Dear Wheeling Animal Hospital,
I just want to thank Dr Roberts, and everyone at the wheeling facility for making me and my Sissy dog so important in her last hour! I just wanted to thank all of you!! She was very important to me. I didnt get a chance to thank Dr. Roberts, but my good old dog is not in pain anymore. 

I'd like to share a little about Dilly the Cat with you. We first became pen pals a little less than a year ago when Dilly wrote to us to say how deathly afraid of dogs she was and how she hated to come for her appointments because of the dogs she would encounter in our waiting room. I wrote back to Dilly and suggested that we make other arrangements for her, such as coming in the side door and going directly to an exam room. That began our correspondence, sometimes serious, sometimes humorous, but always fun. In the end, Dilly decided to brave the dogs and come in the front door of the clinic, but at least she knew she always had the option to avoid them. This past November, at the ripe old age of 21, Dilly was diagnosed with cancer. She rallied for Christmas but then took a turn for the worse and finally crossed over the rainbow bridge on January 6th.  
Dilly, we really miss you.   Joan Roberts

 Dilly's story:
My Life, by Dilly the Cat

My name is Dilly and I'm a cat. I know you might think it a bit unusual to see a cat writing, however, Dr. Robert's wife, Joan, and I have been writing back and forth for a few months now. Recently, Joan asked that my life experiences be shared. I think the most important aspect I have to share is directed to all other pets: humans can absolutely be trained,
no matter their age.

My human companion and I haven't been together my whole life. We entered each other's lives in a very unusual way. She was a project manager in an architecture firm and back in September of 1990 was documenting the tear off of a roof of a local library. She was 40 feet in the air when she witnessed a man drive through the library parking lot, and without even slowing down, throws a bag of what appeared to be garbage out the window of his moving car. She watched the bag of garbage get up and try to walk. But it wasn't a bag of garbage. It was me, Dilly, a small cat, being thrown out the car window. She came down the ladder and put me into her coat to stay warm. I was shaking, very scared, not to mention injured.

She took me home; took me to the veterinarian and discovered that not only had I been mistreated, I had worms, parasites, and other miserable creatures in my body. She also learned that, although I fit into the palm of her hand, I was actually about two years old. She and I became companions and have been ever since. For our first six months together, she had to get me to take all kinds of medicine to try to make me healthy. As all of my fellow felines can attest, we don't take pills very well. My human companion, with the help of her mother, worked very hard to give me all the medication I needed.

Once, I was finally healthy, it was time to start the proper training of my human companion. I've always found it funny, how some people say they are a cat owner or a dog owner. It's not that I have anything against dogs really, they have the ability to grow on you sometimes, however, they will never be as good at training their humans as cats are. Dogs tend to be trained by their human companions, where cats flat out train their humans.

Now don't get me wrong, my human companion was absolutely determined to train me in certain areas. She trained me not to climb on the kitchen counters, not to claw the furniture, and, although it took her some time, not to climb up the middle of the Christmas tree, knock the angel off the top, and then stick my head out the top of the tree. My human was really against that, although I thought it was a blast.

Although my human had some very specific ideas of what I was not to do, I had just as many ideas, or more, of what I wanted to do. For starters, it seems that although I'm a cat, I LOVE water. I first introduced my human to my love of water by jumping in the shower with her. My human loves to build things. She made a window seat with storage below. It seemed to me like a vast feline playground. My human filled the storage unit with all kinds of things that I didn't think should be in there. I wiggled my way into the storage unit and kicked absolutely everything out of it. My human finally compromised and left one area of the storage unit open for me to play in.

About five years ago, at the ripe young age of 14 1/2, my human and I got three new roommates.  The thought of having to train three new humans was less than thrilling for me, and I voiced my displeasure about the entire concept regularly. However, after giving them a chance, I found out I really loved them and even let the two children use me as their pillow.Dilly The oldest of the three took the longest to train. While using the computer, she would have the computer mouse next to her and she would tell me to leave her alone. I found pawing at her arm would get a predictable set of responses. The first time I'd paw her arm, she'd tell me to leave her alone. The second through fifth times would bring much the same. At this point, I'd turn on the purring machine and start head butting her hand. A few good head butts and she'd be laughing and would pet me awhile and then tell me to leave her alone. At this point, I found the best thing to do was to simply lie down on her hand rendering use of the mouse completely impossible.

The most wonderful item that ever entered our house was an alarm clock with a motion sensor snooze button. For as long as I can remember, I spent my nights asleep on the chest of my human companion. After awhile, I began to notice how my human would wave her arm in front of the clock, thereby activating the snooze alarm. One morning, I was just not ready to get up. I preferred to stay curled up on my human's chest. When the alarm went off, I decided to copy my human. I shook my leg until the snooze was activated. Unfortunately for my human, I did this four more times. She then took steps to ensure that I no longer had control of the snooze alarm.

There are so many more examples I could give you of techniques to train your human. Every human is different, but knowing, loving and building a tight bond is the start. Knowing that your human would do anything in your best interests and your human knowing you are always there for them is everything. My human and I have been together for over 19 years and I've enjoyed every minute of training her. 

Human companion update:  On January 6, 2010, after almost 19 1/2 years together, I lost Dilly. She had pushed the old adage that cats have nine lives in ways I could never imagine. When I originally found Dilly, I was told me that because of the abuse her little body had suffered, I should not expect her to live long. Dilly obviously had other plans. Although she was always suspicious of men, she was a wonderful, loyal, often nutty companion. She was diagnosed with a heart condition, then later kidney disease. Medications for both stabilized her. In November 2009, she was diagnosed with cancer, Up until her last few days, Dilly ate her dinner every night and usually asked for an after dinner ice cream treat.

Dilly has been such a major part of my life, that I still find myself calling to her, as I must have done, without realizing it, on a daily basis. I also find myself still listening for her, and waiting for her to climb on my chest at night. 

I know I am not alone in losing a pet or feeling such a huge loss. I thank Wheeling Animal Hospital doctors and staff for the exceptional care Dilly has received!

Dilly and Lynn

"A Cat that Left His Imprint"
By Terry Loncaric

In our hearts we know animals will not live forever. Still, I lived in a comfortable state of profound denial. A 13-year-old cat, Jonathan, simply had that effect on me. A gray-striped tabby with beautiful, cream-colored markings and a cute little brown nose that reminded me of a chocolate drop, Jonathan seemed indestructible.

Until a month ago, he was a rough-and-tumble playmate and a warm and cuddly companion. We had a lovely routine. Jonathan and I pondered the mysteries of middle age together. It was definitely not love at first sight for either one of us. Years of a pet-free existence had suited me just fine. Some would say I was a free spirit.

A relationship changed my life, and Jonathan was definitely part of the deal.

Cats always freaked me out. They seemed sneaky, aloof, and sometimes just plain scary. Somehow, with these prejudices, I gave Jonathan a chance, and he tentatively entered my life, waiting for soft head pets and slowly finding his way to my chest. I learned an inescapable cat truth: love and trust are never automatic; they must be earned over time.

I'm not sure how or why we "connected," but one day, it just happened, and it felt magical. Jonathan first extended one paw, then two, enveloping me in a cat hug I will always remember. After that, Jonathan stuck to me like glue. He greeted me at the door, followed me to bed, even to the bathroom, and always waited for me in the morning to make coffee. As soon as he smelled coffee perking, he whined for his "milk treat," and I always obliged.

After many years of living a healthy, active life, Jonathan suffered a seizure. He aged overnight, perhaps feeling the effects of the meds. My active little kitty seemed dreary and constantly fatigued. Shortly after the seizure, Jonathan had what the doctor believed was a serious stroke or possibly a brain tumor. I could not bear the thought of losing him but knew keeping him alive would have been selfish and cruel.

Jonathan looked so lost and confused. He was sadly trapped in a body that was no longer working. He needed to go home to the "rainbow bridge." I held him one last time, the meds dripping into his veins. Dr. Mary Diedrich administered the procedure at Wheeling Animal Hospital with great gentleness, stopping to pat John's head while she explained the procedure. I watched the bright light that once shimmered in Jonathan's beautiful green eyes drain from his face - no hint of his spirit left.

I left the house with a beloved friend and came home with an empty crate and a broken heart. Some would say, "Get over it! He's only a cat," but these cataphobes never met my Jonathan. He was the perfect combination of playfulness and peacefulness -- an old soul with a young spirit. Sometimes I honestly believed he was a dog trapped in a cat's body.

Clearly, Jonathan was no ordinary pet. He didn't sniff his cat nip; he rolled in it. Instead of chasing after the laser light toy, he pranced and pounced upon the light. There was a strange grace, even in his clumsy moments. The sight of birds sent him into spasms, even though I am absolutely certain he would not have known what to do with a bird if he captured one.

He was happy gingerly roaming a windowsill but equally contented to sit close to my side, often hogging bed space, despite his small size. Sometimes while watching TV, I would catch him gazing almost lovingly at me, earning him the strange nickname, "Cat Husband." Jonathan gave love as easily as he received it.

There were moments he seemed to see right into my soul. As soon as Jonathan landed in my lap, my worries vanished, and I experienced indescribable bliss. It was other-worldly! Jonathan brought me pure joy, and that is a gift I shall always cherish.