The Big Orange Guy.

Or “Beloved Old Goof”. Or “Barrel O’Greatness”. Or even “God” in Russian, at least so I’ve been told. His name was BOG, but it meant many things to many people.

Note the past tense. Fuck I hate writing these things.

I introduced you all to him back in 2012, when half his fur was clear-cut and he was covered in scabs. I think I may have described him as “one of the homeliest mammals in all of southern Ontario”. He came by his scars honestly: first spotted as a full-grown adult, living rough in an abandoned car for eight years before he started doing so badly that some kindly do-gooders trapped him and started him on the road to retirement.

We still had a huge Banana-shaped hole in the Magic Bungalow but of course someone passed his stats on to the BUG, and the Meez laid out the most logical argument her 12-year-old brain could muster, and we drove across town “just for a look” but somehow a cat carrier ended up in the car with us and we would’ve looked really dumb if we’d driven it all that way and never even used it.

But God he was a mess.

Before (when they called him “Gorgeous”). After (once we’d named him BOG).

Peppered with scabs, half his fur shaved off, several teeth rotted away and the rest in need of immediate extraction. He had congenital micropthalmia: his eyeballs were the right size, but the slits they looked out through were too small. Worse, his eyelids were kind of folded down and around, so fur scratched BOG’s corneas every time he blinked. For over a decade he’d looked out upon the world through squinty, lacerated, running eyes. They had been hurting him his whole life.

BOG’s Alice Cooper Phase

We fixed that, along with everything else. There was nothing anyone could do about the width of the eyelids—BOG was going to be saddled with squinty mole-eyes for the rest of his life—but we could at least get their edges rolled back up so nothing touched those tortured orbs but tears and tissue. (It’s not your average veterinary procedure; fortunately Julia Hammond, who was working at Kato Animal Hospital back then, knew those ropes. She was awesome.) It was a pretty invasive procedure, and BOG was even homelier than normal during his convalescence. But The BOG abides.

And judging by his behavior post-op, the drugs were great.

*

Guarding the perimeter.
The Paws of Need. Photo by Caitlin “The BUG” Sweet.
I read it for the cats.

He never did grow into any kind of looker, but over the years he bulked out and developed into a being that exemplified both quiet dignity and unmitigated goofiness. In a bungalow where half the residents always seemed to be hissing and spitting at the other half (not to mention the cats themselves), he was a gentle orange paw of moderation. Taking his rightful place at our side while we worked, he would place a quelling paw on our mouse hands when he thought we were working too hard; if that wasn’t sufficient, he would wrap his paws around our wrists and force us to type one-handed. The click click click of his claws on hardwood preceded his welcome entrance into any room. No great beauty, he nonetheless instantly won the hearts of all who met him. More than one visitor to the Magic Bungalow looked down at those squinty eyes and that increasingly-tottery frame and uttered the words—almost a mantra: “That cat has seen some things.” His profile expanded into the public sphere when I incorporated him into my official author photo back in 2017; it peaked just last month, when he appeared in a glossy German culture/fashion magazine with two hot chicks making out on the cover.

The market for BOG merch was small but thriving.

When the work day was over he’d join the rest of us on the bed for salmon, sushi or feta (depending on the night’s menu), and snooze while The BUG and I watched the latest episode of whatever had caught our eye on Netflix or Soap2Day. Should some disturbance awaken him—a tussle amongst the junior members of the Gang of Fur, unauthorized movement among the can openers— he would lift his head, survey the tableau, and heave a world-weary sigh before going back to sleep.

This cat has never eaten. Photo by Caitlin “The BUG” Sweet, while on the toilet.

Those sighs were one of his trademarks. They conveyed a sense of wisdom that, honestly, BOG probably didn’t have in great abundance. But perhaps he was thinking back to all those years spent in his junkyard, the freezing cold and the scorching heat, the frostbite and the pain in his mouth and the lacerated eyes that had just been The Way Things Are from the day he was born. The tum that went empty far too often. Perhaps he was comparing that to this new life, where there was no pain and scritches on demand, where all he had to do to get fed was to sit next to his bowl looking needy.

Maybe a world-weary sigh. Maybe just a sigh of contentment.

BOG has no idea what’s happening here. Honestly, neither do I. Photo by Stella Rossiter.

The staff down at Kato’s would battle to the death for the privilege of tending BOG’s needs when we brought him in; I heard at least one of them describe him as “a legend”. He sailed through those checkups with flying colors. In recent years each veterinary transcript came with its own formulaic caveat tacked on to the end—given his current age and condition there is a 95% chance that BOG will develop kidney disease within the next year— but he never did.

There’s an irony in this that stretches over a decade. Back in 2012 Toronto Cat Rescue initially refused our adoption request because we were already a multi-cat household, and they didn’t think an FIV-positive cat would do well with us. (They changed their minds after I pointed them to my eulogy for Banana. Can I write, or what?) Since then, we’ve watched younger cats with healthier backstories succumb (another of ours is suffering from kidney disease right now) while BOG, with his micropthalmia and tooth rot and FIV, just kept on ticking. He beat every odd, surmounted every travail with supreme unbroken chill. He was the best kind of outlier: a statistical anomaly sheathed in orange fur.

Honestly, I was starting to think he’d live forever.

Cover for BOG’s Christian Rock Album “We See the Little Sparrow Fall”

*

The love that…

BOG spent his retirement soaking up the love of every adoring Human he ever met, of course; but it wasn’t until quite late that he experienced the love of his own kind. We found Doofus abandoned under a bleacher in the winter of 2021. We took him in. We made a few token efforts to locate his Human, on the off chance that he’d somehow escaped from a loving home and not just been ditched by some heartless asshole. We adopted him.

…dare not speak its name.

BOG and Doofus bonded instantly. After almost two decades, BOG had a soulmate. Or a gay sex partner. Or a cuddle buddy. Something, anyway, that he’d never had before. We couldn’t stop watching.

It wasn’t a perfect relationship. It got rough sometimes. BOG was twenty years old, Doofus was barely over one, and all too often the mutual grooming sessions would get a little too vigorous and a little too violent and suddenly it would be wrestlemania all down the hall. Doofus would never heed BOG’s safe word (“wrrrOWrrr”). Sometimes we had to step in, or lure Doofus away with the Red Dot.

BOG always came back, though. He’d click-click-click up to Doofus lying in a sunbeam, start licking his face no matter how rough the previous session had been. BOG was always asking for it.

*

He first died a few months ago. Think of it as a dress rehearsal.

The setting was the same: BOG asleep in the middle of the bed, me asleep on one side, the BUG on the other. “Squid” she said, “I think BOG’s dead…” and of course I was instantly awake and there he was between us, limp as a rag, utterly unresponsive. This was no deep sleep; BOG always reacted when touched, squirmed or purred or at least flicked an ear in his sleep. This time there was—nothing. I lifted his head, let it go; it dropped back onto the mattress as if his neck had been broken. His paws drooped, utterly limp. I could see no chest movement.

We had just enough time to give some kind of thanks that this was the best death we could have ever hoped for—peaceful, oblivious, in his sleep— before we saw the slightest catch of breath. Okay, not dead yet, I realized, but dying. He’s almost gone. He’s almost gone.

But the next breath was stronger. The one after that was almost normal. And then he opened his eyes, and stretched, and purred. Five minutes later it was as if nothing had happened.

We never did get a clue as to what had happened, what had put him into that boneless coma, how he’d come out of it. The BUG joked that we’d watched him switching one life for another (cats have nine of them, right?). At the time, it made as much sense as anything else.

Really, all we felt was a relief so deep it bordered on sickness. Of course it would have been the best possible death. Of course he’d lived a long life against great odds, and the last half of it at least had been Cat Utopia. In the moment, though, that didn’t matter much.

We just weren’t ready to let him go.

This is a video, not a still. Just in case your mouse hasn’t highlighted the Play controls.

*

He was a frail old thing by now: at least twenty-one years old, probably more depending on how much time he’d spent as an adult before someone noticed him and started keeping an eye out. In human terms that’s 102. Older.

There was a time when he’d roam the back forty like a tiny lion, leap from patio stones to bedroom windowsill and back down with the best of them. This last year, though, he could barely climb onto the bed without help (we positioned an ottoman he could use as a step at at the foot of the bed). When we worked on the couch he wanted desperately to join us there, but the effort it cost him to get up on his own grew increasingly out of reach. Most of the time he would just stare woefully at us until we hoisted him up ourselves. He would sometimes grow concerned when we went downstairs to shower— we’d turn off the taps and draw back the curtain only to see him sitting in the door, mrowring piteously at his abandonment—but while he always managed to make it down the stairs we never had the heart to force him to follow us back up on his own steam. He could scale those heights if he had to, but he’d obviously been so traumatized by the ten minutes we’d been out of his sight that we didn’t want to add to his burden.

We carried him around a lot, is what I’m saying. We didn’t want to wear him out. So when he tried to climb down off the couch on Monday and his legs splayed every which way, we didn’t think much of it. We comforted him and helped him up even as we laughed at the slapstick face-plant. He was just old. His appetite remained insatiable, he continued to shit things the size of redwoods that stank up the whole neighborhood. He was a healthy old guy.

But just a few hours later, curled up on the bed, he raised his head and started looking around as though seeing ghosts. He stood up, stumbled, cried out. Drooled a little. We gave him pats and reassurance; he calmed down, settled back to sleep. The BUG and I looked at each other, not as concerned as we should have been. A bad dream, maybe.

Then again in the middle of the night. More spastic activity, more cries. Strings of drool, this time. Again, it passed.

The next day we brought him in to the vet. They fawned as usual, took blood to test for everything from liver health to toxoplasmosis. Could be end-stage kidney disease, Dr. Kato suggested, but didn’t think that was especially likely; BOG didn’t have any of the other symptoms we’d seen in kidney cats (with whom we’ve had, I might have mentioned, far too much prior experience).

Maybe a brain tumor, Kato said. We talked about MRIs and brain surgery—we wanted to map out the territory ahead— but one step at a time. Blood work first. Eliminate the obvious stuff. There’d be time to contemplate more radical measures if we had to. After all, whatever this was, the symptoms were barely a day old.

When this picture was taken, BOG had four hours to live.

Six hours later someone pumped fifty thousand volts through BOG’s body.

That’s the best way I can describe it. As always, on the bed between us as we watched TV. Paws of Need wrapped around my arm. Sudden wakefulness, sudden spastic motion. BOG hauls himself to his feet, drooling. Looks frantically around as though being accosted on all sides by hungry predators. His mouth starts to snap open closed open closed open closed. He topples and writhes. We try to hold him, calm him down (how fucking stupid that looks in hindsight); he pisses all over the bed. We set him thrashing on the floor. He’s dying, of course he’s dying, this is just like what happened to Banana, there’s no way he’s coming back from this…

And then he goes still, and we think That’s it. He’s gone.

And then he wakes up, and drools, and licks my hand. And for a moment or two I can think back to that time he swapped out lives, and think maybe this is like that. Maybe it’s a one-off.

Bundle BOG into a carrier, commandeer a Zipcar, break the local speed limit traveling north into furthest Scarberia, out into the boons where an emergency veterinary hospital is open 24/7 for things like this. There are people ahead of us at the front desk; the receptionist takes one look at BOG and moves us to the front of the line. They take him backstage; we stay behind in the waiting room, where some shrunken yappy thing whose ancestors were once dogs snaps and yips incessantly. I resist the urge to punt it into the fucking wall, despite the fact that it’s not even visibly sick; some narcissistic asshole from Rosedale probably just brought it here to harass the scared and the grief-stricken.

The vet invites us into a small examination room. It’s been maybe five minutes. You know it’s never good for the accused when the jury finishes deliberating that quickly.

It’s not. These guys are talking brain tumor too. Apparently that’s common when cats reach a certain age, and in cat terms BOG’s a centenarian. I guess it makes sense. Every cell division is a dice roll, an event with some miniscule chance of a copy error. Those odds are so remote that even when you’re seven or eight years old, the cumulative probability of coming up cancer is pretty low; but after a couple of decades it would be amazing if some bit of tissue hadn’t rolled snake-eyes at least once. Part of me dwells on questions and ramifications; why the brain, preferentially? Is it just cats, or do human brains start sprouting tumors when they get too old? If not, why not? Everybody’s cells divide, every metazoan should be vulnerable to the same relentless probabilities.

I think on these questions but I don’t voice them because I don’t really give a shit. This is just my own brain, clapping hands over years and humming really loud la la la I can’t hear you.

Brain tumor. Common in older cats. Often completely asymptomatic until they pass some kind of tipping point and start pushing on the circuitry.

Can’t be sure without an MRI. But an MRI could easily kill him, because BOG is very old and might not survive the general anesthesia. There’s an MRI on site, but it’s fully booked into the foreseeable future. They can refer us to another hospital with an MRI, but there are only a few of them and none are open at one in the morning and they all have their own waiting lists. It’s gonna be days at best, maybe weeks.

Brain surgery an option in theory. But you’d need the MRI first, and if he survived that he’d be up against a double whammy of another general combined with people cutting into his brain, then a triple whammy given the question of whether an immunocompromised twenty-one-plus-year-old cat would be able to convalesce post-op.

What if we just took him home? BOG’s only been having seizures for a couple of days; they have progressed, in a mere 55 hours, from barely noticeable to catastrophic. He’s had at least three in the past 24 hours; the vet opines that going forward they will be “more frequent and more severe”. It’s hard to imagine a seizure more severe than the one BOG has just experienced: maybe around breakfast, maybe a few hours from now, maybe a few minutes. Maybe in the car as we drive him home.

In all this time, nobody has uttered the phrase “kill him”. So I do: “that’s basically what you’re suggesting, isn’t it? That’s your advice.” But of course it isn’t. I’m pretty sure vets are trained to never advise a course of action, at least not that course of action[1]. They just lay out the scenarios. They just describe the possible consequences at the end of each road. All the horrible decisions you have to make yourself. Nobody with a stethoscope is likely to lighten that load for you.

The BUG and I converse in private. She doesn’t want to use the K word either, but for all the warm fuzziness of her huge unicornian heart she thinks it’s the most merciful option. On some level I probably do too but I can’t admit it yet. I’m too worried that we say we should end his suffering when we really mean he’s not worth the expense. I keep weighing Heroic measures that will likely kill him against a needle that definitely and deliberately will. I try—for oh fuck, so very not the first time—to figure out if a little more life spent in pain is still better than no life at all, and come up empty.

And finally I say Okay, we’ll kill him, and I still don’t know if the reasons are righteous. But they bring him in after a while, the needle already taped to his leg. He’s swaddled in a blanket; he’s awake; maybe he’s purring (I can’t remember; I think maybe). I’m pretty sure he knows us. We scritch him and talk to him. The Meez (who’s been getting updates via text) videos in from Newfoundland and says goodbye between sobs. The vet injects a sedative into the tube. BOG lifts his head a little, and heaves one last world-weary sigh, and peacefully loses consciousness.

All the way back home I’m thinking about that sigh. It was so normal; it was so BOG. It was not the act of a dying creature wracked by seizures and tumors. It was a contented old cat lying in bed at home, maybe a bit tuckered out after a mutual grooming session with Doofus, his tum full of Lamborghini and ready for a good night’s sleep.

And we killed him.

And I know I should be grateful for such a peaceful death. How many times have the BUG and I said we hoped he’d die like that, peacefully, in his sleep? Violent seizures and a sterile veterinary office were never part of that scenario, granted. We were hoping that when he died, he’d die in bed between us without even knowing it. The way we’d all rehearsed it. But this came close. That sigh; it’s made us smile so many times over the years. It was BOG, The Cat Who’s Seen Some Things, snoozing in contentment.

And maybe it was BOG feeling better after a very rough couple of days. Maybe it was BOG on the mend. Sure the vet said tumor, and more often, and progressively worse but we never even did an MRI. We don’t know.

After I got home I went online and found out about radiation therapy and chemo for cats; nobody we’d spoken to had even mentioned those as options. And there are the headlines, there’s the clickbait, there are the pull quotes—Surgery often best option, Cat Bounces Back After Brain Surgery, palliative measure can extend life by several months— and all I can think is we didn’t even try.

His food bowl no longer sits in front of the cookware drawer; I don’t have to wait until he’s finished snarfing before I can put away the frying pan. There’s not nearly as much pee to scoop out of the litter box; the shit in there is smaller and way less stinky. I don’t need to wake up and spin uncomfortably in place when my body tires of sleeping on one side or the other; I can just roll over now, without worrying about crushing the scruffy orange bed-hog at my side. It takes 20% less time to feed everyone. Twenty percent fewer hairballs and regurgitated kibble to scrub off the carpet. We’re gonna save a fortune on vet bills and specialty cat food.

And after all, twenty one. A hundred and two cat years old, probably more. We gave him a good life, he hit the jackpot when we took him in.

He had to go sometime. Only jellyfish live forever.

It still feels like such a raw fucking deal.


  1. They used to. Back in the eighties I knew a couple of vets who’d advise euthanasia if someone’s pet caught a fucking cold. Maybe they went into the field out of pure sociopathic sadism.


This entry was posted on Sunday, June 25th, 2023 at 12:38 pm and is filed under eulogy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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Lektu
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Lektu
3 months ago

Got a cat, 13yo, which is undergoing chemo because of a malignant tumor under his tongue. Life expectancy is a few months. So in the near future we’ll have to take that same decision, once his QoL deteriorates.

Sorry for your loss.

Jack
Guest
Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Lektu

Given the placement of the tumor you might want to try Friskies lil’ shakes which is a purred meat slurpee. It comes in a small package in different flavors which can be licked up. It might be helpful if the tumor is impairing chewing. Sorry about your cat.

Jack Dominey
Guest
Jack Dominey
3 months ago

We had to kill Smokey a couple of years ago and that is exactly how I felt the whole way through. I’m so sorry for you and the family.

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Dominey

It’s probably too soon to make The Bear jokes like Gilbert Gottfried and 9/11. Sorry for your loss.

Mike Bowen
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Mike Bowen
3 months ago

Nicely written Peter. Wish I’d met BOG.
I had to make that decision for my cat two years ago….still think about it, and her purring and contentment after much discomfort as she fell into that long sleep, and wishing over and over I’d had just five more minutes, and maybe five more after that, and on. She was a feral too, with a droopy eyelid and sagging lip on one side she looked like a pirate after a knife fight, we suspect based on how our other cat responded that she spoke cat with a slur, but she had the fastest paws I’ve ever seen on a cat when playing chase the dot and was the sweetest kitty ever. I never had to worry about squashing her when sleeping as she slept on my hip, and patiently repositioned on it again when I had to roll in place because this, that, or some other part of me ached. I agonized over the decision, but it really was the time and anything we subjected her to that prolonged things would really have been for us, not for her, and my job was to do the best for her no matter how I felt.
All of which is to say that I feel your loss. My condolences.

Not Mark Major
Guest
Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Bowen

Not trying to be a dick by one-upping you with my story. If my mom, who was a smart loveable people pleaser, had had cognitions like those when I fessed my attempt to account for the missing meds, we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation. And neither would your cat.

Not Mark Major
Guest
Not Mark Major
3 months ago

Ooh, just skimmed, will read later. Sorry for your loss.

From the title I was expecting totally different subject matter (exPotus).

Not Mark Major
Guest
Not Mark Major
3 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

Edit – First few paragraphs remind me of recent NY story. Some dude’s dogs start harassing some couple’s dog. Couple says something. Dude pulls a knife and stabs the dog because toxic masculinity. Not the first dog walker incident I know, but the first that ended this way.

Also reminds me there’s a cat scene in David Simon’s The Wire.

Last edited 3 months ago by Not Mark Major
BAMK
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BAMK
3 months ago

Every time you write one of these I end up crying. I’m sorry for your loss, he seemed like a great cat

RexGalore
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RexGalore
3 months ago

With a 19 year old fur ball at home this hits hard.
This right here is what I am half expecting every day now. My worst nightmare…

My deepest condolences for your loss. Could not read without crying.

But both from this eulogy and earlier posts it seems like you gave each other a great time with wonderful moments. Something worth celebrating!

Not Mark Major
Guest
Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  RexGalore

Hey Thanks. YOu’re provoking me into reading more of this long post, and responding on this doomed kybd. I assume it all ends b4 kitties have to endure needless suffering. Best.

Antonio
Guest
3 months ago

Peter, I’m sorry for your loss. You gave BOG the best possible life. He was beautiful.
Last Christmas, I had to put down my 19 years-old cat. He was like a brother to me.
Recently I adopted an 8 year old-cat. He was left in the street by his previous owners. Eyes damaged and very sick. They found him nearly dead after some bastard smack him.
I don’t know if he’ll last 21 like your BOG, but I cling to him. Maybe is the grief tearing me down from my previous cat, perhaps how grateful he is. Watching him happy, safe and healthy in this moment is beyond description.
Wishing you strength in this difficult moment.

VrellDP
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VrellDP
3 months ago

Damn ,really sorry. I remember reading when you first got him.Triple digit heat down here and i’m losing more moisture.

Ashley
Guest
3 months ago

I lost my favourite cat in a RTA. This was years ago. It broke me. I love cats, but I can’t have another. Just thinking about losing my cat makes me break out into tears.

So sorry to here you’ve lost a big orange guy.

ZetaFan
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ZetaFan
3 months ago

Greetings Doctor Watts, I’m from Russia.
I had a dog, jack-russel he was 14 years old. 5 Years ago he was bitten by mite. Found this little guy too late, by that moment the paws of my dog (His name was “Коржик”/”Shortbread”) just got paralyzed.
Vets said it was piroplasmosis. In a month we managed to save our boy but I think the cost was very high. The organs were damaged quite badly. Against that background his epilepsy went acute. The seizures started to manifest twice a day. He was very stubborn and I’ve always had problems with giving him medicine.Theese memories bring up so many emotions.
Last summer his condition worsened. Medicine didn’t help, vets too, so I decided that the time has come. But I just didn’t had the strenght to end his sufferings. So I watched him dying for two days hoping that he might get better. Still I remember very clear the moment when I touched his chest and his heart stopped. Now every time a memory of my pet appears I feel very guilty for not being able to help him quit without suffering.

All I want to say is that your decision is right. We tried every single option that one could imagine to cure Коржик or at least to help him live longer but there is a point after what it is simply impossible.

Feeling very sorry for your loss.

Last edited 3 months ago by ZetaFan
marknot
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marknot
2 months ago
Reply to  ZetaFan

I thought Russian tragedy died with Dostoyevsky. I decided no who survives a sun burn and claims not to be atheist is lying. Have you had a sunburn?

Jack
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Jack
3 months ago

Nice eulogy Peter. Your pre-adoption description and early photos of Bog reminds me of the many feral cats I saw in Cairo way back. Sad cases everywhere – cats that resembled Ernest Borgnine after a nasty bar fight or Micky Rourke after years of boxing. Muzzles out of alignment, nasty looking scars, missing eyes and teeth, grungy dull coats, limps, crooked tails. So different from the sleek cosseted spoiled cats we typically see in North America. Mind you, I realize we have our share of hard cases but nothing like what I saw there. Good on you and your wife for adopting him and fixing his eyes.

T. S. Elliot may not be fashionable much these days but he loved cats and I like these lines from his poem “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and the cat imagery it evokes. So in homage to Bog

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

marknot
Guest
marknot
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack

It’s kind of Robert W. Chambers brought to you by Disney. Good for non-Lovecraft or Wilde.

Fatman
Guest
Fatman
3 months ago

“After I got home I went online and found out about radiation therapy and chemo for cats; nobody we’d spoken to had even mentioned those as options.”

We went the extremely invasive (and unspeakably expensive) surgery+chemo route for our older cat’s cancer 7 years ago. Weeks of stress, fear, and pain – all for nothing. She ended up dying even faster than the vet’s pessimistic “do nothing” prognosis. I’d never put an animal through that again.

Went with the kill option when our other cat’s CKD finally became unmanageable. It took four years to get to that point, and he was doing well until about the very last week. In spite of prior experience, I too went through the phase of Googling “cat kidney transplant”.

We always want them to stick around longer. But it’s not about us.

So sorry for your loss.

Lars
Guest
Lars
3 months ago

As I read this post through tears, my cold, callused heart truly goes out to you and your family, both human and feline. As I’m sure you’re aware, the end of any life is rarely fair. you went above and beyond to give this lovely creature the best life he could have had, much better than he ever would have had without you. I hope you can find some solace in the total amount of joy you brought into his life.

singingwhalebone
Guest
singingwhalebone
3 months ago

He was a good cat and you gave him a happy life.
My condolences to you and your family.

Peter D
Guest
Peter D
3 months ago

I’m sorry for your loss, and that you had to make that decision, but given how much care you’ve shown for your animals, I think it’s clear it was an act of kindness, regardless of whether or not other options might hypothetically have been available. And you got to say goodbye, which is something.

Angus M
Guest
3 months ago

I’m so sorry.

That was a hard read for me, because we had to make the same choice for a similarly adored cat recently. And I know exactly what it feels like to keep asking yourself “Did we do the right thing?” I’m still asking myself that, months later, and even though I think I know the answer, the question never goes away.

For what my non-veterinary opinion might be worth, it sounds like you made the right call. There’s a point where heroic life-saving interventions look more like cruelty than love, and I’d never want to be the person who put a pet through weeks of pain and distress just to buy another month or two of their company. That feels less like love than self-indulgence, and I don’t think we have the right to exercise our sentimentality at the cost of another creature’s suffering. But even when the choice is clear, making it can still be hard as hell.

A fine epitaph, and a still finer cat. Thank you for sharing both with us (so to speak).

Not Mark Major
Guest
Not Mark Major
3 months ago

The condolences will continue to pour in, and deservedly so, but I can only sit shiva (or shit Shiva) for so long before I go off topic.

They say the secret to a great relationship is to pick someone whose looks you like, then pretend they have the personality you want. I’ve seen pictures of (Dr?) Niven. Congratulate your wife, from me, on having made the right choice back when Cthulhu walked the Earth or whenever.

I think you’re a bit older than I, tho u look younger. Sadly, for you, Jordan Peterson has ruined that hairstyle. You may as well sport a brush moustache.

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
3 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

Is my sunburn nature’s way of saying “I could’ve pulled you out of the gene pool, but this is funnier”?

Joe
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Joe
3 months ago

Absolutely heart rendering. My sincerest condolences.

My cat, Maple, is only seven years old. She still has many years of neck scritchels ahead of her. But I worry about reaching the end of this road. I fear, when she goes, it’ll tear a hole in me so profound I may never recover.

Reid B
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Reid B
3 months ago

My condolences Peter, you gave him a good life.

Jack
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Jack
3 months ago

You made the right decision to end his suffering. I had to make a similar decision with my dog of 17 two yrs ago. I delayed euthanizing her until she took a turn for the worse and the apparent became obvious. It’s a terrible power the power of life and death. We are truly like Gods to our pets, they are so dependent and trusting that we will do the right thing by them and in the end you lived up to that sacred trust. And I’m sorry for you because when they die a part of us dies with them.

1001001
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1001001
2 months ago

You posted this, or at least the message on Facebook, while I was at the local emergency vet clinic dealing with a very similar situation. This was after a few sad days and restless nights hoping she would find the inevitable, peacefully in her sleep.

As nice as this sounds, this rarely happens.

It seems that heart medication helps the heart, but hurts the liver and a few years on those pills finally took their toll. When a few days at the vet hooked up to something or another made no difference, we were told to get ready. Being the idiot I am, I hoped they were wrong. 

First she lost the glint in her eye and the wag in her tail. Then it got bad. But it didn’t get really bad. Not like with our old ginger cat Murm who passed last year.

I wanted him to go easily. He was always an easy cat. A cool dude in a loose mood. It was really bad in the end. I don’t know exactly what was happening with him, but your description of the fifty thousand volts nailed it.

I never believed in euthanasia. Even after I reasoned with myself that with all the care we gave him, the I don’t even want to add up vet bills spent, he was already years past due. That reasoning still rang false.

I went from not even wanting to think about ending it for him, to cursing myself for not doing it sooner.

It didn’t get that bad with the Little Fat Dog. It certainly wasn’t good, but I can take a little bit of solace in that it never got horrible.

What am I writing all this? I’m not sure. Maybe just to say I feel your loss, and thanks for helping me live with my decision.

I still wonder though. Maybe another day. Maybe one more wag.

Gary
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Gary
2 months ago

Very sad news. We got brother-sister kittens and lost the boy to an RTA and now I live to serve the sister, who, Crom willing, has many years of selfish demands for worship to go–and whose presence in my life makes many of my clife choices much more complicated than they would be otherwise. But it’s worth it. I’ve not gone through this with either the puss or the Hell Hound, but will think of your great writing when I do. Loved the line about redwoods!

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago

X billion missing snow crabs this year? Do we produce enough milk cartons to net zero that out?

I found a PhD on YouTube for you to debunk Doc. I’ll post a link. In a previous job he was a caulk soaker, a coal sacker before that. For now, I’m reacting to tonight’s Newshour on PBS.

Doc, when I set up my FatCatreon and PleaseFundMe, I will expect your celebrity support in exchange for all this gratuitous gallows humor. You can practice by posting short punchy blog punches on here and reddit.

You can free up time by merging it with the marginal thing you already have going here >> >>

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

Your fans will thank you by consolidating their brainfarts in semipublic fora, which will also save you precious seconds.

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago

Watts and I are probably humanitarians with callouses. I flatter myself semipublicly, oh dear.

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

Sorry, what was the point of naming your humanitarian character Tako Omlette? A tribute to Dungeons & Dragons, Freudian?

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

Sterling might dismiss house cats as charismatic megafauna, but mine rocks.

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago

Hey Thanks. YOu’re provoking me into reading more of this long post, and responding on this doomed kybd. I assume it all ends b4 kitties have to endure needless suffering. Best.

@RexGalore. Having trouble posting repliez…

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago

That last straw was the supernatural proof that it’s time to upgrade your blog game like I just proposed.

This is the historic last post in this format before the announcement of the upcoming experimental changes in format involving reddit and me previously noted. Think of me as one of your literary agents, pro bono.

Point being, you do it as a memoriam (memorium memoriyum?) to BOG, IMMEDIATELY.

If you want to advance my cPTSD remission, you can make me a co-author on the new blog. You can reality check for the nice folks. Don’t forget, most of your fans are probably simple primates like myself!!!

Oh. I had to search “eukaryotic” every time you used it, because I lack the buffer to retain the def in ram. You bastard.

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

It may also reduce needless instances of me texting some flat mates as to why considering bicuriousity might be a logical lifestyle to consider, all things being equal. TMI for the PeterWatts w/o NotMarkMajor reddit?

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

And my recent burst of textual flatulence which feels like a first manic episode.

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago

For example: Big Extractive has a plan to sacrifice you (not just some brown kids, abroad, next week) to Moloch.

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

It could also be the seed of a voluntary grift on the left for me, which would be a nice supplement to SSDI and dividends. Probably still go for a psyD or similar…

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

I was trying to condole cat widows, when this technology provoked me to narc all over your nice blog here.

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago

If you loved reading Peter Watts, you can probably tolerate reading Watts plus Major. – Kirkus Reviews

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

It’s like I’m a Jewish Space Laser for schmaltz and schtick. I’m not sure I could control it, and I’m old enough to think we should try to monetize it instead.

Not Mark Major
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Not Mark Major
2 months ago
Reply to  Not Mark Major

We might broaden your demo from the narrow Venn slice of decent human beings with kids, too…

Lander
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Lander
2 months ago

Painfully beautiful eulogy.

Some of the load-sharing comments here are beautiful too.

has
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has
2 months ago

Good kitty .

marknot
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marknot
2 months ago

Watching (21) Can meaningful hope spring from revealing the depth of our climate failure? Kevin Anderson – YouTube

Getting ads for get rich quick, Eve online, and The Bible. John Carpenter laughed; Valerie the Vampire wept.

Omer
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2 months ago

I’m sorry for your loss.

Phil
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Phil
2 months ago

I’m sorry for your loss. He did live longer than most cats, at least – almost as if the karma police fucked up on his early life and gave him a second half with you to rectify.

The K
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The K
2 months ago

Damn. My condolences to you, its always heart wrenching. We adopted a cat from the streets a year ago and even the thought of him dying (or worse, vanishing without a trace) leaves me nearly in hysterics and tears.

Its always too soon, is it? At least he lived in earthly paradise for the majority of his live, and for what its worth, i am sure you did the right thing. If he was too weak even for an MRI, i very much doubt he would have survived surgery+chemo.

Mike
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Mike
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Thank you for sharing BOG with those of us who never knew him. You and yours gave him the best life and it sounds like he recognized how much you loved him. I’m so sorry for your loss. I hope Doofus and everyone is able to adjust to the BOG-shaped hole. Please give skritches from a random internet stranger to them all.

I lost my Shahrazad last year (scooped her off the street as a 5-wk kitten after seeing her get hit by a car) at age 7 to a massive heart attack. My heart aches still.

Dan Major
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2 months ago

Thank you for sharing B.O.G. with us over the years, and thank you for being one of the “good ones” (cat adopters who take the older/unattractive/unhealthy ones and love them regardless). I usually follow the crawl and discussion silently, but I had to post here and say thank you for taking such good care of a kitty no one else was loving, and I am glad you got so much back in return. I am very sorry for your loss, but I am glad he had you both in his life.

gator
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gator
2 months ago

FWIW… I have some friends who are nurses. They seen A LOT of human suffering, treatment, and death. When their beloved, relatively young dog was diagnosed with lung cancer, they decided to kill their dog rather than subject it to surgery and chemo. Surgery and chemo is hard. When your patient is a human, that person can consider the pluses and minuses, and understand the suffering now might lead to a better tomorrow. Animals don’t get that. They pull out stitches and IVs. They have to be sedated to live through the treatment. You are basically torturing them with no promise of a perfect outcome. I am convinced that animals should just be put out of their suffering when it comes to things like cancer or other invasive treatments.

Benoît ( Paris, France )
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Benoît ( Paris, France )
2 months ago

Unrelated :

facebook. com/groups/8045747215 ( “Peter Watts Fan Club” )

facebook. com/groups/paris. peter. watts. fans

( remove blank spaces after “.”s in above URLs )

Are there other meeting places for Peter’s work fans ? The commentators community here is amazing, but the ‘per Peter’s post’ format is limiting, if you want to organize IRL get-togethers e.g.

PS. Peter, can you implement RSS support for your blog ? ( posts AND comments, see fightaging. org/archives/2010/10/fight-aging-content-feeds#post-7077 for a template )

Last edited 2 months ago by Benoît ( Paris, France )
Tyler
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Tyler
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

It absolutely is supported. I read both your articles and comments (including this thread) on my RSS reader.

Relevant links are:
https://www.rifters.com/crawl/?feed=rss2 (Blog)
https://www.rifters.com/crawl/?feed=comments-rss2 (Blog Comments)

NotParticipating
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NotParticipating
2 months ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

You do indeed have RSS installed. It is how I get all of my Watts related updates.

It think they might be confused because the message at the bottom of the post looks like it only exists for posts.

BUT on the very bottom of every page you also have a separate message with RSS feeds for posts and another for comments.

That is what I am thinking the “AND comments” emphasis is meant to uhh emphasize…

Rodrigo
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Rodrigo
2 months ago

I’ll add my pithy So sorry for your loss to the chorus. BOG was gorgeous.

We had to have a 13-Yo cat (Pandaemonium) put down, and it wrecked the wife and me – she still can’t talk about it without tearing up, and the memories this piece stirred have pretty much fucked me up right now.
Luckily the Vet was brutally honest with us that it was the best option; that was really kind of her, otherwise we still wouldn’t be over it. She only volunteered that information after we asked about euthanasia, though; she never suggested it in the first place.

Jack
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Jack
2 months ago

My cat is in a similar situation to your former Moo. I was awakened this morning by Louie’s pitiful meowing and vomiting. I grabbed a syringe of anti-vomiting medication and managed to fish him out from under the bed. I emerged from the ordeal with minor injuries. He’s hiding now. Maybe the vet can patch us both up. A twofer. It’s comforting to read your post about BOG. Can you write about animals or what? You’re my Farley Mowat for the moment. I bet you never thought you’d hear that.

PS I’ve only just recently encountered the writing of Henry Beston. You may know of him.

“For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

Jack
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Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Nice for you to get a snoot of fresh Atlantic sea air and give the lungs a break from the pollution.

I can see why his book got you interested in whales. It’s his only one I haven’t read. But I remember the story and how disgusted I was by the wanton cruelty.

You have a few things in common with Farley. He too was banned from the US, tho for different reasons. It happened just as he was about to begin a 10-day U.S. promotional tour for his book, ”Sea of Slaughter.” It’s kinda funny, afterwards he said he’d visit the US if ‘only when and if they send Air Force One to Pearson International Airport with a letter of apology.” ”The letter doesnt have to be from the President,'' he said. ''Id settle for the vice president.”

Lars
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Lars
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

The quote’s from Henry Beston’s <i>The Outermost House</i>, which was published nearly a hundred years ago. Worth a read.

Jack
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Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Yeah he’s not ok. I was petting him last night and could feel the contours of his sternum. I got him a steroid shot to make him feel better but he refuses to eat. Thankfully he’s still drinking water. I guess I’m on a death watch and not sleeping so well. Since COVID I’ve lost two parents and two dogs. Now it’s the cats turn. I never intended to get a cat. But one day 16 years ago a cat followed me into a Walgreens drugstore….anyhow all I can say is death sure is humbling.

I realize in retrospect I was tone-death bringing up Farley’s history in a eulogy post. Sorry about that. In my mind I was thinking you were in good company. But there is a time and place for everything. Hope you are feeling a little better.

Fatman
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Fatman
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

I assume you’ve tried Mirtazapine? Our cat lived with CKD for years and never got to the bone rack stage, thanks to that stuff. It worked really well for him for a long time.

Fatman
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Fatman
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Odd, because in my (admittedly limited) experience, ‘Murican vets prescribe Mirtazapine eagerly. Hope it helps. I’m definitely a fan of it.

Fatman
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Fatman
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

There’s also an ointment version (Mirataz?) that you apply to the inner fold of the ear. So no pill stuffing. If your cat responds to the drug, might be worth exploring.

Jack
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Jack
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Since we’re talking about pets, I’ve got a song I’d like to dedicate to George, Louis’ partner in crime.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SdklGYm7Tjo

Gideon
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Gideon
2 months ago

Condolences to you and your family for the loss of the fiery furball. It has been the best part of a decade since I checked your site – so was not prepared for a tragedy of this magnitude. You have touchingly repurposed the outcome, into a celebration of all that is best in us and the things we love. Now I return to the outer dark.

Jan S
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2 months ago

After watching a neighbor down in the Florida Keys drag out the life of her little dog, I swore I’d never do that to any animal companion I had. I’ve kept that oath. Animals live in the now, as far as I can tell. If I can’t predict their future, then prolonging their already long life when they’ve experienced demonstrably traumatic episodes is unacceptable to me. I went thru that with our Lhasa Apso: 5 epileptic-like seizures in less than a day, and he got up and walked off from all of them. The vet could make no assurances the seizures would stop. So we sat with him while the drugs were administered and said our tearful goodbyes. My gut told me I made the right decision. Every time since then, it’s felt the same. Heart-wrenching, but right. You already know this, but I’ll say it anyway: It’ll be okay. 🙂

LostHisMarbles
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LostHisMarbles
2 months ago

Inexcusable tardiness.
Waiting for July’s blog post mister, chop chop.
(back to watching my entire country burn to cinders; gotta make room for them wind turbines. So green!)

ABR
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ABR
2 months ago

I will NEVER forget the moment when, having brought my cat Sputnik whom I’d had and lived together with for his entire life from kittenhood – through a marriage and a cross-country move and a divorce, six residences, eleven years and so much bliss and pain, loving, loving, loving me the entire time – but whom I’d recently left with a neighbor for six months while I lived abroad with a new soulmate, and returned to find him with a massively swollen jaw – brought him in to the vet, where, they having informed me it was bone cancer and the best option was to let him go and send him away, that now he lay flat on the table and stared into my eyes, frightened of all that surrounded but utterly trusting in me until the end – the very very end – when now, all muscles relaxing, he bowed his head down and closed them.

I was neither desiring nor worthy to hold the power of life and death over this pure-hearted creature, and taking that responsibility was the most painful thing I’ve ever done.

Thank you for sharing.

Jeff
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Jeff
1 month ago

My sincere condolences, Peter.

NotParticipating
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NotParticipating
Guest
NotParticipating
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Achievement unlocked. Nice.

Trottelreiner
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Trottelreiner
1 month ago

Actually,bóg is also the Polish word for god; it derives from a PIE term concerning allotment, the etymology derives something like “provider of wealth”. From your description, it seems somewhat fitting.
Which is just my awkward try at declaring my condolences.
In other news, guess I’ll be brief because this one hits somewhat close to home, my mother died about 7 weeks ago from a heart attack, the last few weeks have been somewhat strange. Things are somewhat back to normal, for the usual strange values of normal (on some days I felt like I finally did acid, my brother and his girlfriend started LARPing terminal speed addicts or characters in a late PKD novel. OK, might just be my perception.).

And in still other news, I’m cleaning up my parents’ cellar and just broke a fluorescent lamp; not easy to air a cellar, dosage might be a few milligrams of mercury. Come to think about it, the stuff is not THAT bioactive, just think what LSD would do at this dosage; or fentanyl. Not to speak about botox.

It’s still a few orders of magnitude higher than anything I’d get from an old jab with thiomersal, yes, the don’t use it anymore.

I have the strange urge to contact an old acquaintance of mine who jumped onto the anti-vaxx band wagon during the early days of COVID-19…

Whatever, glory to BOG.

Last edited 1 month ago by Peter Watts
Trottelreiner
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Trottelreiner
1 month ago
Reply to  Trottelreiner

Err, sorry, I somewhat borked the links. And when I tried to edit them, the script told me I was doing it too fast, and after I left it while cleaning up the mercury mess, I couldn’t edit it any more. Err, sorry, things are somewhat in slo-mo at this stage. At least when I’m not switching to hyperactive mode…

Jason Ahmed
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Jason Ahmed
1 month ago

Very sad, touching, and beautifully written entry. Made me feel emotional, while at work, reading this.

Jeff
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Jeff
1 month ago

Thank you for sharing the legend of BOG and letting us celebrate and grieve with you.

My (symmetric) rescue Light Orange Guy is laying here forcing my to type askew. Outsized love bound in fur.

Family, friends, cats. Then food, shelter, etc.

Rifters’ crawl: come because you love the novels, stay (and return and return) because you love the man (well, what we see from the touchingly articulate prose of his heart).

Your writing is like a Character User Interface cat. It gives great joy and is worthy of much love. Thank you. Scritch, scritch, scritch.

LostHisMarbles
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LostHisMarbles
1 month ago

I got to the bottom of this, Peter’s joined a writer’s union. Now takes one supervisor, one laptop handler (certified), one barrista (covid boosters ++) and one WiFi communications specialist (contactless!) before he’s allowed to write. Drafts first sent to union HQ for suppressing spellchecking. In tripPY of course.
But if you’re on paid vacation in some tropical island pretending to study amoebas, hey, you have a good one is all i should have written i guess.. 🙂

LostHisMarbles
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LostHisMarbles
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Watts

Oh, i’m truly sorry to hear.. woulda dialed back on the horrible humour had i known; my sympathies and apologies.
P.S. everytime this happens, i say never again, too much sadness; and always find me with another one. Says something i guess.
P.P.S. I had a good one about butt-naked supervisors lathered in miracle whip(tm) except a strike occurs and things get really weird, but i’ll spare us all.

Chris K.
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Chris K.
1 month ago

Was the right thing to do. Condolences. Sorry I only just saw this now. Usually pick up there’s movement here from Fluffer-Bunny, aka Facebook.