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I adopted my cat, Ashley – my spirited yet soothing, and always loving, little girl – from the Humane Society in Seattle. Over the course of the next 13 years, she was a constant part of my life. Ashley accompanied me from Seattle to New York to Wisconsin and shared half a dozen apartments/houses with me; everytime, she was a big part of what defined “home” for me. We shared many cups of coffee, good books, birdwatching sessions, naps, and lots of lap time.

I watched her go from a spry 4-year old who would climb everything in sight and try to perch on the tops of doors to a stately old lady who wanted nothing more than some sunshine and silence.

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Following a slow decline and some treatable issues, Ashley had a stroke and lost the use of her back legs. The emergency vet saw plenty of us over the next week as I struggled with whether she could recover, had any other underlying issues, or might still have some good days ahead of her. There was some initial promise, but it quickly became apparent that her quality of life wasn’t going to recover enough to justify the stress all the intervention would cause her.

Dr. Katie Hilst was a saviour when Ashley stopped eating and drinking at the start of the weekend. She was comforting and accommodating on the phone, and came out to our home on extremely short notice. We were able to see Ashley off while she was still somewhat comfortable, on my lap in our backyard with the sun shining and birds chirping. Dr. Katie put not only Ashley at peace, but my fiancee and me, as well.

I miss Ashley dearly, but she has left me with a wealth of memories; she will be nestled somewhere in my heart for the rest of my life.

From:  James (& Liz)