We met you at birth. From that moment on you were our little boy. We watched you grow and you grew closest to the little boy.

You would sleep at the head of his bed at night. You would follow him inside and outside as if you were his protector. We all loved you, you were so smart, so loving, and funny. You actually had a great sense of humor. You put up with all the dogs trying to pick you up by your neck and you didn't mind. You would curl up with Buddy, the eldest dog, because you knew he was a kind soul and that he wouldn't pick you up by your neck. You would sleep for hours in my closet shelf. You would meet me at the food bowl first thing every morning. You were "Chief Cat" in this house. You truly did have 9 lives. First we couldn't find you for days and we looked and looked and finally found you in a trap where you had been for several days without food and water. We brought you home and nursed you back to health.  A few months later, you disappeared again, we looked for you everywhere. Finally after a week you made your way home only this time you had to lose your back leg because it was injured so bad.  I knew then you would not be allowed outside again. After several days in the hospital, you came home, minus one back leg and you, like the champ you were adapted just fine, still our loving Charlie. That was 2 years ago. From time to time you would try and get out when we opened the door but we always caught you. But one early morning, when it was still dark, you slipped out and Mama didn't see you. I didn't pay much attention to your absence because you would climb in my closest shelf and curl up in there for hours. Or you would bask in the sun while laying on the back of the couch. The gardener was coming that morning so I was preparing for that. I went on about my business when I got a knock at the door. It was the gardener asking me if I owned an orange tiger cat. My heart stopped. I said "yes" and he told me to come with him.  What I found broke me. You were still alive but you had made it as far as our terrace, under the lilac tree. I knew you didn't have much time and that you were in severe pain. As I picked up your battered body, I didn't care about the dirt and the blood. I just held you close to me and I talked softly to you. You listened because you only cried out when I didn't talk to you. As I waited for Brent to come home I was glad that Jackson was not here. He was at Grandma's and he would never be able to get the memory or what you looked like out of his mind forever. I know, because I can't.  I took you into the garage, found an old little blanket, wrapped you up and rocked you. You would cry out as if to say, "please make this stop". And for you Charlie, that was exactly what I was going to do. It seemed like forever before Brent came home but I'm so thankful for those last precious moments we had together. Your eyes were still bright and you looked at me with such love and trust. You knew what needed to be done. You were asking me with your eyes to help you. Through my tears I promised you I would. I kept telling you I was so sorry...sorry I didn't see you get out that morning. So sorry. If I could only start that day over again. I knew Jackson would not ever see you alive again. It broke my heart. I thought about how I was going to tell him. How that car didn't even stop. How you probably didn't have the speed to beat the car because you only had 3 legs. I held you so close and I swear you were purring.

Brent pulled up and we immediately took you to the vets. As I feared there was nothing they could do and confirmed my fears that you were in a lot of pain. I instructed the doctor what to do. And as you closed your eyes, I held your little head and my tears flowed freely. You were at peace and no more pain.

Now you sit in a beautiful box in my cabinet and you are home. I am at peace knowing you are here but I miss you. I miss your greeting and your nose kisses. But I also know that you are an angel and you are waiting for me along with all the other little animals I have had to let go.....so my friend, run free with 4 legs, chase those butterflys and roll in that grass. Play with Sugar and Gilda and all the others that are waiting for me.

Thank you for all the love and trust.