I carried Bob, curled up in a soft blanket, to the treatment room still hearing him say, “No, no…I want to go home!” I fought the tears. The room was busy with technicians working on other animals and assisting other doctors. My technician Laura came to help me. I looked at her to see if she could hear Bob, but her face showed no signs. She looked sad as she saw my tears, “Dr. Dressen, let me help you.” I quietly told Bob how truly sorry I was as I held him, helping his spirit to pass. The room became silent, yet activity was all around me, as Bob’s voice faded away.

That night I cried and cried. My heart was heavy with sadness, guilt and frustration. I prayed for some sort of understanding. I got an answer! “You need to be an Animal Advocate. To be a true advocate, you need to follow your heart. The education you received in Veterinary School prepared you to be a Doctor, but now you need to open your heart, listen and learn from the patients you treat; the animals.”

I prayed again, asking Bob to forgive me for not following “His” wishes. I declared that I would step outside my school “box”. I will learn to share with my clients what I feel the patient needs. It is important to make a diagnosis, but treatments needed to include this new parameter.

In the morning I called Bob’s Companion to visit. He told me Bob and Bob’s couch were part of the purchase when he bought his home. The previous owners knew Bob loved living there and loved his couch. They felt he didn’t want to leave so arranged for both to stay.

Bob and his new companion sat together on the couch to watch TV and eat together. Therefore, Bob truly did want to go home to HIS couch! I was forever changed and I believe Bob gave me his experience as a gift to share with others. Animals do have thoughts and wishes.

“How do animals feel about what we want to do to them?” I told Bob his passing would not go in vain. I thanked him for sharing this experience with me to educate me about advocating for animals. I vowed that if I ever hear an animal asking me for special wishes, I will make my first priority to convey their message and advocate for them.

In loving memory of Bob the couch cat!