In Memory of Laney – April 2, 2021
It is with very heavy hearts that we have to announce the passing of our dear sweet Laney. For those of you who have been following her story, you know that she had been through a lot. Although she only graced this world for 14 weeks, she left a mark on a lot of hearts and on our organization as a whole. Laney represented everything about the SFC mission. Saying good-bye was so incredibly difficult. Her light shined bright and filled our world with her grace. The truth is that no amount of time would have felt like enough. But we also know that we gave her the very best that could be offered while she was here.
Laney was born without a rectum, a condition called Atresia Ani Type 3. She came to us when she was 7 weeks old and she weighed less than a pound. She was extremely tiny. The only hope she had for survival was a surgery where they would create a connection from colon to anus. But Laney also had other complications. We do not know if it was part of a birth defect or the result of an injury but when she came to us, she could not use her back legs properly. But it was clear from day one that Laney was full of life and not ready to leave this world quite yet. So, we set out to try and help her.
Surgery was done at Cornell University of Veterinary Medicine by Dr. Daniel Lopez. It was an extremely difficult surgery with an uncertain outcome. The only certainty was that an entire team of humans all gathered and focused their hearts and their skills on one little one pound kitten with a huge spirit. Surgery was a success. She not only survived, but she came home the day after and began to eat solid food for the first time in her life. She was not out of the woods by any means. Each day she crossed another hurdle. Two weeks into recovery, she even started to use her back legs and we saw great hope that she would also be able to walk again. We sat and watched her one evening, walk normally for several minutes. She played, chased toys, and she loved her meals served to her every few hours even through the middle of the night. More than anything, she fully understood how much she was loved.
Laney got to experience life in those few weeks in all of its blessings and exuberance. She was a calico and she had the calico spunk and attitude. Meaning when things didn’t go exactly her way, she was not shy to express herself. In turn, she brought all of us great joy as we watched her heal and blossom. Her little body could barely contain the light within her. She would look us in the eyes intently and hold our gaze. It felt magical somehow.
In the past couple of days, suddenly things changed. While she had started to pass stool and things seemed to be progressing nicely, the reality was that she wasn’t passing enough. Sadly, more testing showed that her colon did not have the motility needed to move stool on through. Medication therapy was not successful. Her tiny little body wasn’t growing because she could not assimilate nutrients as she should have. We were losing her, and it became clear that there was nothing more we could do to fix this problem.
It is always our mission to listen to each animal for what they need and to understand when they’ve had enough. We had reached that sometimes fine but clear line of when we were doing something for her and when we’d be doing something to her just because we could. These are always very tough discussions here. But we listen to the animal and let them guide us. Laney was filled with love. She was overflowing with joy. She had also done all that she could in that body. No one ever wants to think it’s over when life barely began for her. But her journey in this body was finished. We put our heartbreak aside and we held her with love and gratitude in our hearts for all that she had brought to all of us. The team of people that rallied around her and loved her is huge. One big circle of cheerleaders who wanted nothing more than to see her grow up and even to face her opinionated side as we went along. But that was not her journey. The outcome didn’t look like we wanted it to look. But in the end, Laney’s courageous journey was a complete success. She found amazing love in this life. Short, but chocked full of total love focused completely on her day and night.
Yes, our hearts are breaking. But we can look at her photo and see those eyes and our hearts still fill with the mighty bright light that filled her every cell. We do not regret one decision we made with her on this journey. We do wish it could have been longer. And we all hope our paths will cross again.
There are so many people who we thank for all they gave and did for Laney. From the entire medical team at Cornell University, to every one of her caretakers here at SFC. And with special mention to our Co-Founder, Bonnie who got up with Laney through the night every single night since Laney arrived to be sure that she was fed and cleaned and loved around the clock, and to our own staff veterinarian and Director of Animal Welfare, Dr. Christine who put her entire heart and soul into Laney’s care.
We hold you in our hearts forever Laney. And we are grateful for all you brought to us.