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"Jake" was our cat, although we believe he was part human/part Bichon. He'd have been ten years old this Summer. Two weeks ago, "Jake" was his normal, lovable, funny self and now he's gone, a victim of FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus).

We moved to the country ten years ago, as a better place to raise our Bichons. Our daughter, Christine, then 16, said at the time "If I'm going to have to move to the country, I want a cat!". In the Fall of 1987, Christine and I answered an advertisement in the local newspaper........"Free Kittens". When we arrived, we were told that the kittens were in the barn and out we went to have a look. There were several kittens in the barn, different colors, different types........then out walked "Jake". That was it! Christine said "That's the one I want". "Jake" was different from the rest.............a skinny little kitten, mostly white with dark markings. He wasn't as "cute" as some, but he was unique and he was ours!

"What are you going to call him, Christine?" . . . . "Jake", she replied. . . . "What kind of name is that for a cat?", I asked. "His name is Jake" she said . . .and "Jake" it was from that day on.

"Jake" was taught to be an outdoors cat. We were told this was the thing to do in the country. At first he wandered a bit, but after he was neutered he stayed pretty close to home.

My husband, Bill, often said during Jake's growing years "I hope he turns out to be a BIG cat". Looking at this skinny little kitten, this was hard to picture, but Jake turned out to be a whopping 19-1/2 lbs.

Over the years, we watched Jake grow and change. He just loved the puppies and they could have their way with him. His very special favorite puppy was "Tommy Girl", who is now going on nine months of age. It was fun to watch them and whenever "Tommy" was at play, "Jake" would always appear out of nowhere to take part.

We really believe that "Jake" was a human for us, and a Bichon for the puppies. At night he would lie on Bill's lap in the easy chair and sleep for hours. Bill and "Jake" were buddies and had their own private moments and games.

Whenever possible, "Jake" would join the puppies at play and it got so that whenever potential clients would visit to look at the Bichons, "Jake" would appear, to check everyone out and entertain. He would always tell me who had allergies to cats as he would immediately go over to that person and do his darndest to start the allergies going. It was common to see Jake lying on his back with all four feet in the air! Once when I was being very serious and explaining to a client the training and care of their new puppy, the lady starting laughing out loud. "I'm sorry" she said, "I can't help it!" When I looked, there was our "Jake" over on his back with his feet in the air. What an entertainer he was!

We really expected Jake to live for many years more and to have him sicken and leave us within a two week period is devastating. Two weeks ago, he was lying in Bill's lap, snoozing away.........and now, he's gone!

"Jake", however, was always Christine's cat, even after she left home! It was Christine who went with me to take "Jake" to the veterinarian; It was Christine who stroked him as he went to sleep; It was Christine who insisted that we bring "Jake" home and bury him here; It was Christine who carved a stone with "Jake" on it and who I watched (from a distance) saying her final good-byes to him. He was hers, but he belonged to us all, and we all miss him terribly.

There's no vaccination for Feline FIV and no specific treatment for it. It is transmitted from cat to cat by bite wounds or blood transfusions; not by such casual contact as using common food bowls or litter boxes. It attacks the cat's immune system the same as HIV affects humans. Fortunately, FIV is not transmissible to either humans or dogs. . . . but it took our "Jake" from us so quickly. For those of you who have outdoor cats, be aware that this virus is out there. Your cat can be infected with FIV and the virus can go into remission for months or years. You may not even notice, as we did not, until it reaches it's final stage.

We know that "Jake" is healthy and happy again, playing with the puppies at the Rainbow Bridge. We miss you "Jake". We didn't want you to go, and we tried our best to keep you here.......but we'll meet again, someday!

Your Human and Bichon family (and the Kitty who shared your space)

(Thank you so much Kiyomi for the wonderful jake.gifs and for reminding me that "Jake" is also a White Angel; and thank you to everyone for the cards and messages. I feel so sad, but knowing you are all there truly helps! Norma)

"Rainbow Bridge"

Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing: they each miss someone very special, someone who was left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly, he breaks from the group, flying over the green grass, faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into those trusting eyes, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart. Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together...

Author Unknown

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