In Memory of Our Furry Son
Little Roscoe, 1988-2001
This is "Berf", master of the household (at least he thought so). His real name is Little Roscoe, but he picked up the nickname because of the "brrrfff" sound he makes when you picked him up. A couple of years ago we discovered he had a pretty severe heart condition, but not before the resulting high blood pressure caused hemorrhages in both of his eyes, costing him his sight. But with regular visits to his local vet and the folks at the Small Animal Hospital at the University of Georgia, and medication twice daily, he beat the odds, for a while. He was a mutt, but it looks like he might have had some Himalayan in him. We pretty sure his grandmother had some Siamese in her (from her irritating "meow"). He looked a lot like his dad Roscoe did, hence the name.

He demanded regular visits outdoors, and pouted and made us miserable when the weather prevented it. He learned his way around the backyard very well, sometimes breaking into a run when the mood struck him.
He always liked it when the leaves were on the ground, because he could hear his parents walking around, and could find them... when he wanted to!
But even after he lost his sight... somethimes the grass was greener over the fence!
So we had to resort to keeping him on a leash sometimes. But you still had to watch him like a hawk to make sure he didn't hurt himself, when he got to the end of his leash!
Once when he was much younger, he was demanding to go out into a snow storm. Just for kicks, we let him out the door, and were cracking up when he was scratching on the door 15 seconds later. We figured this would be a repeat...we had to go get him after about three minutes! His fuzzy paws had ice in them.

"Lessee now, I used to remember how to do this!" This was after he lost his sight!

Here he is asking for a little attention. That is his "sister" Spooky behind him on the chair (actually no relation). She was an indoor/outdoor cat, and just disappeared one day about six months before Berf died.
He did all the usual cat things. He was still sighted in this picture... he was a little more careful about where he jumped to later.
"His Mama's Voice..."
When we first learned of his ailment, he had to spend a week at the Small Animal Hospital at UGA. When Jan and daughter Marisa went to pick him up, Marisa snapped this pic right after Jan (out of the picture to the left) called his name. That's Dr. Michelle Wall to the left.
He was popular at the vet. Once, after a visit for a bath and a checkup, his groomer dressed him up.
But enough of that, its time for a cat nap.
And he had the requisite fascination with boxes. Cats are weird: You buy them a toy, they ignore the toy and play with the box it came in. Boxes are for getting in to, or at least as much of you as you can get in!

Except he seemed to take a liking to this "kitty cup" before we could even get the tag off of it!
After a pretty good day one Thursday, Berf watched a movie with us, and was lounging in the living room floor. Around midnight Jan noticed he was behaving strangely, and by the time Pat got there it was obvious he was in severe pain and having difficulty breathing. Fortunately there is an emergency vet clinic in Lawrenceville, so we put him in a box and headed for the clinic, not wanting to subject him to the stress of putting him in his carrier. Once there they quickly deduced that his lungs had fluid in them, so they got some drugs in him to clear that and to handle the pain. He was semi-comatose, but would still move his paws and flick his tail when we talked to and stroked him, and one point even raising his head briefly. But later in the morning he started drawing his paws in, indicating that the pain was returning, and became less and less responsive. We had considered trying to get him to Athens, but the attending doctor left us very little hope. Finally we decided he had suffered enough. Berf went to sleep at 4:50 AM, July 27, 2001, never to wake up. This was the time we had hoped would never come, but at the same time knew it would. We had been warned that because of his condition a clot could develop at any time, and depending on where it lodged, would be at least very painful; at the worst, fatal. We are grateful that we happened to be up late that night and caught it at the very beginning, so he did not have to suffer all night. We knew he was living on borrowed time... it finally ran out.
We would like to express our sincere appreciation to the following folks. First, to Dr. Heather Tarpley, DVM, of the Gwinnett Animal Clinic, for initially diagnosing the heart condition and giving us an emergency referral to the UGA Veterinarian school on a Saturday. Next to Dr. Michelle Wall, DVM, Berf's primary cardiologist at the Small Animal Hospital at the University of Georgia in Athens, GA., who seemed to take special interest in this little patient that defied the odds for almost two years. Also thanks to the ophthalmology department there, for helping him with his eyes. And finally to Dr. Cathy Fish, DVM, of the Animal Emergency Center of Gwinnett, for helping him through his final hours.
Farewell, beloved Berf, may you rest in peace. No more pills, no more eyedrops, and here's hoping you have found a nice large backyard, without fences and with eternally good weather, to explore. We will miss you dearly.