Rest in peace, TyraBear | Seattle Cat Photography

Being around animals at a no-kill animal rescue can be just as hard as one that euthanizes them. Some animals may find themselves at the rescue for weeks, even months to years. They are re-socialized, some after terrible histories of neglect and abuse, and treated for illness, given dental work, fostered in people’s homes, and treated with the care that many animals never ever have the chance for. The struggles of many of these animals touch every volunteer that works with them, feeds them and loves them, and they make it so that when one passes on, the loss is almost as if they were our own companion animal.

One such sweet kitty at Animal Talk was TyraBear,

TyraBear, when I met her at the rescue, Fall 2011

TyraBear, when I met her at the rescue, Fall 2011

who struggled for a long time to gain her health and gain a home, but she was never given up on. I’m posting the email sent to me, written by my friend and the rescue’s Head of the Board, Rebecca, to share Tyra’s story. RIP little TyraBear. I hope you rest well now.

“TyraBear touched my heart and the heart of everyone who got the chance to know her.  At the rescue this was very difficult.  Her shy nature and anxiety in stressful situations did not allow her to stand out and get noticed by many of the volunteers and potential adopters. But she had a lovely and gentle spirit.  Carol Cummings (foster kitty mom) described her perfectly by saying that few kitties have touched her like Tyra. This was also true for Paul and I.  Rollo (her ‘brother’ and friend) also adored her the eleven years they were together. Tyra remained loving and calm up until the end.

Tyra’s struggle to maintain stability and quality health has been challenging over the past year.  She came into foster care one year ago weighing only 4.5 pounds (down from 11 pounds) and sick with depression and chronic upper respiratory symptoms.  Rollo also was thin and ill, but recovered VERY well with supportive therapy and food trials. We were not able to discover what ailed Tyra and caused her lack of appetite which was her main problem.  The only issue we knew of was dental related but our vet did not feel her dental issues were the source of her decline and lack of appetite so did not wish to do dental extractions. Thus, in addition to much monitoring, testing, supportive therapy (steroids, antibiotics, appetite stimulants, fluids…), and TLC, little more could be done.  We were hopeful she would improve for good and become adoptable.  She had many good months, but she continually improved only to crash again and repeat, repeat, repeat. It was difficult to watch her suffer on the declines but a joy to watch her flourish too. I loved her like my own and was very devoted.  Carol and Lance were also devoted foster parents for Tyra during the last couple months.  Lance played her live music and Carol brushed her every day which she loved.

Two months ago her decline saw less up’s and she became very thin.  Every medical treatment and medication administration was traumatic for Tyra and she became very fearful and mistrusting with treatment so we gave limited care.  It was emotionally difficult for Dr Obegi, Carol, and I to help her in this way without improvement that lasted. We realized there was little more we could do for her, but felt grateful that we were able to extend her life for a year. She had many happy and cozy moments in foster and deserved every second of it.

I scheduled her euthanasia with sadness last week and the nagging curiosity: could we do more for this sweet girl who sickened so severely in our rescue’s care?  Strangely enough, the day that I scheduled her euthanasia she perked up as she had not done in months!  She ran to me and purred, rolled and rubbed, and acted energetic (for tyra) and comfortable.  We were shocked and decided to delay her appointment.  Lance stated the obvious, the source of our hesitation, by saying that she was a cat who was not thriving but also not dying. She spent the next 5 days at my house acting happy and comfortable. She loved to be pet and brushed.  She purred and licked and adored stretching out on her fav blanket on top of a warm heating pad.  She seemed to be at ease and I feel had a happy and relaxed time during her final rally for life.  However, she still ate very little and remained thin.  Dr O and I did not want her to suffer any longer with supportive care to help her gain weight without knowing the cause and thus no ability to treat it for good.

Yesterday I brought her in to be put to sleep.  I hope Tyra joined a new place and will find a new beginning with joy, comfort, and love.  She was a special girl with a gentle soul.  She will be missed.”

I've posted this before, but I love this photo of Tyra: taken at her foster home a couple of months ago

I’ve posted this before, but I love this photo of Tyra: I took this at her foster home a couple of months ago

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