it's definitely what she meant. She passed up on this opportunity for me. I was touched, in awe and a little intimidated. I wasn't afraid of handling the Owl by any means, I haven't banded or helped band a bird in a few years now, and I never want to have one escape on me. The Owl wouldn't have too far to go being in the building, but still, don't want to lose him in my grip regardless.

Annick is holding the Owl in front of me and going over what we would be doing which included a final weight, wing measurements and the banding.

The bird is clicking and clacking away, showing his disapproval to what was being done to him. If only they knew what the not too distant future held for them.

Now it came time for me to help. My nervousness went away quick. Annick is a great teacher; and I just went with the flow, enjoying the moment holding this little Owl instead of freaking out. All went well. I had an ear to ear grin. Angie snapped photos of the moment. How awesome!

I had to pose at least once through this.

In his carrier and good to go.

We said our goodbyes, big thank you's on both ends, from us for the opportunity, and from Annick for our help. And away we went.

It was shortly after 7:30pm when we arrived in Rexdale at the home of the people who found the Owl. They were ecstatic about this release. Prior to meeting this bird in that tangle, they were much like me 10 years ago, in disbelief that Owls lived in the GTA. We talked about the Owls for a brief moment while we looked about the property for a good release spot. Once a spot was deemed good, we headed off with the bird in the carrier.

Angie did the release. She had hoped I would get a photo or two of the bird after it left the carrier. For me, I wanted her to be a part of this and not just a passenger in the truck and a witness. It was a special moment for us, and as I keep saying, "a distraction".

She walked about 15 ft ahead of us, set the box down, opened the top and backed away slowly.

We waited and waited and waited just a little more. I think it was maybe 3 or 4 minutes tops before the Owl left the box and headed straight into the nearby woodlot. It was over in a flash and no photos were taken due to the obstruction of the tangles where he went. He sat there for about 3 seconds and then flew deeper in, to which we lost sight of him.

Once the sun was going down, it went down fast. Here Angie is trying to spot the Owl after his release.

We all left the area, these people have a huge chunk of land in Rexdale and back onto a large greenspace, how lucky for them. We told them to listen to the other birds in the future, hear their alarm calls, as that is a sign the Owl may be around. We talked about them setting up an Owl box as well. They were quite eager about all this and we could see the spark in these people regarding the wild birds around them now. They had one bird feeder and knew their Cardinals and Blue Jays, but I bet they start looking a little more closely at all the birds.

I really did do a full circle with this little Owl though, didn't I?

It really was an amazing day. The whole week had been full of "wild distractions" for me but this was not something neither of us expected to be doing Saturday evening. I swear it's like someone out there is looking out for us, giving us reasons to smile when we don't feel like it.

Prior to this release with The Owl Foundation, Angie and I spent a good part of the afternoon at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre. I'm sure Angie will be blogging about it soon, her blog link is here. We got hang out with our friend Sandra and our favorite little Eastern Screech Owl "Echo" during a private raptor encounter that I highly recommend those interested in Owls (but seldom see them in the wild) check out some time.

I know I've done a few heart wrenching blogs about Meadow and I've linked them throughout other blogs, but they really are all connected. Everything that has been happening in the last 2 weeks is a part of that. I've felt such a huge loss losing her. I want to thank everyone who has read them and continues to come back to my blog page in my days of grieving.

April 21, 2015


With the grueling emotional week I had last week, as some of you following me may have seen, I was keeping myself very busy, see here. As the days passed, my worst moments were in the dead of the night when all is quiet and still. I had hoped being on the go so much would have me collapse into a sleep coma for at least 6 hours a night, but that was not the case.

Friday morning, I'm in a groggy daze, and had one crap night with countless thoughts of Meadow, reliving her final breath. There were chores to be done and errands to run. I did not want to do anything but I forced myself to. Snow tires off the truck, a bit of shopping done in the meantime.

In the midst of things, my phone rings. It's Toronto Wildlife. They were seeking the assistance of a volunteer driver sooner than later in the west end of the city. They know my work schedule and most mornings I am good to go upon their shout out for help. I'll drive for them any chance I can, whether it be to pick up food, a sickly duck, an injured bird or Squirrel, you name it. I'm happy to help them and the wild creatures. It's good for me, my spirit, more so these days than ever before.

Today it was going to be exceptional. They asked me if I could take a Red-tailed Hawk to the north/west corner of Brampton and release him. Hells to the yes I could and would. Anything I see get their second chance at a wild life from tiny little Kinglets to a Hawk is awesome! I told them I would be there as soon as I could, probably within the hour, once the tires were done. And I was.

I met Andrew at the front, Stacy joining him, we talked about the bird, where it was to go, going over a map of the area and narrowing down a spot good for releasing him. He was found in a subdivision but releasing him to nearby green space would be better for the bird.

I was honored that they asked me if I would like to come to the back and see the bird, them catch/contain it instead of just waiting out front. I've done the tours of the back with the TWC open house and I knew where the Hawk was but this was even cooler. I just stood back and watched them.

Andrew working on catching the bird.

The birds all have ID bands, colored ones, for easier identification, and they fall off in no time... much like is done with the baby Peregrine Falcons during banding. So easy to spot some yellow or green tape instead of trying to get a band number. This bird had a blue band.

The bird was caught, checked over one last time, contained and away I went.

I was excited about this opportunity. I had never released a Hawk before, not that I am listing species, but this certainly was the biggest creature for me to set free. I was wishing Angie could have been with me. We went over the procedure earlier, before even going to get the bird. I talked about the release I joined them for of another Red-tailed Hawk back in December that someone had shot with a pellet gun. I remember the whole release well, I took photos throughout and blogged about it here. A good thing I did because this release was almost a play by play of the first one.

I get to the area for the release, took a few drives around, seeking out the best spot, away from the road and hopefully some sort of elevation too. I found one in way of a large corn field with a wood lot running along the side of it, and a marsh area just west of the woods. All this habitat and well enough off the road too. I pulled off the road, got the bird and my camera of course. I knew there'd be no release shots but if the bird hung around or perched in the vicinity, I would try for a few pics. I get to the top of a small hill, one last look about, positively a good spot for the release and I let the Hawk out. He burst out of the box and hopped to the ground. This was very much like the release last year. And the Hawk sat there, and sat there, and sat there some more. He looked at me, he looked around at his surroundings, looked to the sky, repeat. I had hoped my close presence, since he didn't go far from the box, would move him along soon but it didn't.

He continued sitting and just getting his bearings, observing his surroundings.

Now if I had not seen similar things with the previous RTHA release, I probably would have started freaking out after so many minutes of this. In reality, it was nearing 10 minutes, but in my head it was triple that!

Finally he took a few hops.

My hunkering down as I was, still by the box, not moving, was getting to my legs. Since the bird moved further from me, I stood up for a moment to stretch my legs. The bird reacted.

And moments later, took flight. He flew some distance, gaining height and landed in a tree.

I was so happy to see this. I did see him fly about in the enclosure at TWC, but with any releases I have done, I never leave the animal until it leaves me (I don't think anyone leaves them). From this point, nothing else can be done. I walk away, silently wish him a healthy long life and head for the nearest Tim Hortons celebrating with a glorious cup of coffee, saving the whiskey toast for after work.

Portrait shot thanks to my 500mm lens. I didn't take very many photos as I was too focused on him and what he was doing (pun intended).

Toronto Wildlife and The Owl Foundation rely heavily on volunteers, donations both financially and items from their wish lists. Perhaps you might consider stepping up in one way or another?

April 20, 2015


A friend sent me these words after learning of Meadow's passing. While I am not one for the religious take on anything, I did find comfort in this. Of course it's better with Meadow photos throughout...

And God asked the feline spirit

Are you ready to come home?

Oh, yes, quite so, replied the precious soul

And, as a cat, you know I am most able

To decide anything for myself.

Are you coming then? asked God.

Soon, replied the whiskered angel

But I must come slowly

For my human friends are troubled

For you see, they need me, quite certainly.

But don't they understand? asked God

That you'll never leave them?

That your souls are intertwined. For all eternity?

That nothing is created or destroyed?

It just is....forever and ever and ever.

Eventually they will understand,

Replied the glorious cat

For I will whisper into their hearts

That I am always with them

I just am....forever and ever and ever.

April 16, 2015

Death & Distractions

After the heart breaking life event we had to endure on Sunday, it's certainly been a very rough week. If you missed that, here is the link, please keep the kleenex nearby and don't say I did not warn you. It's a happy sad mostly though.

I am rather drained. I know stress is exhausting but didn't think being so sad would do it too. How I long for a solid night's sleep!

We've had unbelievable amounts of outpouring support from family, friends and so many people we've not met but who love their pets and understand what we are going through. Gotta love social media! With so many comments, one does stand out from our bud Lee, after stating her dehydration from reading my tribute to Meadow, she nailed it with a part on how Meadow was a bit of a celebrity in the eyes of all those who never met her. Meadow was a regular through my social media, be Facebook or Twitter, and I never realized how many people enjoyed our shenanigans. She was there so often and not in the background.

As Angie and I spent Sunday at home, trying to enjoy the beautiful day it turned out to be weather wise, we did have some difficult moments. Sitting on the back deck, we could not help but look directly at Meadow's favorite shrub, envisioning her there. She went to this shrub with every visit, no matter the season, but of course just loved it when it was in bloom, smelling and licking the flowers (last photo I shared in the blog linked above).

Watching over the shrub everyday now, waiting for signs of it coming back to life.

Sunday night was difficult. As per usual, Angie goes to bed a few hours earlier than me because we work different shifts. I am so used to the routine of Meadow and I stretching out on the couch, her snuggling in my arm pit, and I put a dvd on. She purrs for a long while, I watch whatever, and we both eventually drift off to sleep. No other way to put it other than it just plain sucked not having her there with me.

Monday morning wake up, no kitty coming out to the kitchen with me as I boil the kettle for that first morning coffee. No kitty getting up on the table while I enjoy it. No kitty jumping in the window when I open the shutters. Ugh! I spent over 3 hours that morning doing the tribute blog, smiling, crying, back and forth. I went to work that afternoon and was greeted by some of the guys with sympathies, hand shakes, man hugs and lots of talking. Not a bad bunch of guys I work with.

Early in the shift I was contacted by some wildlife rehabbers about a unique situation that they hoped I could help them with. It would involve me meeting an individual the next morning, early in the morning, more like middle of the night to me, meeting this person in a sort of relay system to get an injured bird to the help it needed. I jumped at the opportunity despite how screwed up it would be for my sleep. To me, this was a really good distraction and kinda boosted my spirits temporarily. I wasn't happy that there was something sick or injured and needing help but the ability to help others, especially wildlife, did. Unfortunately the animal died before this got to happen.

Work went by slowly, and a few times I caught myself about to get choked up, lost in thought with memories of Meadow, but I would stop myself. As much as I looked forward to coming home after work, I dreaded the dead stillness of the house without Meadow. It was a mild night and I went out back for a while. I like to fill the bird feeders at night when no one is around, well, no humans anyway. I don't mind the passing critters such as Raccoons, Opossum or a Skunk (from a safe distance). But tonight I was treated to the sounds of Coyote howls very near our house. How near? Maybe a 1/4 km away. They were so close! In the near 13 years here I've not heard them before. My spiritual animal lovers said to take it as a sign from Meadow. It sounded very much like this.

Tuesday I run a few errands like I normally do, stopped in some local bird spots close to home and saw my first of season Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Brown Creeper, a Tree Swallow and a brief view of a Turtle. I was curious if it was a Red-eared Slider that someone tossed in the pond a couple years ago.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

I'd been meaning to get in touch with my friends at the Humber Arboretum as the last couple Springs we've been working on a nest box or two, experimenting with positioning them better, and critter proofing them. Each year we've learned something and make adjustments. I've learned a lot from the Ontario Eastern Bluebird Society about such things. The meadow at the Arboretum is full of Tree Swallows and on occasion I have seen an Eastern Bluebird. It is our goal to help the Bluebirds and maybe get a nesting pair. Of the 3 Springs we've done something, I'd say this one is offering the best for a Bluebird and the returning Tree Swallows. Jimmy from the Arb built a nest box for Angie and I and gave it to us as a wedding gift on behalf of the Arb. We set it up the Spring after we were married. The first year we got a dummy Wren nest. Male Wrens will build a few nests and let the female pick out the one she wants, at least that is what I've been told. Should I have been offended she did not want this nest? The second Spring we got a pair of Tree Swallows but sadly they abandoned the nest and 4 eggs due to ant infestation. Here we go again and no way them ants are getting in the houses this time around. Wish us luck! Shit, I just jumped ahead a day with the last bit here. That is how I spent my Wednesday morning. It was great to see Jimmy and mess around with him for a couple hours working on the nest boxes. Another great distraction plus we're hopefully helping some lovely bird species. It gives me inspiration. It gives me the drive I need, something to look forward to, something to watch over in the coming months.

Now let's go back a few hours, Tuesday at work wasn't as hard as Monday, but I still caught myself in a few moments of misery. I probably will for some time yet. I will always miss Meadow but I guess over time the pain eases. I can look back with fondness and not the heartbreak. I just remind myself on how sick she was, how quickly she turned for worse, and she is not suffering anymore. I'd rather think of the happy healthy sidekick I had with that cat but for the time being giving myself the dark reminder is helpful.

Work ends Tuesday night and I am on my way home. What do I see in my travels? Two Snowy Owls! One at Hwy 401 and Hurontario, plus one at my Eglinton exit. I was in awe! This is the latest in the season for me to see Snowy Owls. I wished I had my camera to get some crap record shots. I get home, it's another mild night, I'm filling the feeders and wondering if I will hear the Coyotes again? Nope. It's quiet for the most part minus a Raccoon that comes racing over a few fences to join me. Someone has been feeding them and a couple have become quite used to human presence. I'm sure my dropping of whole peanuts and not minding their clean up does not help but whatever, it's like a score to them, a little snack as they search out food. I won't chase them away as long as they aren't messing with our house. So he's snacking on a few when through the side gate comes an Opossum.

He's looking for the apple core I normally toss out to the back lawn after work. Lucky for him, I threw a whole mealy one out tonight. He sees it, takes it in his jaws and goes under the deck to feast. A one minute video link.

I go back to filling the feeders when I spot a second 'Possum at the back. A smaller one. Perhaps a female and the big guy I encountered moments earlier was the male? A great hour or so out back with these furry distractions!

Wednesday, as you know what happened. Jimmy and Taurean are great guys and we had some laughs.

One of the nest boxes we moved had Tree Swallows take to it in minutes.

I didn't want to leave and go to work but I did. Work wasn't much different than Tuesday, good times, a couple rough moments, but I just kept at it.

It was another night I was dreading though because this is after all Whiskey Wednesday. Angie will be in bed and my usual drinking bud won't be with me. Meadow was great on Whiskey Wednesdays. She never said anything, was just there with me. We enjoyed the peace and quiet after a long night at work. We loved looking out the kitchen window to the darkness. She always spotted the critters long before I did. On occasion did the whole back fur raising, ears popping, and then run around the house like a maniac before coming back to the window with her eyes bulging out, staring at what I cannot see. Such fun! But this was not going to happen tonight. I shared this photo on Facebook, talking about my first "WW" without her and anyone wanting to raise a glass to her memory with me.

The mass of friends saw my post and made many cheers and toasts to Meadow. Heck, some even took pics of their drinks and shared them not just on Facebook but a few photo texts to my phone as well. How freakin' awesome! There are a lot of shit heads in the world. I am happy to say they don't exist in my circle.

My ride home had me spot 2 Snowy Owls yet again. This time the birds weren't more than 50 ft from each other in a field near my exit. Damn, no camera again.

Home now, Angie waited up for me, she did a shot and then went to bed. I went outside again, met up with my masked friend for a bit and then the Coyotes started their chant about 11:15pm. Their yelping intimidated my Raccoon friend and for whatever reason, he moved in much closer to me. I've always had Raccoons drawn to me through my life. If they ever did my totem animals, I'm sure the Raccoon is on there somewhere.

So now it's Thursday morning. I should get out for a bit since it's another lovely morning. I have some bird buds I've not seen in a while and we keep talking about meeting up, they have checked in on me this week and remind me they are there if I want to get out and chat. I will. Just not today. Blogging this is good therapy for me. I turn on the radio and Luba's "Everytime I See Your Picture I Cry" is playing. OMG! A song nothing to do with this life story we are facing but that one line... ei yi yi... some hard moments looking back on old photos.

I'm unsure how interesting anyone will find this but this one is for me.

There are 5 stages of grief... denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

I know I don't have denial. There is no denying Meadow is gone. Meadow went to sleep in my arms. I will never forget her last breath.

Anger. Yes I have anger. I get angry when someone says "oh that's too bad. My cat is 16 years old and has never been to the vet other than to get fixed." I'm sure it wasn't meant in any ill way but I still want to say "shut the fuck up!" Some people don't think before speaking. Anyway, that's about the extent of my anger. Anger is for the most part a useless emotion. It's toxic to your body and spirit, and a waste of time with the remaining life you have.

Bargaining. I don't get that one really. I will be a better man, let her remain with us? Meadow was really sick. She is at peace now. The cat in the last days was a shell of her old self, just tiny snippits of the old Meadow came out briefly. It would have been cruel to try and hang on to her. Cruel to her and cruel to us. Nope, no bargaining for an extension on the sickly life she had. Maybe guilt could be a replacement? I have brief moments of that, like I should have done more.

Depression. Yes, that is lingering. I have moments of "why bother?" Hence this blog, sharing the things I've gotten into to keep myself going, just got to keep busy. I have a difficult time remembering the last time I washed my hair. I know my eating is off, 2 meals a day right now. I wish for Meadow and I to be together. That is not a hint at anything crazy like suicide, I just miss her so much. But if I were to look death in the face right now, I'd wouldn't be afraid, I know Meadow is there waiting for me.

As Angie said the other day, which is something I could never forget even if she did not say it, we have others that need us, and cannot neglect. The Budgies Misfit and Moonie. I am happy they have each other to keep company in my off moments. Ralphie the Newt and Ash the Frog. Not the most social buggers in the house, just feed 'em and they are good. While I may not always feed myself, the "kids" will never go hungry. Then there's Norbert. He's got such a welcoming face every morning I get up and turn on his light.

Always smiling, so it seems, and he's left me a cricket leg, reminding me I gotta eat. LoL!

Pierre and his lady, along with others, have been arriving daily once again. Usually here when I get up shortly after 7am. I'm not ready for our visits at this time of the morning, head is too cloudy, and I've got not much more on than the boxers. Handfuls of grub are tossed out to tie them over until I see them a little later on.

On top of all our animal buds, there's us. We need each other.

Our human friends need us too, as much as we need them.

As the weekend comes, Angie and I will be there for each other. We already have some afternoon plans for Saturday, a great distraction as we visit our friends at the Mountsberg Raptor Centre.

The final stage of grief is acceptance. Done that. Meadow is gone in the physical form. I know that. I accept that. But I still don't like it.

I have a long road ahead, struggling with this loss. As I said in my blog about Meadow, I lost one of the most precious things in life, something I loved more than my own life. Words that are so true.

I thank all that is around me, family, friends and acquaintances who all "get this" and are here for me... for us.

I am thankful for all the animals I share life with, the ones I cross paths with, past and present... they help me through all the rough moments and the negative times. My experiences with them help me take away the bad in my life and turn into beautiful memorable moments. Meadow gave me countless of these.

April 13, 2015

Meadow My Angel

On Sunday April 12th, 2015 we said "goodbye" to our beloved little girl Meadow.

It pains me to type this out but I must. I am not out to break the hearts of others with my words. This is therapy for me. My heart is already broken and if my tears start, I will not stop this blog.

Meadow became noticeably different on Easter Sunday. I saw little signs that she may not have been feeling well over the weekend but the red flags were waving this morning. Ever since the pancreas attack last summer, always more watchful of her. I took her to the vet, some tests were done, and I left with Meadow, watching her closely and holding out hope things would be okay as we worked through this in the coming days/weeks ahead. If she turned for worse, I would take her back in asap. Another appointment was scheduled for the Saturday.

To be brief about this... Meadow's state worsened rapidly in the days between. The results... she had an aggressive kidney tumor (cancer). She was rapidly deteriorating.

As he talked to us, he answered questions we had before we even asked them. It was all about Meadow and how she was now. Like her mobility, she was off balance at times, I would go to pat her on the head and she'd kinda move her head off to the side, like she was startled. Basically with the kidneys not working now, her body was toxic. He explained it as being slightly drunk. She was quite fuzzy in the brain about things now. She was unsure about her steps, jumping on the couch became a bit of a task. We had placed a step at the foot of our bed to help her up there now... which only a couple days before was no challenge to do. She probably slept some 20 hours a day now. Her muscle mass was gone, everything just hung off her. And for the first time in all her near 12 years of life, she missed the litter pan. She certainly tried to pee in it, but didn't. And it happened again. We talked about her quality of life. The vet asked us to think of 4 or 5 things she once loved to do so much, and if they were still there. Nothing was. We could have tried to hang on to her with some meds, like an appetite stimulant, which would give her a fake hunger feeling so she would eat. What was the point? We love our cat so much, this was no way of life for her, and not memories we would want to hold of her. Angie and I had played this stuff out before seeing the vet and as difficult as it was to say, we talked about euthanasia. We scheduled it for the next morning, wanting to take her home for one final afternoon and overnight. He gave her another stimulant and away we went.

The remaining hours with her, hoo boy, such a variety of emotions. We didn't bug Meadow too much as she was really just wanting to sleep most of it. I did find myself going to her in our bed a few times through the afternoon, I'd brush her chin and work out a tiny little purr from her. I wanted to hug and squeeze her but with her discomfort, I let her lay there, and I would get next to her, put my arm over her, kissing her head, whispering things to her about how much I loved her and how everything was gonna be alright. Tears are falling as I key this. I did not cry in the moment. She stayed still, purred lightly and would go back to sleep.

We got her some of her old favorite food things as a final supper, she barely ate anything, even with the stimulant in her.

Angie and I talked throughout the day, remembering all the fun we had. So many memories. Meadow has been a huge part of our lives. When Angie met me all those years ago, she met Meadow too. As she put it "Rob and Meadow are a package".

I always said I was Meadow's whole world, and really I was. It was just her and I in this house. If I wasn't at work, I wanted to be home with her. Of course I kept a social life with other humans but nothing made me happier than hanging with my cat. So in some ways, Meadow was my world too. She came to me at the very young age of 5 weeks old. A tiny little fur ball. She was given to me by a friend of my parents. Meadow's mom was named "Pepsi". It was fate. I fondly talk about the day I got her. We had all met over at my parents' home for dinner. I held Meadow with ease in the palm of my hand. I sat her on my lap, holding her and she fell asleep in my hand, sitting upright, slouched over my fingers wrapped around her tiny body. Holy crap, talk about an endearing cavity making sweet moment.

So in Meadow's mind, I was her only family in those early days. Our bond grew fast and was incredibly strong. She came to me at a time in my life that was just perfect. I had gotten out of a decade long relationship not too long ago, I had just bought this house, I wasn't at Pepsi for very long, so my life was going through all sorts of changes and she kept me grounded, when I felt lost, she was where I needed to be. It's the best way I can describe it right now in my state. She was involved in almost everything I did at home. She loved being with her daddy. This carried on all through our life together from the first morning coffee to the credits of a movie late in the night, and then coming to bed with me, snuggling up my side. The early years had us up till 3 or 4 in the morning playing Ramones cds in the kitchen, just messing around. Hell I couldn't even have a bathroom moment in peace most times, as our door doesn't shut right (dilapidated old house), so Meadow would just push it open and come on in while I sat there... brushing up against my legs or jump up in the sink for a sip from the tap. And in the final moments of us being home together the morning of April 12th, she found the strength to do this one more time. Too much information? Ha ha! It is what it is. And it pained me to see a tiny bit of my old normal Meadow an hour before her death. The stairs were a challenge now but she did it to be with me. I did have to carry her back to the main floor after though. The final evening together, Angie went to bed and I wanted to stay up with her. We had one last lay out on the couch, I watched a dvd and she slept at my feet. I eventually drifted to sleep with her; it always went that way. These are crushing memories right now, but somehow I find peace with them as well.

One of our last snuggle moments, I could sense this wasn't very comfortable for her, but she did her best to enjoy the love from her daddy.

Meadow pretty much lived in my house coat the last week. She loved that coat, especially when I put it on after work. We'd stretch out on the coach to watch something, and she'd get right up beside me, right into my arm pit, and purr for a couple hours while I held her and we'd both doze off. She loved anything I wore, from work socks to the occasional pair of boxers, but shirts and jackets were her favorite.

My spirit feels broken along with my heart. I want to do nothing but be a sad mess. I try to think about the last days, remind myself of the sick state she was, and how she is far better off. She is not suffering. She died with dignity. That was the most difficult decision I've ever had to make in my life and the most difficult decision Angie and I have had to make as a couple.

Sunday April 12th was the day I always feared (not knowing it would be this day). It scared me so much to think about the day Meadow would die. I could never imagine my life without her. Like right now, being on the computer for too long, she'd be sitting on the kitchen table nearby staring at me, like "enough daddy, let's go do something" especially as the days are getting warmer. I couldn't imagine myself being strong at all through this but I found it. I had to be strong for Meadow. I had to be strong for Angie. I love that cat more than some people love their kids or mothers. I envisioned being let out a back door at the clinic because I'd be such a sobbing mess, staggering out to a back alley and dropping to the pavement. But I wasn't. I couldn't remain in the clinic long after everything was done. I got out to the truck while Angie finished up the paperwork. I looked up to the sky. I couldn't hear anything. I was so in my own moment. I thought about Meadow, her going to sleep in my arms, feeling her final breath, and then I burst into tears. I can't remember the last time I cried, nor how hard I cried like I did now. It's been so long I didn't think I could ever cry again. But it all came out. A slow trickle at first and then whoosh. I bet it was an ugly cry, sobbing and slobbering as I sat in the passenger seat facing out to the world. Here come the tears again. I'm not embarrassed. Angie found me like this. She embraced me and kept strong for me now. Meadow wasn't just a pet, not just a cat, she was family, she was my best friend, my side kick... and still is in my heart, her spirit will always be around me.

To have an animal love you, it is special, their feelings are genuine. You always know where you stand with an animal. And to bond with one, it is beyond description, but one word I do use is eternal. These are words I've shared with friends who have lost an animal family member. It's words I am telling myself. I will see her again one day.

Meadow was a gift, not meaning a house warming present, but a true gift from ??? I'm not much for religious stuff. I was blessed to have her come into my life. She will not disappear from my heart, never from my memories, even if I live another 50 years or more. I took a lot of photos of her over the years, tons of selfies and many of the pics will go with me in my travels, always being on my mobile device as an example.

Even with the various special days throughout the year like Halloween.

Christmas Eve 2014. She looks grumpy but she wasn't. She purred. She loved doing almost anything with her daddy.

I do wish I took more videos of her but I guess since she was always near my side, it wasn't going to be an easy thing. I did find myself taking one Easter Sunday after the initial vet appointment, I watch this and it blows my mind how she still looks and acts like herself here despite what was going on within her, and in mere days, she could not do this. You can view the link here. Ya, nothing exciting to most, just her messing with the crickets in the tank, but it was something she loved to do.

The next while sure will be tough. So many firsts without Meadow ahead. Last night was the first night without her. Sunday night, alone on the couch, watching something and drifting off to sleep in my house coat. How I wished to cuddle her again. Today was the first morning coffee without her. She loved that hot cup of coffee with me, rubbing her chin on it, never drinking... she loved heat.

All the first holidays ahead, especially Christmas. She loved the tree. She loved Christmas morning, her toys and more so the wrapping paper.

I can't imagine wrapping presents this year without her. I am a slow wrapper and Meadow doubled the wrapping time; but we had a blast. She got into everything, attacking the paper, the ribbons, I would put tape on her tail and we'd forget wrapping stuff for the next 20 minutes. Tears.

Even when we start Project Feeder Watch in November, no Meadow on the table with me watching out the window for the birds. Of course Meadow would give up on it all after a bit and drift off to sleep. I didn't mind. I loved her being there right with me as always.

Can't forget Whiskey Wednesday. I work till 10 at night. Angie is in bed by the time I get home. Meadow was always willing to sit with me while I toasted getting over the hump of the week and heading towards another weekend. *sigh*

Or those sick days. I'm laying in bed and she's right there with me.

So many photos I want to share.

We will grieve the next while, probably a long while. Her things will not just disappear from the house. Example being, her feeding area remains in the kitchen.

She was a source for my own cat memes. Meadow was a very photogenic cat.

Man oh man, so many, but so many got a laugh from these when I randomly posted them.

Pictures will be framed and hung, maybe even a canvas of one of the best shots of her at some point.

I expect my social media pages, especially Facebook, to become rather dull for the next while. I rarely post just stuff about myself, or photos, unless Meadow is in there (or Pierre). My page may say "Rob Mueller" but it really is Rob and the Animals, often Rob and Meadow. Of course I have a lovely wife, I have a good life, but really I am quite private about all that stuff. I like to share about the animals, the joy they bring me, and hopefully bring smiles to the faces of others, maybe influence the occasional person as well with all I post.

Of course there is a whole chapter about when Angie came into our lives, and that may be told another day. Just sayin'

One day, somewhere down the road, another cat or two may come into our lives, but not anytime soon. Not just about us, but about our birds, we were very lucky to have Meadow who gave little interest in our Budgies.

Okay, 3 hours on this now. If she were here, she would have gone for a nap and be back on me by this point.

Yesterday I lost one of the most precious things in my life, something I loved more than my own life.

I love you Meadow Mueller. I always will. Thank you for everything you gave me, for always being there.

One of our most loved photos of her, enjoying her weigela shrub. A reminder to always stop and smell the flowers, enjoy what is with you in the moment, and not always be looking ahead (or even worse, dwelling on the past).