Indulge me dear readers. On a wall at the house is a B.Sc. from 1929, University of Toronto, for someone called Joseph Arthur Lonley that I had collected back in the 80s from a garage sale. The importance of this will become clearer.
Come the mid-90s we adopted two animals from the Humane Society. One, a collie-hound cross was known as Rusty by the Humane Society. The other was a brown tabby that was picked up as a stray. All they could tell us was that he was maybe as old as four, had a split in one ear, was now neutered and had obviously been on the street for a while, as he was quite thin.
On the drive home from the Humane Society, Rusty decided to change his name, by vomiting, vibrantly and gloriously all over the interior of the car as well as us. Consequently, his name became Ralph in the 30 minute drive home. The cat however, provided no clues; we were not sure what to name him, until we noticed his dignified demeanour. Then we remembered the B.Sc. on the wall, so in keeping with his gentlemanly aspect, he became Joseph Arthur Lonley. He seemed to appreciate being named after someone with an important degree circa 1929.
Over the years he shared many moments of joy and love with both of us. He was leash-trained by Marylou’s mom Eleanor, at the cottage at Victoria Beach and liked nothing better than to go for a walk with Ralph to the park, taking the air, enjoying his surroundings. Like all cats, he could sit in a window in the sun for hours, staring off into middle-distance, mentally calculating pi to thousands of decimal places. But unlike most cats he would come when called and adored sitting on your lap for hours.
One story of Joseph will suffice. Marylou was home sick from work and decided to watch the movie “Fargo” on the (at the time) VCR. Joey hopped up on her lap and stared intently at the screen for the whole 98 minutes. When the credits came up at the end, he hopped off and went to do whatever cats do, having fulfilled his task of keeping Mom company and enjoying the antics of Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy and Frances McDormand. He didn’t like Hitchcock but did like the HBO series “Band of Brothers”.
He had stopped eating and drinking, his body running down with nothing more than old age. He hadn’t the strength to keep his head up and wouldn’t or couldn’t cry out any more, his dignity starting to desert him, being carried to the litter box. This morning it was his time, as we made the compassionate decision, the right decision to take him to the vet one last time.
As is our tradition, we read Psalm 23 over him as the vet injected him with the sedative, then the final shot. He died peacefully in Marylou’s arms this morning. Still dignified, still loving, still loved.
If you have a moment over the next couple of days, would you mind putting in a word with your particular deity for the spirit of Joseph Arthur Lonley. The World’s Most Fabulous Cat.