happy birthday to my sisters kendall and tracey, shown here holding their little brother dante

my best friend dante died today. i did everything i could to try to save him. they put him under anesthesia this morning to attempt one last thing, but his body had gotten so frail from all the illnesses he was battling that if they had woken him, it was only a matter of hours before he would have suffocated from the fluids that had pooled around his weak heart. the pancreatitis he had developed after his surgery had left him extremely ill. in the last 24 hours he had become lethargic and listless and couldn’t even lift his head anymore.

so this morning the doctor took me into the operating room where dante was still asleep on the table and left me alone with him. he was lying on his side beneath a thick wool blanket to keep him warm during the surgery. i put my hand under the blanket and pet his fur. he was still warm and breathing gently. i brushed him and hugged him and kissed his head and told him i loved him. i had this childish thought that maybe he would hear my voice and wake up. i left just before they gave him the shot that would stop his heart. i wanted my last memory of him to be him resting on the table and still breathing.

i have been crying all day and i kind of wish i were dead. i would have gladly suffered through all his pain for myself if i could have. now i’m alone without dante and i have no idea what to do or what i am anymore with him gone. i can’t sleep and my mind keeps torturing with me. at least when he was in the hospital i had some hope. but now it’s just over with and i’ll never see him again for the rest of my life.

many people have written me very sweet messages in the last week. i will reply to all of them. i just need a few days to shake this feeling of wanting to jump in front of a train. thank you for all the donations and kind words. not that i needed a reminder of this, but it really is clear to me that dante was loved by many people.

i wish more than anything that i could hold him and be with him for one more night. but all i can do is wrap myself in his favorite blanket and hope that i can get a few hours of reprieve from the worst day of my entire life.

I have been so exhausted and stressed out that I haven’t had time to write about what’s going on with Dante here, but I wrote a pretty long thing about it on his fundraising page. Basically Dante had to have surgery to remove a tumor near his bladder. The surgeons had to remove 20% of his bladder in the process, which meant they then had to sew that portion of his bladder back together. They told me that a potential complication post-surgery, meaning the worst thing that could happen, is that the sutures could come loose, and the contents of his bladder would then flood into his abdomen. So of course this is exactly what happened.

A day after his surgery, it would clear that Dante was very ill. I took him to my vet here in Berlin as soon as they opened that morning and they treated it like an emergency. It was then I realized how serious the situation was. In other words, he was on the brink of dying from sepsis, hyperglycemia, and anemia. His body was in shock and they had to rush to revive him as quickly as possible. My vet told me I needed to get to an emergency animal hospital as quickly as possible to drain the toxic contents from his abdomen and have them perform a second surgery to fix the sutures on his bladder or else he would die.

I’ll write about the rest some other time when I’m not running on four hours of sleep spaced over five hateful days, but they did manage to save Dante even though his prognosis was grim as hell. He received the second surgery on Saturday morning and, as a great shock to me, he had no complications whatsoever. I waited in the lobby of the hospital until they came out and told me this. I had sat there all morning feeling like I wanted to throw myself off a cliff if he didn’t survive the anesthesia, which was a very real possibility. Dante was able to tolerate it because a vet tech from my regular vet had brought her two cats in the previous day to donate blood to Dante so he could receive two transfusions. I know now he would not have made it without these transfusions. This girl was essentially a total stranger to me and she saved his life. Every time I think about this I start tearing up. I can’t believe how kind and selfless she was. And having a cat donate blood is a whole time-consuming procedure . . . it’s not like they just collect a couple of vials and call it a day. They have to sedate the cat and shave their neck a little and draw blood directly from their jugular vein. And a total stranger did this for me so that Dante had a chance of surviving. I mean . . . !

Anyway: I’ve visited him in the hospital every day. The doctors said it’s good for him like in a mental health sense because otherwise he’s pretty miserable in the ICU, where they’ve got him hooked up to all these machines and he has to wear these pajamas and have a cone on his head. So whenever I come in, they take me to a room and let me stay with him for a little while. He crawls onto my shoulder and clings to my back and purrs. It’s always such a bummer to leave him, but I think we have conditioned him to expect to see me every day. The hospital is all the way down in Zehlendorf, which is like a forty-five minute commute each way, but I don’t mind. It’s real nice down there, and anyway I wanna see my friend.

Thank you so much for all the nice messages I’ve gotten, and for all the donations I’ve received to help pay for Dante’s astronomical hospital bills. I can’t believe it. You know?? Here are some pictures I took yesterday. And now I’m going to sleep~