We got Gary in April 2002.
We drove out to a little farm in Maryland, three hours from our apartment in Alexandria, Virginia. When we got there I saw another lady holding him, hmming and ahhing trying to decided if he was the kitten she wanted. Well, we knew right away!
He was so delightfully orange, and had a spunky personality. As soon as she set him down we snatched him up, paid the lady $30, and ran out the door. He was our first kitten, our first little baby. I fed him pieces of hot dog on the drive home, trying to get him to like me, and we slowly fell in love.
His name started out as Pippin, we were rather obsessed with Lord of the Rings at the time. But it never stuck, he didn't really come when we called him. So as a joke, we started to call him Gary (SpongeBob's snail from my old favorite cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants).
He loved it, and came scampering over the very first time we called him.
From then on, he was always Gary.
He was such a silly cat.
And didn't seem to mind living in a tiny 800 square foot apartment.
Although he was a little neurotic.
But we loved him all the more for it. He was so fun to play with.
He survived the move out to California, and loved living in a bigger house.
He kept me company while Jason was gone on the boat for months (and months), and he finally had his first taste of living outside. He would meow to go outside all day, until I finally let him. He would spend his days lounging around outside, patrolling the neighborhood, and then when he got bored come home again at night.
He never really strayed too far from home.
He loved us too much ;)
Silly ol' Gary. You really were so funny.
He let us dress him up for Halloween!
And for Christmas!
He wasn't too sure of the babies, at first...
But once he figured out they weren't going anywhere, he learned to love them,
or tolerate them....or lets face it, hide from them.
Clark really did love Gary, so much.
Gary barely survived the move out to Hawaii, literally. He almost died few weeks after we got him from the airport. He developed a urinary tract infection, due to all the stress, and we found him half dead under the shed. After a late night trip to the kitty ER, and $1700 later, he was on the mend...but forever changed. He was more grumpy after that, not playful anymore. He depended on us for food and a little affection, but he didn't really like us anymore... and it only got worse when we had the kids. We couldn't let him get too stressed, or he would get sick again, so we let him live outside where he seemed to be happier.
I am not sure we would ever spend that kind of money on a pet again, especially now that we have (real) kids. But we were homesick, and just spent $400 to fly him to Hawaii, AND I was newly pregnant with Clark and very hormonal, he was my first baby after all. He got a second chance.
It was for this reason that we decided to leave him in Hawaii.
I didn't think he could manage another plane ride, let alone a road trip across the country (he hated driving). I didn't want to chance it, and risk his life... knowing that if he got sick we wouldn't have to money to help him. Our friends and neighbors graciously offered to keep him. They are good people, and already have a lot of pets, so I know they are taking good care of him.
It was so hard to pack up and leave him there, we feel guilty about it everyday, especially when Clark asks for him. But in the long run I know it is better for Gary... He gets to spend his kitty retirement lounging in the sun, enjoying the beautiful weather, chasing geckos in HAWAII!
We should all be so lucky.
Clark giving Gary his last hug.
(Ignore Clark's dirty face. It was moving day, so we let him run wild and crazy...which resulted in a lot of dirt.)
Clark loved playing with the cat so much. From an early age he would seek Gary out, to chase him and love him. He was so sad when we said goodbye, he cried for hours.
It was so heart-breakingly sad.
So long Gary, old pal.
We honestly do miss you, so much!
You were the best cat, ever.
One last picture.
Gary loved this little ducky. For the first 4 years of his life we always had to make sure we had plenty of back-up duckies, in case he lost or destroyed the last one.
This was my favorite Gary, the fun-loving lets chase my ducky into the bag Gary, he was the best.