Jasper was the first kitten we acquired after the Fire. Since Dave the Cat had been the conflagration's only survivor, we intended for Jasper to be a companion kitty for Dave.
Donna and I answered an ad in the newspaper for a free kitten and only had to pick up a small orange and white tabby and then bring him to the vet. We called him Jasper because it was his traditional birthstone, and his eyes were green.
Heather brought us Clyde a few months later, who became Dave's buddy and did and still does all Dave did, except for riding a bicycle, and Clyde only leaves the property to see the vet. Clyde has probably spent at least as much time on my shoulders as Dave did, but indoors, and at his every opportunity.
Jasper was a well-mannered cat and lived with us for thirteen years before seriously beginning to lose weight, and so we took him to the vet, where tests confirmed a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism, a common geriatric feline ailment. We were prescribed a pill a day for him for the duration of Jasper's life, which unfortunately was only another three months.
Jasper passed away on the way to the vet Saturday morning, in a topless short-sided cardboard box on the front passenger seat of my car while driving on Ocala Road. We made a slow turnaround toward home and I called the vet to let them know.
It was the first time I didn't have to do all the digging. Dylan did most of the excavation in the back yard, and Donna and all three of our grandsons, Dylan, Gabriel and Caleb, attended Jasper's final farewell.
Dr. Hall called to express condolences and we received a nice sympathy card from the Westwood Animal Hospital, where Dave always went.
Rest in peace, Jasper, and thanks.