Friday, August 21, 2009

Purrs for Puz

Today I witnessed a profound ceremony – a gathering designed to give a terminally ill cat named Puz courage for her final journey across the rainbow bridge. The ceremony was not held in a veterinary clinic or in a backyard. It was held on Twitter.

For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to meet the anipals, they are real pets who tweet on twitter. Sure, their human parents have to type the words, but the pets’ sentiments are spoken, their personalities are genuine. On twitter, dogs and cats, rabbits and turtles get along just fine. They hold virtual parties using hash tags like #pawpawty. I first met Puz at such a party – one held in his honor after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The party was a celebration of Puz’s life and an expression of camaraderie.

As Puz’s cancer progressed, his family made an appointment for him to be euthanized. The anipals responded by planning another celebration – one that would see Puz and his family through the dark and frightening moments as they waited for his final passage. The celebration began yesterday using the hashtag #puztruck. Anipals from all over the world boarded the #puztruck and partied as they traveled to be with Puz in his final moments. Last night the hashtag changed to #puzpram as PepiSmartDog led the parade of anipals keeping their friend company as the time drew near. They sang Puz’s favorite songs, including “Born Free” and “My Way”. And then the animals formed a #pawcircle and sent #purrs4puz out into cyberspace to serenade him on his journey and comfort his family. After the injection was given, the countdown began and the anipals spoke of others who had passed and who were reaching out to Puz across the bridge, coaxing him to join them. At last, the anipals sent Puz off with love to his new pain-free life.

Tears ran down my face as I read the tweets, tears of sadness, but also of joy that we live in a world where people from every continent care enough to take time out of their busy lives to let their pets help give a cat they’ve only met in cyberspace a peaceful passage.

RIP, Puz. I barely knew you, but you left an indelible paw print on my heart.


  1. I just found out about Puz on Twitter a few days ago and followed him to his sweet reward in kitty heaven and it really touched me too. Especially how hard it must have been for his human to talk about it all. Incredible bravery. Thanks for sharing. RIP, Puz. (@understandblue)

  2. Thank you for writing this, I've been following Puz's tweets, and have been in tears all day. It was a wonderful outlet and experience, and I thank and send my sympathy to Puz's people, for sharing his life and passing w/us.
    Theresa (tildatoo)

  3. What a beautiful tribute you have paid to our sweet Puz! I cannot write at the moment because I'm overcome with emotion. So long Puz. Until we meet over the Rainbow Bridge. (signed): Smokey8 fr Twitter

  4. What a touching post. Thank you for writing it.

    On the twitterverse the anipals are friends and family.They share the good,the funny,the sad,the scary,each other's lives,and concerns for each other's losses.

    Helping Puz to the Rainbow Bridge is something all the anipals understand.but seldom get to share. We are all Puz,as the over 75 Puz twibbon avs would show.

    It was an affirmation of the goodness of their hearts,and their beliefs in the continuation of life.That even in passing the good will be celebrated,maybe with tears,but definitely with purrs.

    Til we meet again Puz...purrrrs!

    (p.s.You will not believe my Turing is puring...)

  5. Thank you so much for letting us help Puz cross that Rainbow Bridge. It was beautiful and touching. Some of us have faced having our own angels pass alone, unable to share with caring folks who understand the pain both we and our other animals felt. Just thinking of our beloved Lizzy there to greet Puz with a big kiss was a big help. In talking to Rascal today, I do believe he understood! Blessings and comfort to Puz's people and his other animal pals. May you find comfort in knowing that you'll see little Puz again, free from any pain and eager to see you!

  6. Thank you for capturing the past couple days and articulating it for us to ready.
    The struggle is over for Puz....

    Kritter Kommunity
    Abi and Madi

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. What a beautiful post!! Now that I have stopped crying, I am going to add my comments. I also just found out about Puz through a post to vote for her as cutest kitty on the tweeterwall. I have followed her last week on Twitter and feel honored to have shared such a difficult time with her family. Our youngest (SophieKitty) also has her own Twitter page, and she has also been following Puz. Although we were not able to join the #pawcircle today, we said our good-byes last night. I still feel the pain that I felt last summer when we make the decision to send our oldest (and my very first cat ever) over the Rainbow Bridge.
    I think it's wonderful that Twitter allows profiles for all the anipals, and it is a wonderful community of furry friends and their human families.

    Our thoughts and prayers to Puz and her family!
    Maureen & Steve (and Bella, Venus, and Sophie)

  9. Goodbye Puz. I didn't know you until your last day but your story touched my heart. With tears in my eyes I bid you a happy life as you cross Rainbow Bridge. We have a great community at Twitter and it is lovely to see that so many people care for our furry friends.

  10. Rachelle, Thank you so much. That was beautifully written and captures our community so perfectly. I'm very grateful to be a part of this crazy anipal world.

    Much love to Puz and his mom.
    =^..^= Cokie

  11. What a beautiful post. It's true and I find myself saying it over and over again -- there is such an amazing community on Twitter with the anipals. It's the most fabulous support system, cheering squad and daily reminder of what makes us all happiest.

    The anipals do great things and are never malicious or mean. I'm so happy to be part of the group and all the great things they do.

    The latest come-together for Puz was one of the most amazing things I've seen yet. I kept thinking how hard it must have been for Puz's humans to keep on tweeting, and often wondered if maybe they'd rather just sign off and spend the time with him alone... but the more I thought about it, the more I realized: The anipals were helping. They cared. And I'm sure such an outpouring of heartfelt wishes must have made it a little easier.

    Tons of love to Puz at the Rainbow Bridge, and tons of hugs for his humans down here.

  12. Really beautiful story and so true. We had just met Puz too.
    What a wonderful bunch of people we are who love are animals and they who love us back.

    Pierre the Poodles MOmma

  13. That's a great story - it made my Mom teary.
    I am not a Tweeter yet. Maybe I should?