I moved to NYC almost 15 years ago because of love. He ended up falling short, but one of the best things that ever happened to me came from that relationship. On one Valentines Day, he gave me something I had always wanted since I was little girl, a pet. In February 1998, I met 2-year-old Sabrina at the Bideawee Shelter in Manhattan when she jumped in my lap, pranced around, and nuzzled her black nose against my head. She had been abandoned with a dog in a cleared out penthouse apartment in Battery Park and had been found starved. For the rest of her life, Sabrina would eat her food like it was the last meal of her life, sticking her entire head in the bowl of food and then shaking the food off her face everywhere she went when she was done.
Yesterday, Sabrina sadly and unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack. One moment, I was arguing with someone over email and the second, I was running the 6 blocks to the emergency vet here in Cobble Hill. For the last 13 years, she was with me through every NYC adventure, man, friend, job, triumph, and heartache. Sabrina was ABSOLUTELY everything you would want a pet to be- loyal, affectionate, friendly. You name what you want in a pet, and she was it. Lots of stories come to mind.
– When she watched over me obsessively when I was sick for a week and I pretended it wasn’t just because she was really worried about her food source.
– When she jumped into an open wall during construction in my apartment and got stuck. My ex made a call and 5 NYC firemen crowded in my closet-size bathroom (he had clout, not Klout) and talked with her through the wall.
– When she hissed at a boyfriend that everyone told me I should like more than I did- one of two times she ever hissed at anyone.
There are lots of great things about NYC, but a flip side of all its fun is that it’s hard to remember you’re a grown-up woman and when hard things happen, it hits you like a rock. It’s easy to do the minimum here, like eating at one of 5,000 nice restaurants, drinking with friends and surrounding yourself with little girl problems like a relationship that isn’t going anywhere with a man you don’t even care for that much. Now that I own my business, I primarily deal with woman problems, but it’s still hard not to keep yourself in the comfort zone of girlhood. When I adopted Sabrina at 22, the shelter representative asked, “Cats live for about 15 years. Taking care of this cat and managing her health requires you to be an adult. Are you sure you’re ready to make the commitment?” I thought about myself at 36, and signed the papers. Now that I’m really 36, I realize I had no idea what the representative truly meant, but it was still one of the best decisions I ever made.
I know it will be hard adjusting to not having her greet me at the door like the dog friend I never met taught her to do. Give your pet an extra hug today. S/he will love you for it and so will I.