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In Memory of Phoenix Bolles

In Memory of Phoenix Bolles

In Memory of My Beloved Black Cat, Phoenix

By Tamra Anne Bolles

The first time I saw Phoenix, he was a scrawny kitten.  I didn’t have the heart to walk away without him, so I took him home with me.  Not long after I adopted him, I wanted to attend graduate school.  I wasn’t sure having any pets was a good idea given my plans.  But, Phoenix was quiet and low maintenance.  He cuddled quietly beside me for six months as I persevered in my preparation for the Graduate Record Exam.  For the next three years, Phoenix waited patiently for me to return to our little apartment as I went from work to school, usually getting home around midnight.  Each night after I got home, I cuddled with him on the couch and began working on my graduate studies.  Most days I didn’t sleep, and if I did, it wasn’t much.  I didn’t have time for friends, or family members, so Phoenix was essentially my only companion.  He was fine with that, and so was I. 

I got very sick during this time.  Sometimes, I would sleep from one day into the next.  I didn’t have any money to pay a doctor, so I stayed home and used over-the-counter medications to treat the virus.  I’m not even sure I fed Phoenix, because I was so sick that I was barely able to stand.  He never made a sound.  He just let me rest, as he watched over me.

Years passed, and I finally graduated with my master’s degree in education, and so I became a public school teacher.  Of course, as a new teacher, I was extraordinarily busy, but once I settled into the new job, things got easier.  Meal time became more regular.  And as soon as Phoenix adjusted to that new schedule, I added a rambunctious German shepherd to our lives.  Phoenix resigned himself to the dog’s antics, not always happily, but he persevered.  Then, I adopted another dog.  This one was more Phoenix’s style.  She was quiet like him, and very laid back.  He loved her; still, he wasn’t necessarily a fan of sharing his home with any dog.  And yet, Phoenix never resented me for forcing that upon him.

The same year our shepherd passed, Phoenix turned 20, incredibly.  He turned 21 the year, Summer, my yellow lab, passed.  I was very close to my dogs, so losing both of them within a year of each other was very sad for me.  Phoenix sensed that.  He stayed especially close to me during this time, because I was awfully sick, only this time, it wasn’t the flu.  I was heartbroken.  Phoenix was a great source of comfort many times in my life.  We weathered many storms during the time we were together.  I saw people and pets come and go from my life, as did he.  Jobs changed for me as did my work schedule.  We were always scrambling for more time together.  Still, his enthusiasm as a true friend never wavered.  

I think that’s what I remember best about Phoenix.  No matter how my life progressed, despite the twists and turns that different years bring, Phoenix was a constant in my life.  He got horribly sick once and needed emergency surgery.  The doctor didn’t think he was going to survive.  It was the sound of my voice that convinced the doctor, otherwise.  Phoenix should have still been under the effects of the anesthesia, but as soon as he recognized me, he raised his head and banged it against the cage.  “That’s not possible,” the doctor said.  Phoenix had a strong will.  His 21 years are a testimony to that fact.  When I think of Phoenix now, there is only joy, because I know that I was blessed with a friend who always gave me exactly what I needed when I needed it.  What a blessing to be loved like that.  He never hissed, not once.  I never saw him raise a paw at anyone.   He was a treasure from the first moment I held him in my arms, till the last.   Phoenix will always and forever be special to me. 

4 Comments To "In Memory of Phoenix Bolles"

Tamra A. Bolles On Apr 11 2019
Thank you to those who commented. Occasionally, these tributes pop up on my computer, and it brings me back to those times I shared with a beloved pet that are so very missed, and it helps me feel more connected to others who have shared the same loss and understand why it's so deeply felt. I wish all of you who have lost a fur friend the comfort and joy that comes from remembering all of the lessons that each one teaches us from their hearts. Reply to this comment
Richard Hamel On Sep 24 2018
Phoenix sounds to have been one amazing little trooper. One of my cats, one with whom I was very close, died very suddenly yesterday without any warning. No one seems to understand and so I have been reading the tributes here, hoping to fill the gaping lonely void Puss left in my soul, and the shared tales of love and happiness like this one are helping me to feel a little less more stable for now. I'm glad that you were able to have three such beloved family members in your life for so long. May you all be together again one day with love eternal. Reply to this comment
Kaia Denham On Aug 02 2018
Thanks for your amazing tribute to Phoenix. What a wonderful companion to have for 21 long years. I'm sure he will be waiting for you when it's your turn to cross that Rainbow Bridge. Reply to this comment
Tamra A. Bolles On Sep 21 2018
Thanks for the comment, Kaia. I just happened to see this pop up on my computer, and so, I re-read the tribute from a year ago, around this time. I saw your comment next. Yes, 21 years, was an incredibly long time for this precious soul to grace my life. I still think of him. I think I always will, because some blessings in your life, change you, hopefully, for the better. Take care!
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