Friday, July 20

Tangie: A Tribute

Tangerine Baker Dunham

Ten years ago, in August, I walked out of City Market and leaned over a cardboard box. Inside were three little kittens. A pair of gray longhairs, and scruffy ball of orange fur.The gray kittens were beautiful, but there was something special about the orange boy. He had so much trust in his steady golden gaze, even though his tail was broken, probably by the kids who had handled him too roughly.

He was too small to be away from his mama, and he never did get too big.

One look in his golden eyes, and I was in love. I’ve never met an animal who would look you in the eye the way he did. I would look at him as I talked, and he would gaze steadily back into my eyes.

When I said, I love you, he would blink three times. It wasn’t a fluke…he did it over and over. Every single time.

He slept at the foot of my bed…until he got too weak to climb up there, when I didn’t lift him for fear he would get injured if I rolled over on him. He snored like a diesel engine.

If I was home, we shared lunch. If I was having it, he wanted it. His favorite was spaghetti and salad with ranch dressing. His only dislike was toast. He didn’t care for it.  Too dry, I guess.

He loved car rides and sunshine. And his lady friend, PK. He liked to take a bath—a real bath, not a cat spit bath. Afterward, when he was blow dried, he glowed like a sunset.
He was my lap-sitter. I told him about every story I wrote. I cried on his fur when I got rejection after rejection. I danced with him when I got published.  

Right after Christmas, he began to lose massive amounts of weight. No matter how much pasta he ate, he continued to lose. Alarmed, my daughter and I took him to the vet. He had diabetes. For the last few months, he has endured insulin shots twice a day without complaint. He was the gentlest creature I ever met. Not once in his lifetime did he scratch me or anyone else.

My boy had the knack of making each member of this family believing they were his most special. My husband has been gone all winter, working out of state. I believe my precious boy held on long enough to see him again— to remind this man how to love unconditionally. To my daughter, he was “Baby Brother”, a job he took seriously. To me, he was family. More than “just a cat.” He was love in an orange fur coat.

Two days ago, he slipped in and out of consciousness. I had to do what was right, even though I thought my heart was ripping from my chest. I had to say goodbye. I held his hand as the vet injected him, and he quietly slipped away.

I love you, Tangerine Baker.

25 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. Pets are such a real and integral part of the family. He was lucky to have a family to love him like you did!

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  2. Most people love their pets and consider them members of the family. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  3. Oh, D he's so beautiful! Breaks my heart. I am so very sorry for your loss.

    How cute he would blink 3 times when you'd tell him you loved him. How precious. Absolutely precious

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  4. That's a lovely tribute to Tangie, D'Ann. He seems like such a special boy. I truly understand your grief and hope that each day it will ease a little more. Hugs to you and Tangie.

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  5. Beautiful tribute post, D'Ann. Such a handsome kitty! *hugs* He lives on through your heart and tributes like this. You were a good kitty mommy.

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  6. I cried reading your tribute, D'Ann. I FELT your pain.
    God, I can't see the damn keyboard.

    D'Ann, Tangie was so lucky by the sounds of it. He had a great life. I know that doesn't help, but just know YOU gave him a wonderful home--he was so blessed to have found you.

    Your heart will never fully mend--heartache remains with us, but as time passes, we adjust.

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  7. There is no way to heal a broken heart - time only dulls the pain. I'd give you a hug if we lived closer. Give it time D'Ann.

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  8. That mad me sad. You would make me read this on my birthday!:( It's so hard to lose a pet. But you've given him a wondeful tribute D'Ann and know that he's happy on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. Just think he's probably playing with the ten of mine who've crossed over.

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  9. Oh, D'Ann, that made me cry. Sounds like fate intervened 10 years ago and you were totally meant to find the little guy. You gave him a loving home, and he gave you wonderful memories to keep forever. You're right, he was a member of your family and for that, you have every right to grieve. Hope you feel better soon.

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  10. I'm so sorry--but thanks for sharing him with us.

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  11. I'm so sorry, D'Ann...thank you for letting us get to know Tangie a little bit. Hugs to you all.

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  12. That's a beautiful tribute D'Ann. He knew he was loved and he felt you holding his hand as he passed, he knew he wasn't alone! Thank you for sharing a little of his life with us.

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  13. Oh, D'Ann...I am so, so sorry for your loss of your precious Tangie. What a wonderful tribute to him. But you gave him a fantastic life, and you had a family member in him, as well. You both were very, very lucky--it was a "match made in heaven" for you both. I'm thinking of you. Wish I could give you a hug. This was just a lovely post about your sweet baby.
    Cheryl

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  14. I'm so sorry for your loss...

    Telling our fur babies goodbye is the hardest thing in the world...

    *HUGS*

    Lisa

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  15. So beautiful. I had tears in my eyes reading your tribute. Its so hard to lose our four-legged family members. Tangie will always hold a special place in your heart.

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  16. Oh, D'Ann.... It is so hard to lose a member of the family and your Tangie was just that. I cried reading this, because I know that when it comes time for me to say goodbye to my Penny Cat I'll feel EXACTLY the same way. Heartbroken. But you have to believe adn know that he is in a much better place. Diabetes in animals is a horrific desease... Not that any of that makes the pain and the awful grief go away.

    Hugs my friend and know that I'm thinking about you...and saying a prayer for Tangie.

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  17. This was such a lovely tribute, and like everyone else, you managed to get some tears out of me.

    Your sweet kitty knew you loved him and gave him a wonderful life. Unfortunately, we are often put in difficult situations in our lives where we have to make the best choice for those we love. You did the right thing, and didn't let him suffer. I've been in a similar situation with a cat I had for 21 years. She was like an old, surly aunt, but she was a beloved member of my very small family. And not a day goes by I still don't think of her in some way.

    Only time seems to make it better. You'll never forget him, and he'll always be in your heart.

    So sorry to hear about your loss. I would give you an enormous hug if I could. I'll be thinking about you and Tangie. Keep hanging in there, lady.

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  18. Oh I am sorry to hear about the loss. I hope you are healing a little at a time. Hugs from cyber space and that was really a nice tribute to Orangie.

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  19. I dare anyone to read this post with a dry eye. Hugs to you, D'Ann.

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  20. I am crying with you D'Ann I have had this kind of loss twice in my life. They were my dogs...Fluffy and Latte.

    What a sweet kitty.

    Love ya Nikki Prince

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  21. Beautiful tribute for a beautiful boy. My heart is with you, D'Ann.

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  22. D--Such a beautiful tribute to Tangie. You were so lucky to
    have been blessed with such a wonderful friend. Hugs.

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  23. What a wonderful tribute. I know how heartbreaking it can be to lose a pet so my thoughts are with you.

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  24. Love you Baby Brother always and forever.

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  25. I just saw this post and it made me cry! I'm so sorry. He sounds like a very special kittie, indeed!

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