Saturday, April 29, 2023

The end of an era. Won't be the same down the road :-(



15 March 2010 - 21 April 2023  


Hailey and I made it home last week, after another six months on the road.  But all was not well.  Hailey has been dealing with various medical conditions for several years now, one of which required the amputation of one of her front legs four years ago.  Like every other challenge she faced, she did not let it slow her down.  Unfortunately, a tumour growing inside her reached a point of no return shortly after our return.  It was inevitable, but the timing was unknown.  I have been trying to give her the best possible life for the last few years, knowing that her time was running out.

Friday was her final day, we spent most of it with her curled up and napping on my chest.

This is not going to be a 'normal' blog post, detailing our travel and camping.  It is only going to be about
Hailey.  Feel free to skip the rest, if you are only looking for travel reports.

Hailey was born on an Alberta farm, as far as we know, about March 15, an only kitten!

She came home with me to Lake Louise, where I was then working in early May, without crying at all.
She was always very brave, and took everything life had to give, in stride.

Her very first camping trip up was up Revelstoke Lake in 2010.
She was so tiny that the pull of the retractable leash almost tipped her over!  And the harness had to be downsized a lot to keep it on her.

Later that fall, we moved out of Lake Louise, and she 'helped', by checking out every box, and inspecting every drawer!

She has always traveled well, and the next year we made a trip to the east coast of Canada, including the long ferry ride to Newfoundland. She was also unfazed by spending 3 days on a sailboat on the Bay of Fundy!

2011 was also our first visit to Padre Island in south Texas.

In 2013, I started summer work for Alberta Forestry, generally living in the 5th wheel, while managing fire camps.  But the work also involved short stints in various fire lookouts all over north central Alberta. 

She accompanied me to 11 different lookouts, several of them more than once.  In doing so, she became quite comfortable flying in helicopters, big and small.  She ended up with 13 such flights on her resume.

I'm pretty sure she enjoyed visiting them all, but she likely preferred the mountain-top lookouts where she could be right with me all day, while we both watched for smoke - and ground squirrels!

 Leafy porch at a fire tower cabin.

Chilling in a fly-in tower cabin north of Peace River
I think that smoke is right here - right where that thread is dangling!
If I can't climb the tower, I can still climb on the cabin roof!
Some of Hailey's rides! 

She even got the front seat in this one.

For the first 9 years of her life, she was a pretty normal cat, albeit well-traveled, if not particularly friendly!

She liked to climb trees.
She starred in a few Youtube videos, this might be her most famous one:

Then, in late 2018, her life got turned upside down, everything seemed to go wrong at once.  She went to the vet for a stomach ache, then she had mysterious sores on her tongue, and a massive infestation of ticks.  We practically lived at the vet in Fort Mohave, Az for three months.  She stopped eating entirely for two solid months.  All food and water had to be supplied by a feeding tube in her neck, many times a day.  The tick meds did not work.  She developed sores on her hind feet (still there 4 years later), developed a mystery sore on her front leg, which eventually resulted in an amputation.
One of the fire camps we visited wouldn't allow her indoors - so we camped outside in my tent.

She was my little girl, and faithful companion for 13 years.  I miss her dearly.  She will never be forgotten.  Ms Hailey