I'm sad to report that my pal Burbank departed this world on June 16th, 2010. He was suffering from a brain tumor that was causing him paralysis on the right side of his body, and he was clearly in pain. Having to decide to euthanize him was the most difficult decision I've ever had to make. Though he was clearly suffering, I do wonder if I'll be haunted by this decision for the rest of my days.
He is survived by me, Marya, and his brother Mr. Binklesworth Trevor York St. Kitt the Third.
The name Burbank came from the first Lethal Weapon movie - Burbank was the name of Danny Glover's character's cat. Spiffers was my twist on the name that came from the recurring character played by Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes: Spaceman Spiff. "The Cat" came from an episode of Ren and Stimpy when Ren the chihuahua tried to convince the prize patrol that he was Stimpy the cat, recipient of 47 million dollars. He yelled to them "I'm THE CAT!!!" Thus Burbank became "The Cat". Click here to hear this. And Farmer is my last name.
I cannot overemphasize how important a role he had in my life during the twelve years we had together. I still remember the day I got him as if it was yesterday. He saw me through some of the toughest times I'd been through in my life. I don't know if he ever knew what he meant to me, or how much we really understood each other, but my life is immeasurably better having had him in it.
Though a fairly strict carnivore (he liked grass, catnip, and an occasional chunk of Twin Oaks tofu), I credit him for my compassion for all animal life. Because of him I began pondering my hypocrisy in enjoying him as a friend while eating other animals. It wasn't until 9 years later that I became a vegetarian (1.5 years later becoming vegan), but I credit him for planting the seed.
Many have told me he was lucky to have such a great father and others have told me that I was lucky to have him as an owner. I never looked at it that way. To me he was my best friend, and we had twelve great years of taking good care of each other.
I collected his ashes today from the vet, who'd received them back from a pet crematorium. The ashes came in a nice wooden box that I gingerly carried home. I carried them past barking dogs. With tears streaming down my face, I whispered to the box "I bet you don't worry about these guys anymore."