Grieving the loss of Sierra the tigress
In Memory – February 2014
I sit here having to type because I don’t know what else to do. I am beside myself. In a few short hours, we will say good-bye to a dear resident of ours. Every loss is difficult, but this one seems so unfair. To know that letting her go is the best gift we can give her is not a lot of solace right now. Am I wrong to just wish for a miracle? I know each of us has our own time. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it is their time, but fate intercedes and we have no choice but to say good-bye.
Sierra the tigress has a calm and welcoming presence. She has a joy of life and is loved by all. But now, she is so tired. Struggling with respiratory disease, we knew recovery would be long. But Sierra was so strong and had minor symptoms just a short time ago, so even the veterinary team was hopeful.
So many loving people have rallied by her side to help. Her caretakers have been with her every step of the way making her comfortable and doing all they could to pave the road to recovery. Veterinarians, radiologists and respiratory specialists have gone above and beyond their duties to treat her, consulting, prescribing and continually monitoring her progress. They performed radiographs, a trachea wash, and so much more, all in an effort to diagnose and help her recover. After she left the hospital, they have been in constant contact, making adjustments to her treatment as necessary. We were all optimistic for the best. No one was ready to say good-bye.
But today, Sierra showed us she is tired, more tired than before. Though she seems comfortable, this has taken a toll on her and she just wants to sleep. Today is the first day her roommate, Ekaterina, seemed worried. She chuffs at Sierra from across the hallway and it is the first day Sierra doesn’t chuff back even though she is awake and lying down.
Just a short time ago, Sierra and Ekaterina were playing with Christmas trees in the snow and Sierra was enjoying her outdoor hammock. I know Sierra will be back enjoying days like that in her new life. It feels selfish to wish those days could still be here at TWS, but it is what I am feeling right now.
I know she has so many wonderful friends to meet her on the other side – those that have already left the physical world but remain a part of TWS always. She has so many staff, sponsor parents, volunteers, and former caretakers who love her and will deeply miss her. Ekaterina, her enclosure mate will also mourn her loss. Every one of us wants her to stay, but as always, we listen to the cats. Sierra clearly shared her intentions today and we have to respect that.
Sierra – know you are loved and cherished. Please visit us often. No time is too soon. For now, just sleep peacefully.