No Pits for this Peach
painting of Mr. Peach Some lessons I learned from Mr. Peach:

Greet your loved ones at the door with a smile. They will forgive all wrongs you've done while you were left alone.

Speak kindly and truthfully to all creatures - they understand every word you say.

Every rainbow has two pots of gold.
Photo of Mr. Peach This painting is a tribute to Peach, a feisty and courageous young feline determined not to let his battle with cancer override his zest for life. His tale is told by his Mom, Monique.

"Thirty four months can be a lifetime. That's how long Peach was with us. He strayed into our lives, a full grown cat with a kitten countenance. Sixteen months later, he was diagnosed with mast cell cancer. Despite four ensuing surgeries, one of which involved the amputation of his left rear leg, he refused to slow down. Jumping and running were his favorite things, and he continued to enjoy them with fervor until the last few months of his life.

Drugs, chemotherapy, blood tests...we tried everything in our battle against the cancer soldiers, and secretly and silently shed many a tear. Each new day would bring renewed hope that maybe, just maybe, Peach would emerge the victor in this war. Alas, Peach's activity level slowly declined, and he spent more and more precious hours on his favorite wooden chair, snuggled deeply into his custom made afghan. From this vantage point, he could still keep tabs on his outdoor kingdom from behind the screen door. Without a doubt he was happy, and his attitude remained positive. He continued to greet us every evening at the back door, his chipper little face like a shining beacon at the end of our work day.

Eventually, his tumor-riddled body grew too weak to continue his fight. Our promise, spoken aloud to him many times, was that we would never let him suffer, and we remained true to our word. On May 22, 2004, Mr. Peach's calm passing brought his short life with us to a close. His strong spirit remains forever in our hearts and in our household.

Peach's life was not just about his battle with cancer. He also raised a teeny stray kitten with the perfect blend of tenderness and discipline. He knew the best way to cram his body into a box half his size and sleep comfortably for hours. He taught us about courage as he battled his disease, bouncing back each time we thought the end was near. Sometimes we'd be quietly talking about him in the kitchen, and 'the Creamsicle' (as my husband fondly called him) would hop past in hot pursuit of a cardinal who'd been teasing him from the bushes by the back window. Throughout all his surgeries, his pills, and his countless visits to the vet, his trust in us never wavered. He always knew that we were trying our best to help him.

Yes, thirty four months can be a lifetime...but as we all know, a lifetime is never long enough."


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All images © Alison Whalen