Growing up, my mother had a cat named Max. He was only a year old when I was born, so I grew up with him. Even as a baby, he wouldn't stray far from me. When I reached out toward him, he would merely move just far enough away that I couldn't reach him. As I got older, we grew closer. I loved my kitty, and I was the only one that could pick him up without him struggling. I would meow, and he would meow back. When I was sad, he would let me cuddle up with him and cry my eyes out. He was my best friend.
When I was 14, his health drastically got worse. His kidneys were failing and the only humane thing to do was to put him to sleep. He couldn't even walk 10 feet without having to rest. My mother opted to have him put to sleep in the evening instead of the morning because the vets office would be quieter, and he would be less stressed. Although my mom's decision was rational, I was distraught when I found out. Seeing my best friend in pain brought me pain. I loved him, but I just wanted him to be out of his misery as soon as possible. I spent the day at school in pure misery. I just wanted my friend to be at rest.
We brought him to the vet that evening. I held him in my lap, wrapped in a blanket, to comfort him. He was so frail and thin. We brought him into the vets office and placed him on the blanket on the cold, metal table. He didn't struggle or complain, though he normally hated being in the vets office. We just stayed there, petting him, and telling him everything was going to be alright as the vet put him to sleep. We petted his lifeless body for a moment, and I kissed the top of his head. Then we left, the vet deciding not to charge us for the euthanasia.
What happened over the next few weeks took me by surprise. I would be walking and see "Max" as clear as day lounging on the floor or walking past me toward the place his food dish had been kept. This happened multiple times a day, and, after a couple of days, I mentioned it to my mother. I said, "I know I'm not crazy, but I've been seeing Max around." She smiled somewhat and told me she had been seeing the same things I had. She would be at work and feel him rub up against her leg, even though he was no longer with us. While part of me was convinced I was losing my mind, the other part of me (the grieving part) felt comforted by the idea that Max was still around watching us.
After two weeks, we decided to send in an adoption application to a local German Shepherd rescue we had been involved with for years. Being familiar with the application process, we were pretty sure they wouldn't have a match for us for at least a month (allowing us more time to grieve). But much to our surprise, we were contacted two days later about a dog that was in need of a foster home. Her name was Fila, and she was 10 years old at the time. My mom didn't dare to say no to an elderly dog in need, so we agreed to foster her. We had five days to prepare for her arrival.
Through those five days, sightings of Max continued as we got dog beds, toys, etc. For Fila. I felt a little apprehensive about getting a new pet so soon, but I was excited. The day Fila was due to arrive, I saw Max once in my mom's office. He watched me and his mouth moved in a silent meow, then he disappeared. Fila arrived and, surprisingly, made herself right at home. She rolled in the grass on our lawn and fell asleep after only 30 minutes. The rescue had never seen a dog settle in so fast.
A few days after Fila arrived I noticed something. I was no longer seeing Max around. I mentioned it to my mom and told her, "I haven't seen him since Fila arrived." She nodded and told me that she hadn't either. We were quiet for a moment then I quietly offered, "Maybe he was just watching over us... And now that we have Fila to care for us, he's moved on." My mother silently nodded in agreement.
To this day, we believe that Max stuck around after his death to comfort us and watch over us. When Fila arrived, we believe he felt as though his job was done and moved on. It was sad to see him go. He was our angel, but we were sent another angel, Fila, to watch over us and Max's job was done.