by Dr. Jody Kaufman

CamilleShe had been with us since the ice storm. A good Samaritan found her wandering on North Road in Brentwood, thought she'd been hit by a car, and brought her to the clinic. It was a reasonable assumption — she was blind and had hemorrhage inside one eye. She was clearly not a stray: elderly, sweet, arthritic; there was no way she could have been living out on her own.

We made numerous phone calls — to the animal shelter, to all the surrounding veterinary clinics, to people who lived on North Road, and to the town offices, to see if anyone was missing a petite tortoiseshell cat; all to no avail. We treated her high blood pressure and her eyes, waiting for her people to show up. They never did. Brandy and Lindsay named her Camille.

She adjusted to her new environment, purring every time she was petted or picked up, which was often. She strolled around the back areas of the clinic during quiet times. When she bumped into doors or walls, she'd calmly turn and walk in a different direction.

Camille took a turn for the worse a couple of months ago, showing severe neurological signs. We assumed that she'd either had a stroke or a brain tumor. I suspected the latter, since the hemorrhage in the back of her eye had never resolved. We started her on anti-inflammatory medication and waited a few hours to see if there was a response; we weren't going to let her suffer. Miraculously, she rallied. Any thoughts we had about trying to find her an adoptive home disappeared; we knew she was on borrowed time.

She did quite well until about a week ago, when she became weak and had trouble moving her rear legs. Dr. Raaf took her home for the weekend, and she seemed to improve. But a few days later it was clear that she was not going to regain her former vigor. We helped her leave this life that had become such a struggle.

It's amazing how attached we all became to this sweet, gentle soul. I know that her original people must have worried about her and missed her. We will miss her as well.