By Elisa Black-Taylor
Homer turned 16 last month, and the decision to euthanize him for ongoing health reasons was carried out on August 21 when his owner the author, Gwen Cooper, decided it was time to let him go.
Not only did Homer have a bad liver, but he had intestinal problems as well.
Homer kept everyone on edge last fall and winter. His vet said he shouldn’t be alive. Homer proved the vet wrong. Homer shouldn’t have had enough energy to eat and play and jump. He did it all. It was a tough year, and Gwen was kind enough to share Homer’s declining health with those who loved the little guy.
Gwen wrote on Homer’s Facebook page shortly after his death.
“I wanted to let you know that we put Homer to sleep this past Wednesday night. He was so tired, and it was time. We were lucky enough to find a very gentle vet to come to us at home, and Homer passed peacefully, in his own bed, in my arms.”
Gwen wrote in her blog about Homer that his death is not to be mourned. She prefers to celebrate his life. A life lived to the full and “beyond what even I could ever have imagined for him“.
Gwen says that “dozens of other people…had the chance to adopt him [but] turned him down“. Gwen says it was her good fortune that others thought he was not worth adopting. She did adopt him and the rewards were high. Michael has always said this. If you adopt a cat that no one wants you’ll reap the rewards a thousand fold. It is interesting that Homer was a blind black cat; pretty well unadoptable in the modern world. Yet look what happened in the right hands.
Gwen is a very poetic author. She writes beautiful words about Homer but her greatest work was to adopt Homer.
Every animal who’s given the chance to love and be loved can make someone else’s life better, can fill up empty places in our hearts we didn’t even know were there until they were full.
Gwen is having a tough time coming to terms with Homer’s death:
I feel like I’ve lost a part of myself, some essential part of my body that I keep expecting to be there–and my mind simply won’t accept that it isn’t. …..How can I grieve for a loss that I still haven’t come close to accepting is real and permanent?
I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have known a great deal of love…… And I grieve for the loss of my boy, my little, little boy, the heart of my heart and the very best part of the person I always wanted to be. I do try to take comfort in the knowledge that Homer is whole now, and at peace–and that he will always, always be loved.” 1
After Homer’s death, Dr. Patty Khuly, the veterinarian who helped save his life 16 years ago, got a thank you note from Gwen for bringing Homer into her life. Patty wrote back to Gwen
“All I did was open a window. You furnished the whole damn house. So thank you again, Gwen. Because if veterinarians didn’t have people like you to believe in, we’d never get the chance to accept challenges like Homer’s. And I shudder to think what veterinary medicine would look like without the people and patients who fuel idealistic moments like the one that compelled me to smuggle him through surgery all those years ago.”
Gwen has always given 10% of the profit from her books to needy rescues. She has just announced that 100% of her royalties on all paperback copies of LOVE SAVES THE DAY pre-ordered or sold in-store between now and October 27 (it comes out October 22) will be donated to Blind Cat Rescue in Homer’s name.
I’ve written about Homer quite a bit, as has Michael. The links can be found at the bottom of this article.
Rest in peace, little Homer. You were an amazing little kitty, and you showed the world just how much a handicapped cat could accomplish, despite all odds.