Goodbye, Serena!

Serena Picnic Table River JunctionHello and welcome to the blog.  It is with the heaviest of hearts that I must pass along this news.  Kitty Serena died this morning after an overnight crisis, likely from the complications of aging kidneys.  She will be so missed!

Serena Matilda Harris (16.5 years old) was born in Cedar Rapids.  She was a present for my 33rd birthday.  We first met at Pet’s Playhouse – a favorite pet store.  My roommate and I had paused to pet her and she suddenly leaped from her cage, sinking razor sharp claws into my shoulder.  After returning her to the “cell”, she quickly jumped out again… determined to spend the rest of her life with me.  And a long, happy life it was.

Serena_DashboardThe other day I started adding up the number of trout streams Serena visited and realized she’s been fishing with me at nineteen different streams and two rivers, spanning many counties and four states.  She was a well-traveled cat.  Always eager to explore, she has gone ahead of me this time… and if there is an after life for cats, she’s already checking things out.

Serena LeavesNext week Jesse and I will be traveling to northeast Iowa to a favorite spot where Serena loved to camp.  I am going to hike to a remote area and plant a glass cross.  It had been leftover from one of Mom’s funeral flowers and has ridden in the van for nearly the entire time we’ve camped.  This will be a special place where my little kitty can remembered.  As for Serena’s body, it will be cremated, stored in an urn, and she will ride in the van.  A special collage jigsaw puzzle featuring different pictures of her life is being created and I’m sending a copy to her “Uncle” Johnnie Dill of Muscatine.  He took the loss as hard as I.

Serena flowersI wish to thank Dr. Brian Darrow at the Anamosa Vet Clinic for helping try to save this little doll and for giving me a couple of extra weeks to say goodbye.  I treasured every moment with her and right up to the end, she knew me.  But her sudden overnight decline was irreversible and making her suffer was not an option.  She was one heck of a cat.

Rest in peace my “Pretty Princess”.

Thank you for following the blog and please continue to accompany my new “First Officer” Jesse James and I.  He’s got a lot of days of camping ahead of him and I think he’ll do a fine job.  We know how much he loves fish already.  He and Serena were inseperable.  At least Jesse and I have that in common.

Take care.

Bradford and Jesse James
Jones County, Iowa.


About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Goodbye, Serena!

  1. Don says:

    Sorry to hear about Serena. One does get awfully attached to one’s pets. At least the good ones and yours both sound pretty great.

  2. Laurie says:

    I am so sorry for your loss…as for her life, I don’t think she could have found a better family anywhere.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thank you Laurie. She was definitely loved. Everynight she would give me a nose kiss. When I went to work she expected one… She was something else. 🙂

  3. Sunday says:

    I am truly sorry for your loss.

  4. Oh, no, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. Take care!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thank you. I was with her when they put her down. Last night something happened and she became sightless and could not hold her head up this morning. There was little choice but to accompany her. It was difficult but seemed the right thing to do. She’s better off now. Jesse is mourning too. Life will go on eventually.

      • It is the hardest decision but it was her time to go. You cared for her well and now it is time to care for yoursell, and Jesse of course.

        • VanTrekker says:

          Thanks Viking Girl. There is some time off coming up and I’m up to the same old thing…figuring out to go camping, planning something yummy for Jesse and I to eat, some places to see. We’re both doing great. Take care and thanks for visiting! — VT

  5. LAguy says:

    So sorry. You explained and documented her life well.

  6. my_vantasy says:

    I am so saddened to read about Serena’s passing. You gave her the best possible life with all of the camping and vanning…she got to experience so much more than most kitties! Take time to comfort Jesse and I’m sure he is trying to comfort you. I have all three of you in my thoughts and prayers. It is just so hard to lose a furry friend. I have been there, too.

  7. Tina says:

    I am sorry for you. I know how much you loved her, it came through every page of your blog. I’m glad she didn’t suffer. You did the right thing. Wishing you happy memories of her and good fishing.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks Tina. She really owned a place of my heart and it was difficult to put her down… When we lived in the country in the van, Serena came out and greeted me each night after work. I’ve never had such a loyal, loving cat. Jesse is going to get the same chances to enjoy the outdoors. I’m working on some plans for next week to give him some opportunities to play to his heart’s content and, of course, enjoy some freshly grilled food.

  8. shadowmoss says:

    Saying goodby to pets is part of loving them. I have you all in my thoughts. I’ve just started in the last year with 2 young cat guys, and even now I know that I should outlive them. But I enjoy every day I come home and they are there to greet me.

    I enjoy your blog a lot. I appreciate your attitude and especially your appreciation for what you have, rather than lamenting what others might have that you don’t. You help lift me up when I read.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thank you for the kind words. It’s true how happy we are when we are thankful for those things that we do have and can be stewards of. I was speaking with the neighbor the other day and we agreed how blessed we are to each have a decent trailer house that is paid for and comfortable. So many people in the world have no shelter… and so many people are deep in debt and miserable and will never be satisfied.

      Jesse James is starting to perk up. He’s a great cat and we’re going to enjoy many good years. It’s tough losing a pet but if there was no death we might not treasure life quite as much.

  9. Meg says:

    I saw the title of this post on my RSS feed and knew right away what it was about, but it’s still sad to read. Your Re-Re was about the same age as my Maxwell, who also died from failing kidneys.

    Torties are special and I know Serena was to you, and I know you and Jesse will miss her. I’m glad you still have Jesse though – and he still has you. Take care of yourselves, and RIP Serena.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thanks Meg. Jesse is acting lost but it’s drawn us both closer. Life will go on. I held a tiny kitten on Saturday and thought about how much it could change my life and I might do the same. She’s gone but not forgotten! Take care.

  10. Pleinguy says:

    Serena was a special critter. Glad you included her in your posts. Hope your memories of her will soothe not having her around anymore. Take care.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thank you for the kind words. I’ve got hundreds of pictures and many fond memories. They will endure. She sure was a character.

  11. Jo says:

    Brad so very sorry to read this. Serena sure did have a long and happy life with you. She sure did chose you way back when and the love you shared with her will never be forgotten. Bless her little heart and I know she crossed over the grassy streams she loved so well.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Thank you Jo. I’ve never been close to anyone in my life like that cat. I can only imagine what it would be to lose a spouse or child. But all wounds heal and good memories endure.

  12. todd says:

    Hello Brad,

    I hadn’t stopped by your website for quite a while. That is because I had big health setbacks and other struggles.

    But today you came to mind. I stopped by and this is when I first learned of your loss.

    My condolences.

    I imagine that dear little Serena “has been, and ever shall be … your friend.”


    • VanTrekker says:

      It is good to hear from you Todd! Sorry to hear about the health setbacks. I hope you are doing well. Never have truer, more comforting words been said than that Star Trek quote. Serena was a fun little girl and so full of life. She exemplified the van dwelling lifestyle with class. Now I have a younger kitty to indoctrinate. Take care!