Saying Goodbye to Dave

As I was walking along the main drag in Monterey, California I spotted a beautiful dress thru the open door of a women’s clothing shop. It said, “Try me on.” So I did. When I walked out of the dressing room, the sales-woman said, “That dress was made for you.”

“I know!” I replied back with a smile. 

I was going tango dancing that evening in Santa Cruz and it was a perfect opportunity to wear it.

Mom and I set up camp a few hours later in the mountains above town, and out of cell range. I showered and got dressed, feeling excited for the night of dancing.

As we drove into Santa Cruz, I turned on my phone to get directions to the dance venue. There was a text waiting for me from the woman caring for my cat Dave. 

Dave’s had kidney disease for the last year, but had been still going strong when I left and was doing well so far 7 days into this 10 day trip along the California Coast with my Mom. 

I had bought flight insurance just in case he started to go down and I wanted/needed to come back early, but was feeling confident at this point he’d still be going strong when I got back in 3 days.

The text read, “Dave isn’t doing well. Call me.”

My stomach got that sick feeling as if I’d just been punched in the gut.

When I called, she said with great care in her voice, “Angela, he’s not doing well. As I was giving him his shot of saline, he vomited up all of his dinner and collapsed in my lap, and then wobbled over to the carpet and didn’t move.”

Another stomach punch.

I took a breath and reasoned with myself that maybe she was over-reacting. He’ll be o.k. – at least until I get home. I’ll call some other people and get a rational explanation for this. A friend who’s a nurse recommended he go to the emergency vet. That felt like a good plan.

I called Rocky (the woman who was taking care of him) and told him to take him in. It was 10pm on Sat. Sept. 27. The vet said it would take about an hour to draw his blood and get a better idea of what was going on. They said sometimes cats at this stage get an IV and then perk up for days or weeks more, so that’s what I set my sights on – there wasn’t another option in my heart at that point.

I decided to do a few dances at the tango venue to pass the time and “stay on the bright side” of things while my mom slept in the van. The vet called at 11pm – Dr. Clark. He told me to call him Sean. Through words of compassion he said, “Dave is almost comatose. I don’t expect him to live through tomorrow. We can give him some fluids, antibiotics….”

He said more but I don’t remember what it was – my mind replaying those words “comatose” and “don’t expect him.”

It couldn’t be. I’ve been telling Dave for months that I’m going to be with him when he goes. I’ve imagined him in my arms as he takes his last breath, soothing him in his last moments in his own home.

That wasn’t the reality that was playing out. I asked to speak with Rocky. She said, “What would you like me to do?” I couldn’t say anything, instead great sobs overcame me. The kind where you’re not sure there will be another breath coming. I asked her if I could call her back and hung up. 

This wasn’t happening. All I could hear in my mind and heart was nonononononononono NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The sobbing. The kind of sobbing that only happens when incredible, great pain is experienced. Where the heart feels it’s being ripped in two and it will never end.

There was a woman sitting nearby in the foyer of the tango venue where I was sitting and sobbing. She came over and held me, no questions asked. I’d never met her before, but an angel that was there for me. Time was irreverent. I knew it was time for him to go, but I couldn’t stop crying to make the call to have it done. 

Another person came over to hold me too – Charlie. We had danced earlier together. Another angel.

I realized over an hour went by and it was time. Debbie, one of the angels, stayed with me while I made the call. I said to Dr. Clark (Sean), “Please end his suffering. I want Rocky to hold him in her lap while you give the shot.” He complied and then asked, “Would you like us to cremate him or freeze him for burial?” I couldn’t think that far ahead. Neither felt right. I wasn’t ready to make that decision.

I got back on the phone with Rocky and I told her my request to have her hold him while he passed and she said gingerly, “You bet honey. I would be happy to. I can also bury him if you’d like.” 

Oh God, I didn’t want to make this decision right now, but I knew I had to. Having her bury him felt like the best of 3 bad options. I knew I wanted him resting in the backyard next to my dog Jake, and having him frozen felt horrible, so I accepted her offer.

I then said thru tears, “Can you please put the phone up to his ear?” She said, “Sure hun.”

I spoke in that special Dave cat voice I use with him that he knows and had often responded to with a “mew” or glance in my direction, “Hi sweet D. I love you. You can go in peace now. I love you.” Then there was silence.

Rocky said, “I think he stopped breathing…. yes, he’s gone. You gave him permission to go.” It was 12:30am.

Oh God, the sobs started again. She said, “I’m so sorry dear.” Through tears I told Rocky where to bury him and what to wrap around him. She was an angel for both him and me.

Life didn’t go as I planned it. I cursed God and I cursed myself. Why wasn’t I there? Why did he have to go now? He wasn’t suppose to go this fast – why, why why?

3 days later, coming home to an empty house, the punch in the stomach happened again. His food and water bowl cleaned up and put away, his presence no longer. Emptiness in the most painful way.

Sometimes it’s believed that losing a cat isn’t as painful as a dog as a person, but it doesn’t matter the being shape or form. It’s dependent on the love that you give and how much you open your heart to that being.

Dave has been my constant companion since I’ve lived in Bozeman the last 12 years. When I got him from a family as an adult, he hid under the bed for the first 2 weeks. I asked a friend of mine what to do and she said, “Love him as much as you can.” And that was the start of opening my heart. Dave did that for me.

He greeted me at the door every time I walked into the house, and every morning when I woke up, he was there at the side of my bed or on my chest with a purr and excitement for me to get up – right up until I left for this last trip. 

Dave was my comfort when my relationship ended, bearing much of my tears, and the one I danced with when I was really happy about something.

Dave was the one I talked to at home about what to wear to the dance, or what I was going to eat for dinner. He has been ever present for me.

This is the pain I feel. 

Grief lays on the heart like a heavy blanket filled with memories and loss, with joy and love and letting go. It comes in waves, while hanging on in the background as life goes on.

I sometimes reach for the back door wondering where he is, until I remember he’s not going to come in tonight, or tomorrow night, or the next night. Grief has many forms. Thanks to all those who’ve sent support and continue to do so. Your love gives me comfort and eases my pain.

I send love to anyone who’s loved and lost a pet or person that is in their heart. Use the comment section below to share their name and anything you’d like to say as a place to honor and remember the love within your heart and those you miss.

Categories: Heart Centered Living

About the Author: Angela Patnode

My passion, my calling, is for you to be totally you. Through private coaching, in-depth retreats, and online group coaching programs, I help you tap into your intuition and clarify your desires and vision, I guide you to take active steps toward making your desires a reality.

19 comments to “Saying Goodbye to Dave

  1. Megan

    I’m so sorry for your loss Angela, and that things didn’t unfold as you’d planned. Dave and you had 12 years of loving each other. What a wonderful and touching story. Sending you warmth and wishes for comfort and peace while you’re missing his presence so strongly right now.

  2. Saskia

    We lost our beloved cat Django a few years ago. He was the most incredible spirit and an absolute guardian angel to our daughter, who was 3 at the time. He was regal, kind of a King, and the sweetest, most grounded cat I have ever known. He was watching over another cat, at the Humane Society and of course we had to bring both of them home !

    I found him one morning, stiff and covered in ice, on the road after being hit by a car. They were always speeding along that road. Bastards. They probably didn’t even realize they had hit something. I screamed from the core of my heart “NO, NO, NO!” as I ran over to pick him up. I knew it was him, even from our front door. As I picked him up I just wanted to hold him close. I cried a solid two days, and I didn’t think I would survive the pain. It just wouldn’t go away. His passing left a hole in all of our hearts and our tears fell in his grave, outside our living room window, where the sun always shone, and he liked to stay warm. We still miss him and talk about how beautiful he was.

  3. Eric Bair

    I am so sorry for your loss. The sadness in your what you wrote has touched me. Please have mercy on yourself and his spirit as you remember him with love and kindness. Omnipotence was never an option, nor should it be. He knows you love him.
    In commiseration,

  4. Leslie

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Dave is at peace and playing at the Rainbow Bridge with the rest of our furry loved ones. He is with my cat Esther and my dog Thunder. They are having a grand time!

  5. Robbir

    The pain we feel is equal to the love we feel. Cats and dogs love us without question. They remind us of how simple life can be. Just feed me and love me. I’ve lost 3 animals in the last three years and each time my heart breaks so much. My mind tells me they should live longer. The truth is they lived their life and I was lucky to have been loved by them. I’m holding your pain in my heart. Love Robbie

  6. Jo Ann Spaulding

    Wow, I know words can not explain or really help at this time, but the Love you shared with Dave was priceless. And yes when they leave Us they take a piece of our hearts with them. Life does go on and we have to go on. Just try to remember all the wonderful years you shared with him. It is only change, bless You. And so it is.
    Pease & Love, Jo Ann

  7. Kristin

    Oh Angela,

    My heart aches. I didn’t know “Sweet D” but know what it is like to loose a loved one in the furry friend family. Grieve and take care of yourself. He is with you forever. Lucky him! Know that.
    All my best,

  8. nikki h.

    I’m sharing your tears Angela, thank you for your openness. One of my favorite quotes may, in time, help to heal your heart: “Where love once was, love remains”
    Dave may be gone from this plane, but he is ALWAYS present, his energy and love will always remain for you to call on whenever you need him. I love you dear friend!

  9. Deb

    I am holding you and Dave in my heart. Go visit him and love him in your meditation time. He will be with you in a different way now, but aways there. With love, Deb

  10. Tina Sawchek


    I know it is always OUR hope that we will be there for our beloved pets when they pass, however I have found many times our pets choose to pass on their own out of our presence. I think their angel souls do not desire us to go through that pain of passing. It is an instinctual thing really. Dave went in is own instinctual way and that is as it should be. Hold dear all of those memorable times. As you say he was your special guy for your time in Bozeman, now as you move on you will find a new soul to love in your new place. My sympathies to you..

  11. Karen

    Oh, Angela! My thoughts and my heart are with you at this time of sorrow. We have lost three of our little critters–Muffin, Tommy, and Camilla–and were broken hearted each time. We now have two more dogs–Petey and Jenny. We are certainly gluttons for punishment, but we subscribe to the old saying, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Love is hard, but not loving is harder.

    Thinking of you, Karen.

  12. Carolyn

    Oh Angela,

    So sorry that you had to come home to your house without Dave and so glad that you had each other to love for so long.

    May you find some peace.

  13. Chrysti

    Just wait until Dave visits you in a dream or in many dreams! Several of my animals, including my horses, have come to me after they’ve passed on and brought me great comfort. Godspeed to Dave!
    Love, Chrysti

  14. Patrice

    Love to you Angela! The good thing about love is that it knows no boundaries, not even that between heaven and earth. Dave’s love for you is so strong that all of us can feel it.
    Love, Patrice

  15. mary jo bennett

    Dear Angela,

    Hold fast to the dharma and embrace yourself in an endless stream of compassion. May you see your sorrow through the soft eyes of equanimity.

    Mary Jo

  16. Robin

    Dearest Angela,

    What a deep loss Dave’s passing is for you. I can feel your sorrow having lost our dog Kaley a little over a year ago. Remember all the unconditional love Dave gave you, the love you gave back, and how it sustained you in tough times. Remember him as a gift and let gratitude for his soft, furry, lovable life be your guide. You are in my heart and thoughts.

  17. Gail Wells

    Hi Angela,
    I have thought of you often and read your messages and just “happened” to come across your story of your experience with Dave and his recent death tonight before retiring. No words can describe the pain one feels when you lose a beloved animal friend, whether to death or to having to be separated (for whatever reason) and I just cried and cried when I read how your story unfolded and what you had to go through via long distance. Thank God for telephones/cellphones, for gentle, loving friends and for those compassionate vets who come to our rescue in disguise! Love comes to you via a whisper and a breeze blowing through your hair on a brisk morning. May you know how you have been blessed by having such a one as Dave in your life for all these years, and such happy, happy memories. Blessings abundant to you and yours. Lovingly, Gail

  18. Angela Patnode

    Thank you all for the kind a loving words you have left. Each of you touches my heart. I know you know the pain I express. With each passing day, I feel a little lighter. Acceptance begins to unfold with the grace of love. The sky is bluer, the soil richer for having loved so much. With love, Angela

  19. Leslie


    I am thinking of you. Your story touched me so deeply. Thank you for having the courage to share your heart and your journey with us. Sending you lots of love and prayers. Leslie

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