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.