elvis van dolson
elvis, as much as it hurt all of us, we had to put you to sleep yesterday. your departure hit dad the hardest, as he was the one who tamed you when you wandered to our house in maryland one night eighteen years ago. you wouldn’t go anywhere near him, but huddled under one of our cars until he went inside, leaving a plate of food for you to devour.
night-after-night, dad did this, watching from the window. then, one night, you let him sit on the step outside as you ate. you were still skittish, but you were warming up to him. eventually, you let him bring you inside, and you were with us ever since.
you, whom dad nicknamed “the captain” were a big cat. i could never really tell if it was your incredibly fluffy coat of fur or if you just liked to eat! frisky and sally were wary of letting you into the cat clique, but they eventually opened up as much as cats do. you became a part of our family.
through the years, we’ve added even more cats to the family, but you firmly held your spot as “dad’s cat”. you didn’t talk often, but when you did it was a very deep sound. you looked like a lion with your thick fur. my favorite picture of you wearing a tiny toy hat on your fluffy head is still on mom and dad’s fridge. it always makes me smile.
but, as the years went by, time took its toll on you, as it does to every animal and person. you began to lose weight, but so did frisky, and when he received a clean bill of health from the veterinarian, we thought you were fine too. however, you continued to deteriorate to the point where you could no longer eat. as much as mom and dad loved you, they knew you were suffering, and they couldn’t let that happen.
and so, on february 14, dad, randy and ryan took you to the vet for the last time where they said their final goodbye to you. the night before, dad sat with you and held you, hoping you would slip away peacefully in your sleep, knowing it would be easier emotionally on everyone.
you may be gone now, but we’ll always remember you, and you will always live in our hearts. and, i’m sure your brothers and sisters are missing you as well. we never really knew how old you were, but figured you were several years old when you found us, putting you around 20 or 21. you had a long, good life. i was sad yesterday, sad at the thought of us losing you and the fact that i wasnâ€™t able to see you one last time. we love you, elvis.