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Tucker came to live with my family in the summer of 2006. He was found on the side of the road with a small head injury, a stray who looked to have fallen from a passing vehicle, and my sister fell in love with him instantly. It wasn’t hard for her to convince Dad to bring the little orange tabby home.

Though he was ostensibly an outdoor cat, my sisters and I found every reason we could to keep in inside with us. We wanted him to be close to us, and he felt the same way. He would sit outside our back porch door meowing for someone to take pity on him, even on the nicest of summer evenings. I would bring him inside, letting him fall asleep in my bed, curled up against the back of my legs.

He was a smart cat, and took to small-town life fabulously. He didn’t have a litterbox in the house, so he would wake me up with a nip at my eyebrow or wrist so that I could let him out. If I wanted to go get the mail, or pick up a can of Mountain Dew at the local gas station, Tucker would walk with me, or ride on my shoulders, or in the hood of my sweatshirt. At the time, it was the closest I’d ever been to having a pet that was mine. We’d had other cats, dogs, rabbits, etc. but they all belonged either to the family or to one of my sisters. Tucker, though, was my responsibility.

I hated to leave him behind when I went to college. My parents and little sister would give me updates on him when I would call home. On my trips back to my parents’ house, he would be let back inside to spend time with me. During Christmas break, he would spend hours crawling around in the boxes I’d brought home from school.

In short, the little dude was one of my best friends during the years that he spent with us.

Five years ago, I recieved news that Tucker had died. It was a very sudden passing, and we suspect that his head injury as a kitten might have been an underlying cause. Whatever the reason, his death hit me very hard.

Today, I went looking for a writing prompt, and found one that talked about writing a story about an animal. I realized that today was the anniversary of Tucker’s death, and I knew I had to write a little piece about him. I started this blog a couple of weeks after he died, and never really acknowledged that loss here until now, when he’s been gone longer than he was actually with us. So here’s to you, little guy. I miss you like crazy.

Tucker

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