Saturday, April 23, 2016

Vante has crossed the Rainbow Bridge

It is with a broken hear that I write this final blog post for Vante's Blog.

The last few years in which I haven't posted to Vante's blog have been good.  Vante fully integrated with our other two cats.  I think getting her thyroid under control with the I-131 treatment was the main factor behind that. 

Her arthritis got bad over the last 2 years and she started receiving twice daily pain medication to help her with that.  We put stairs and ramps around our house so she could still get onto her favorite high spots and the bed. 

In January 2015 Vante was diagnosed with diabetes.  She started receiving twice daily insulin shots to help her feel better and when given with treats she didn't mind the tiny needle and shot. 
January 2015 - diagnosed with diabetes.

Vante also had high blood pressure and needed a tiny, tiny pill once in the evening.  In the morning she needed a thyroid medication because the I-131 hyperthroid treatment corrected her overactive thyroid but too much, she became hypOthroid.  Half a pill every morning solved that problem and gave her energy and helped her fur grow and her coat become much better (it was rough and just not good looking for a few months).

We worked all these medicines into TREAT TIME!  8 AM and 8 PM became the best parts of the day for our three cats.  We would give them their medication in Pill Pockets and then they would get treats (Friskies Party Mix was their long-time favorite, all flavors) and two Greenies (Catnip Flavored Dental Treats were their favorite by a long shot). 
Treat Time!

In February 2016 all 5 of us, me, husband, Vante, Callie Mae, & Amelia drove cross-country to live in Wichita Falls, Texas.  Vante rode with my husband and spent a large amount of the trip either on his lap or in the passenger seat. 

In late February we noticed a bump on Vante’s left jaw and took her to a vet here in town.  Unfortunately they were unable to do dental x-rays so we went to a specialist in Dallas a week or so later.  After x-rays and a full examination while she was sedated it was determined that she had cancer in her jaw.  We declined a biopsy because the cancer had already put a bunch of small holes in her jaw bone (mandible) and with her plethora of other medical problems I didn’t want her to be in pain from the biopsy too when we were already really certain it was cancer.  We were concerned with QUALITY of life for Miss Vante.

I took Vante back home and she had a few wonderful days.  She was acting like herself and it was great to see her feeling so well.  However, then she got an upper respiratory infection and an eye infection (picked up at the vet clinics or a latent infection brought on by stress).  We treated the eye infection and it got better, she already had antibiotics in her system so we just had to let those work on the respiratory infection.  Unfortunately her cancer continued to grow at a fast rate, we could see that the bump on her jaw was getting bigger and she started having problems eating and drinking. 

We did everything in our power to make her comfortable and her last days as nice as possible: sunning outdoors, brushing, pampering, her favorite treats, cuddling, etc.  Friday afternoon, April 8, my husband and I took her to the vet and with tears in our eyes we told her how much she was loved and we said goodbye. 

It was absolutely heartbreaking.  Heartbreaking.  But we just couldn’t watch her suffer any longer because she was only getting worse daily.  Some of the things that she had enjoyed most she wasn’t enjoying or doing at all anymore.

We have a Vante shaped hole in our hearts and she will be greatly missed by us and everyone that knew her. 

September 1, 1995 – April 8, 2016

This photo was given to me by the folks at Best Friends Animal Society when I adopted Vante.  Isn't she just ADORABLE!

Vante loved climbing on shoulders.  She was a staple at Best Friends for 10 years (1998-2008).

Monday, August 12, 2013

10 Days Traveling Cross Country: Day 10

We left Ohio around mid-day and headed south for a final day of travel to our final destination of South Carolina!  Woo Hoo!

As we left Ohio we entered Kentucky and even better than a road sign, we got a photo of Vante at the FIRST Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant! She was very interested in the smells. 

By this time Vante was used to us carrying her around outside the car.  After our photos she totally relaxed in my arms.  What a pro!  
For this part of the trip we had lost our co-pilots and it was just Vante and I in the car.  She took full advantage of the passenger seat and spread out for her naps.   During a particularly boring and unpopulated part of our drive I snapped this quick photo of Vante racked out with her leg propped up.  (She's so stinking cute!)

Then we were off again and entered Tennessee a few miles later.  We missed the road sign.
Then we hit the North Carolina state line and we stopped at the sign but I refused to get out of the car.  It just wasn't safe for me to tote Vante out there in that itty bitty shoulder.  So we made up for it by stopping at the North Carolina welcome center and got this great photo of Miss V!
Several hours later we said goodbye to NC and entered our final state on this trip--South Carolina!!!
We finished our drive around 12:30 a.m. that morning.  We were all happy to get out of our cars and get some shut-eye.  So, after 10 days of travel and 16 states we can finally call our journey complete.

I did some digging and highlighted in pink are all of the states that Vante has visited.  That's 21 states in 4 years!  She's a well traveled girl!

Here's the list:
Arizona--she went on a weekend trip out there
California--she visited my USAF reserve unit out there multiple times



Minnesota--layover for our trip to Alaska
Nevada--2009-2013 she lived there
North Carolina

Virginia--Vante and my husband went there while I was in Afghanistan

South Carolina--2013 to present, her new home state!
South Dakota
Utah--Best Friends Animal Society for 10 years
Washington State--layover for our trip home from Alaska

As we settle into our new home I'll take photos and share. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

10 Days Traveling Cross Country: Day 8 & 9

Folks, sorry for the delayed post.  We have moved into our new house & have been busy trying to clean carpets, set up internet, electricity, water, etc.  So please forgive our tardiness. 

Vante doesn't love the new house, even though she has her own room again.  It's just because we have no furniture here yet.  So it doesn't feel like home.  Just a blow up mattress, a card table w/4 folding chairs, her cat cube furniture.  To try to help her settle in, today I bought a wingback chair for her at a thrift store for her room.  She's napping in it as I type and loving it.  :)  Yeah!

Anyway, back to the cross country travels.  Day 8 & 9 we explored Ohio.  My husband has family there, my sister and I shopped, and Vante caught up on her sleep and enjoyed staying in one place and out of a moving car.
There were geese outside the window in the grass, but Vante just wanted to nap. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

10 Days Traveling Cross Country: Day 7

This was a crazy day of driving.  We went through 4 states & drove for 11 hours, and that's not including stops!  So let's get started, I'm tired just remembering this marathon driving day.

We spent the morning driving through Iowa.  Lots of corn.  
 Mid-day we began our trek through Illinois.  No photo op since the state line is on a bridge due to the Mississippi River.
 The Indiana state line was beautiful with the tall grasses.  Quite possibly my favorite photo yet. 
We left Indiana and crossed into Ohio around 10 p.m.  Due to the fact that it was night and also another state line that you can't take a photo at, we got creative with this photo.  (Special thanks to Ed for lending his expertise for this photo.)
We ended Day 7 in Cincinnati.  Exhausted but happy. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

10 Days Traveling Cross Country: Day 6

Day 6 & we're on the move again.  The day started by leaving Rapid City, SD and driving East with a destination of Omaha, Nebraska!

First stop--Badlands National Park!

Vante is sitting down--I promise!
There were no cars, or cows in sight so it was completely safe to let her explore the sign for a minute or two.  She enjoyed it.
We entered Nebraska, but they didn't have an accessible sign.  So we made our own photo op.
Nebraska!  We took this photo outside our hotel the next morning.
Stay tuned for Day 7--4 states!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

10 Days Traveling Cross Country: Day 5

On Day 5 (July 20th) we left our hotel in West Yellowstone and headed East.  But not before taking a photo!
We drove East through the park and enjoyed a few final sights along the way.  
Driving out/in the Eastern side of the park you go through the famous Roosevelt Arch.
We left Montana & entered Wyoming. 

Then we  entered South Dakota.  This was a first for everybody on the trip!  We had to wake up Vante for this photo & she wasn't interested in posing for the camera, but we had fun. 

Vante, my sister Joy, & I.
 Some bozo had drawn mustaches on all the presidents.  It's funny, but not.

We drove for about 10 hours total that day.  At 8:30 p.m. we pulled up at Mt Rushmore!  
I had no idea how far away and high up the monument was until I saw it with my own eyes.  It really is impressive!
We were just in time for their 9 p.m. presentation.  We were so tired that we didn't get any photos of Vante at the park sign.  There is a parking garage where you park and walk into the park area.  We couldn't bring Vante into the park so she waited in the car.  But it was a nice, cool evening so she was fine and caught up on her beauty sleep.   

Two National Parks in 1 day & another on Day 6 (with photos)!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

10 Days Traveling Cross Country: Day 4

On Day 4 we explored Yellowstone and left Vante in the hotel room to catch up on her sleep. 

Elk (only 2 in this photo, we didn't get a photo of the herd)
Yellowstone is beautiful and actually quite smelly from all the sulphur.  I've been to Yellowstone before during the Winter, and I saw more wildlife then than on this trip.  We did see 2 moose, a few bison, deer, and herds of elk. 
This bison was walking down the other side of the road uphill.  He was just a few feet away from me & HUGE!  There was a huge line of cars behind him and he was oblivious. 
Morning Glory Hot Spring
We even caught a photo of the ever elusive Outback!  J/K  This is my new car & Vante's ride.  Subarus & RVs were EVERYWHERE in Yellowstone.  You couldn't throw a rock without hitting one & bouncing off the other.
I can't include them all, but there are lots of waterfalls, hot springs, fumeroles (pits that emit smoke), & mud pits in Yellowstones.  It's an amazing place to hike, or even just drive your car around & see the generic tourist sites.  I highly recommend making at least a 3- or 4-day trip of it.

Don't worry, there will be several Vante photos on Day 5's blog!