The Story of Romeo
My name is Romeo and I am the brother of Juliette. You heard it before and you will hear it again and again. Yes, we were abandoned and left alone on the street like so many other cats and dogs. Me and my sister Juliette were still small kittens and did not know what to do. We never looked for food or water and there was no mother to take care of us. The best solution was to hide behind a garbage can or crawl into a dark hole to avoid whatever came along the street. We were so afraid and especially my sister suffered very hard since she is a rather anxious and delicate creature who always stays close to me. No, I am not such a strong guy either and I have to admit that I was very afraid too. I could not explain to Juliette what happened to us and where our mother was. Neither could I tell her what our future will bring and how we will survive this ordeal.
In the night when she snuggled up to me I told her about a place where cats are loved and where we can find lots of fresh food and water. I told her about a place with many chances to climb and scratch and the chance to walk in open daylight without being afraid to get hit or killed. A place with warm and cozy pillows to sleep in and even people to care for us. My sister always is listening to me because she trusts me but I was less than sure that such a place can ever exist. But Juliette was able to sleep close to me and she had a chance to forget the last day. Every morning she would ask me if we go to this place and how long it would take and it broke my heart to tell her always another lie.
Then one day someone picked us up and put us in a cage. Not long after that we left for another place and another cage. How can you explain such a thing to your little sister who is dreaming of a place you promised her. After some time we found ourselves in an animal hospital where we were spayed and then we returned to our cage. Juliette was more in need for love and affection than before and I started to pray to the big cat to help us only this once. What can I tell you: it worked. We now stay here with Khlongdogs and we are part of the growing cat society. Juliette still sleeps close to me and we are still inseparable but we also made new friends and play with others during the day.
She told me that she never believed that the place actually existed and that she always thought that I only wanted to comfort her. But now she found all that I told her about and she had tears in her eyes. Oh Juliette, even I did not really believe that we will ever have a nice and cozy home, pillows to sleep on and people who stroke and caress us. We now can be proud and walk around in broad daylight without being afraid. Often I now sit on a shelf and watch my sister Juliette playing with Laifu or Lotus and I can see it in her eyes that she is happy. She is safe now and what more can a brother do for his sister. She still sleeps close to me and sometimes she will ask me if other cats can also find a place like this. Hmm, can they?
My beloved brother Romeo,
I know that you never talked much and neither did you like much attention for yourself but I assume that this is finally the right time to bring you into the spotlight – just this one time, Romeo, because you deserve it more than I can say. Yes, this is the right time to talk about you, my Romeo, the best brother any girl can ever dream of, because you left us just before Christmas on December 22, 2008. Oh yes, you left quietly, you did not complain, but now that you are gone we all can feel the pain and believe me, Romeo, it really hurts. But whatever the future might bring for all of us who still live here at Khlongdogs you are and always will be my true hero!
Do you remember the day we both came here? It was a wonderful day and we celebrated our rescue just the way cats do. We met with all the other cats and enjoyed our regular meals. What a day! I was so excited to meet Gomain, Laifu and all the others who really liked me a lot and I started to have a lot of fun playing with them. Now I feel guilty because I recognized too late that you never joined the others, you never really played with us but kept to yourself in your favorite spot. You were always quietly watching over me and only in the evenings I would come and join you as we always did. I would roll next to you and you would take me into your arms to make me feel warm and cozy. Yes, Romeo, you never stopped caring for me, never stopped loving me. How can I ever pay you back?
One day you started coughing. Just a little bit. The doctors gave you medicine and said that it will be over in some days. But it was not really over and then you had this occasional diarrhea which as well was treated. We all thought that you are back on track until the coughing came back and you started to lose weight. But all the following tests did not show any irregularities and so we all were just happy that you still had a good appetite and otherwise did not show any signs of illness. Weeks passed by and you appeared just to be a quiet but happy cat until the day when Thomas very early in the morning suddenly recognized that you were breathing hard. You immediately were admitted to the hospital, got oxygen and the most terrible of all diagnoses was given: FIP! Your chest was already so full of fluid that you almost suffocated. They aspirated most of this stuff and had to reanimate you since your body simply collapsed during this procedure. But you made it and came back almost in good shape.
But you were not doing well. The virus was working his way through the system and soon you had to be aspirated again and again and again. You now lived in a spacious cage right next to the bed of Thomas who took care of you day and night. This was truly a good idea because we all had the chance to see you and be around you every day and it soon became clear that this gave you more strength to go through what would be your last journey. Oh yes, things got worse and your lungs filled up more and more quickly, there were nightly rescue activities and then the pain really hit you. You stopped eating, your eyes looked sad and you started to stare at the wall. The virus had done his work and there was no more chance left for you.
I remember that morning very well. Thomas held you in his arms and there were tears and tears. He then carried you through the room, looked through the window with you and showed you the trees and birds. He brought you to every single one of us and although we do not speak German there was no doubt that he explained that our Romeo must now say good-bye. And we did. There was this strange moment when all the cats of Khlongdogs suddenly sat quietly around the floor and looked at you. This was our time to say farewell. And then you left to the hospital where they let you go to the other side. Your journey was finally over but even the dogs recognized your departure and surrounded Thomas after your funeral looking for minutes at him as if they wanted to express their grief. Yes, we lost a great soul, a great cat and a great friend! Tears cannot wipe away the pain and they certainly will not bring you back. But then again, my Romeo, none of us really leaves Khlongdogs because here we are together for all eternity because we are bound by love and friendship and you will certainly already have met with Nicky, Hope and of course our lovely Spirit. Your ashes are back in the room where you lived and we hear you when you jump around the shelves.
I know that you did not want to go. You where indeed a quiet cat but you loved your live just as it was and you enjoyed every moment. There was so much strength and passion in you and I envied you so much for this. Dear Romeo, we all don’t know why these things happen and why they happen to a cat like you. You had a truly hard life but you never gave up and maybe it is a small comfort for you that you did not die in the streets but as a proud cat in your own home and with so many friends around you. All the cats around here still talk about you. Romeo, we love you and maybe it is true that only the good die young.
Now you can walk freely and finally can breathe again. I am sure that you still sit somewhere watching over me until the day I will join you again. But maybe you find some time and if you do please come and visit our Thomas. You know that he is a good caretaker but he is just as bad in letting go. He really loves you very much and still thinks about you every day. I am sure it will help him if you forgive him that he had to let you go because he really has a hard time right now.
Dear Romeo, you are still one of us and the day will come when we all meet again in a better world. Please give our love also to Nicky, Hope and Spirit and remind them that Khlongdogs is forever.
Khlongdogs - Helping Dogs and Cats living in the Streets of Bangkok