I received something in the mail a couple days ago that made me feel very glad. It was an envelope from the College of Veterinary Medicine, Feline Health Center at Cornell University. I’d never heard of, let alone been affiliated in any way, with this organization so at first I wasn’t quite sure why I was receiving a piece of non-advertisement mail from them.
Then I read the letter inside: “We are so sorry to hear about Floyd’s passing.” What?! How did you know?!
As most of you are aware by now, my beloved and young cat Floyd died of cancer unexpectedly in March. Frankly, it sucked. I mean, yes, he was just a cat. I am beyond blessed to never have experienced the passing of someone close to me who wasn’t a grandparent or a great-grandparent. And I am thankful for that every day. Still, losing my cat was not easy. We didn’t know he was sick until it was too late, although there isn’t much we could have done for him if they’d caught it earlier. And when he died, I cried really hard. We have a new cat now, who is a great addition to our family, but I still miss Floyd all the time.
So, where did this letter come from? It turns out that Animal Kind, the veterinary hospital in Brooklyn where Floyd was treated and ultimately put to sleep, made a donation to the Cornell Feline Health Center in his name! It made me smile so wide to learn that. I realize, from a pessimist’s standpoint, that it’s in the best interest of any organization to make donations each fiscal year, but that doesn’t matter to me. It’s nice to think that Floyd’s passing will indirectly help other cats.
At the risk of sounding like an advertisement for an animal hospital (which this is not at all intended to be), I’d like to sing the praises of Animal Kind for a moment. Basically, they were easily the best veterinary facility I’ve ever used – I felt that way before receiving news of their thoughtful donation, but the letter certainly reinforced my feeling. They were professional and helpful, but more importantly, they really treated my cat like he was a family member. They knew his prognosis was a really bad one but they were still very patient with me as I struggled to decide what to do for him. And even though they probably put dozens of animals to sleep each week, they genuinely seemed sad to see Floyd go. The doctor who put him down had tears in her eyes as he passed. (I was sobbing.) (Like a baby.)
Afterward, they sent me a clay impression of his cute little paw (Creepy? Maybe. But also nice to have.) AND, as though all their helpful kindness weren’t enough, each of the doctors I met with over the several weeks Floyd was deteriorating wrote a personal note to me in a condolence card that I received just a few days after he died. The level of service and compassion was honestly above and beyond what was necessary and I appreciated it so much. So I was really moved by the fact that they made a donation in Floyd’s name, after everything else they did to make our experience a smooth one.
In their lobby, they have tons of letters, notes, photographs, even custom-made plaques that former patients have sent them over the years to thank them for helping their animals. I always thought it was pretty remarkable that so many people felt compelled to send something in, but now I see why. They’ll be getting a thank you note from me tomorrow.