I had to bury my first pet today.
My family had pets growing up, but he was mine.
With each shovel full of dirt, the tears came with it.
My wife and I picked a spot next to a tree. She found a large stone to mark his final resting place.
It was fitting, because his name was Stone.
He was a great pet. I say pet, because he was a cat, but acted more like a dog.
I was given Stone by a friend back in college, who insisted I take him. He was a large gray, believed to be Russian Blue, that wasn't fit for his home in New York City.
Russian Blues are known for their loyalty and are quite independent.
He would follow me wherever I went. He would sit by a fire or roll onto his back on the patio as we ate dinner.
When I was living in an apartment in downtown Plattsburgh he followed me several blocks when I went to visit a friend close by. I literally had to grab him and walk him back home.
For the past 12 or so years, he would live in nine different apartments and finally our house. He was certainly a constant no matter what.
He put up with dogs, rowdy college roommates and house guests and eventually another cat named, Gus.
Our morning started out like any other, with him coming up to the bedroom to say hello as my wife, who feeds him and our other cat, gets ready in the morning.
He would always lick my hand and demand a petting no matter if I was trying to get 15 more minutes of sleep or going to sleep for the night.
Stone would jump down and follow my wife downstairs knowing food would be coming along shortly.
He was eating like normal and by the time my wife went back to the kitchen she found him collapsed on the floor.
With the scream up the stairs I could tell something was not right and immediately ran down to the tragedy unfolding.
Some breathes into his nose, and chest compressions were to no avail, as his lifeless body laid in the center of the kitchen.
My wife was still in shock, as was I, as he was fine just moments earlier. We replayed what happened and thought maybe the food, but it was the same can of food from the night before.
There was only a couple bites of food gone, but he always came back to finish it later.
Stone was a great hunter and would keep the mice and chipmunks away from the house bringing back his trophies for us to see.
The birds in the backyard will live more peacefully as they screeched when he came around. He took down a couple of those as well.
I could never eat chicken wings around him.
He would come up and steal them right off your plate.
For the unsuspecting they were easy targets for him.
I knew that would have been a perfect last meal for him if given the chance.
The worst part about it is, I was not able to say goodbye.