Penelope's Story

Penelope, an orange striped cat, looking at the camera.My sweet little Penelope Lunch is my best friend. She's been with me almost my entire adult life and has had an enormous impact on not only my well-being, but my general outlook. You see, Penelope Lunch loves being a cat and has a soft spot for whomever she meets. Seeing her enjoy each moment to its fullest and assume the best intentions of everyone has inspired me to maintain the same perspective. She's tough, and has demonstrated this through her fight recently for health and, really, for her life. She didn't let us know something was wrong with her until it had gotten really bad because that's how she operates. Even at her worst she was still the sweetest most positive little thing I've ever seen. Her vet referred us to UMN VMC when Penelope Lunch's blood work indicated she was in renal failure. My heart was so broken for her. How did I not realize sooner? I'm so, so sorry, little Lo.

As soon as we walked through the doors we were greeted by one person after another who operated in a way as to let us know everything was under control. We trusted, and we hoped. We were informed every step of the way, encouraged to be hopeful, and assured that when we took her home, we would be going with enough knowledge to be able to provide her the after and ongoing care that would be critical in preserving her life as long as reasonably possible. Penelope Lunch fought her way through her first night, then on to her second, improving all the way. After her third night, something surprising happened-- her blood tests detected she took several steps back. Penelope isn't even 13 yet; she needs more time to enjoy life. Even with her steps backward, her behavior promoted some sense of hope she'd get a few more happy days to be with her family. 

We went to visit her as much as we were able to. We were greeted excitedly by the staff, who were so obviously taking excellent care our little P. Everyone we spoke with was patient, informative and reassuring, making sure we understood fully what had happened and what to expect next-- breaking down more complicated concepts into language we could apply to our understanding of what was going on. They also kept us well-informed of the financial piece of this, which was appreciated. Our bill was reasonable and expected, and all worth it to give Penelope Lunch even just a few more days to enjoy being a cat. 

And it wasn't just about being informed and knowing what to expect. It was about the approach and personalities of the folks who helped us out. I knew they were taking care of Penelope. I could see that in the way they handled her, hear it in the way they spoke of her. Penelope also showed me how great they were to her, by excitedly walking up to them when they were around to say thank you.
Coming home has been a terrifying experience. As much as we love having her home, I'm scared I will fail her again. But with the support of the conversation we had with her vet yesterday upon discharge and the conversation I've had with the student this morning, we feel equipped and informed as much as could be expected to take on the task of providing her with home care. They have been wildly encouraging and supportive, despite my absolute panic and emotional jabbering. I thank them for their patience with me as I come to terms with the fact that she's going to have to say goodbye eventually: could be months, could be days. Not knowing is the most difficult part. 
Penelope, an orange striped cat, looking out a window.
Thank you, UMN VMC. You gave Penelope at least a few more happy days. You gave the world more time with the most incredible animal I've ever met. You gave Penelope Lunch more time to do what she loves: being a cat. I owe you absolutely everything I have for giving us more time to say goodbye.

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