On behalf of Jude and Alan of Borderlands Books:
Ripley: June 10th, 2002 - May 12th, 2010
It is with tremendous sadness that we announce the death of Borderlands' beloved and original bookstore cat, Ripley. The suddenness of her passing has us all in shock; we've written the following to provide the details of what happened.
We brought Ripley to the vet this past Tuesday morning because she'd been throwing up. Upon examination and following an x-ray and a ultrasound, our vet determined that she had a large mass in her stomach which was partially blocking her esophagus and most likely caused by untreatable and extremely rapid carcinomatosis (in this case, a mass of tiny cancers which created a fluid-filled sack around itself). There was another possible diagnosis, almost equally bad, but the determination couldn't be made until the next day, pending test results.
Having discovered completely unexpectedly in the course of about two hours that our cherished companion of seven and a half years was very likely dying, we took her home to spend what time with her we could. She was warm, happy and comfortable, and even though she had essentially stopped eating, she cheerfully devoured a small amount of smoked turkey (her favorite food) that we offered. She spent the afternoon in Alan's lap while he read and petted her, and she spent the night sleeping curled next to Jude, as she has for almost all of her life.
Wednesday morning we received confirmation from the pathologist of the carcinomatosis diagnosis. There were no useful treatments for her condition - the vet told us that it was possible to drain the sack and partially remove the blockage, but due to the rapidity of the cancer's replication, we'd be back in exactly the same situation in a day or two. Furthermore, the treatment would be painful for her. Since Ripley was essentially unable to eat or drink, the conclusion of her conditon would have been death by dehydration or starvation, which was obviously unacceptable.
With great difficulty, we made the decision to euthanize her.
On Wednesday evening, we brought her back to the vet. The incredibly kind people at Mission Pet Hospital had set up low lights and a soft blanket on the table for her. We were there the whole time, and Ripley was purring as we talked to her and rubbed her ears. At about 6 pm, wrapped in the flannel bathrobe that she loved, she was given an anesthetic, and, once asleep, an overdose of barbiturate to stop her heart.
Ripley is buried in a quiet, sunny, wild-rose covered location in San Francisco.
There are no good ways to lose an animal that you love, but there are many worse ways than this.
We extend heartfelt thanks to all of the caring staff at Mission Pet, and very specifically to Dr. Dave Gordon, whose kindness and consideration made this dreadful situation as painless, both for us and for Ripley, as they could.
We hope that this addresses the majority of your questions. We request sincerely that you respect our grief and do not talk to us or the cafe and bookstore staff about this, or ask questions right now. Despite the dispassionate tone of this note, it is frankly too painful for us to talk about, and we all need a little time. While we appreciate that many, many people loved Ripley and will feel devastated by this news, and in many ways Ripley "belonged" to all of us, please understand that it's taking considerable effort for some of us just to keep functioning right now, and every funny story, heartfelt wish or sympathetic look may set any of us off in a fresh wave of tears.
Truly, we just don't want to talk about her right now.
We've set up this blog for people to share their stories or photos, if they wish.
Thank you for your understanding.
Jude Feldman and Alan Beatts