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I understand this blog's primary purpose is to convey my training and race endeavors, but you'll have to forgive me as I use it, this time, as a means to give closure and tribute to a friend who left me yesterday. My pets are my family, so I hope you'll understand...


Yesterday was a mashed potatoes—my comfort food—kind of day. For the past two weeks, my parents and I have watched my 18-year old barn kitty deteriorate and finally succumb to a cancer we’d thought we’d had completely removed seven years ago. Starbuck, a stray we’d taken in when our neighbors said she absolutely abhorred the life of living indoors, thrived on our 13-acre hobby farm. From the day she set foot on the Faulkenberry homestead, up until the last week of her life, she hunted mice, gophers, and squirrels like a true competitor. For this reason, for her drive and absolute devotion to what she did, I was proud to call her my cat. The four other strays that followed her and called our property home never could amount to what Starbuck was, even if all their efforts were combined.

Starbuck taught me a lot. From the time I started 4th grade, she’d join my brother, Ian, and me on any adventure we took through our woods and the neighboring woods across the street. When I still rode horses, she enjoyed sitting up top near the horn, straddled between my legs so she could peer over the top and through Conan’s (my horse’s) ears. In the evenings after feeding the rest of the animals—llamas, horses, ducks, chickens, and Peter (the rabbit)—we’d escape into the hay barn. I’d climb to the top of the bales and lie down, waiting for Bucky to follow and find her place on my chest. She’d become so focused on purring and making muffins in my shirt that I’d watch drool, drop for drop, fall down her chin. Not only was she a phenomenal hunter, but she could love you like no other cat ever could.

My dad said he’d miss the way Starbuck greeted him at the front door when he arrived home from work. I can picture the times she’d do the same for me, running from her hunting spot out in the fields to squeak her salutation and rub against my leg for a hug. I’ll never forget the way she’d saunter over with her tail shooting straight up to the sky. Except, the tip of her tail was always curled over, as if it were a hook on a clothes hanger.

Dear Bucky, you will be sorely missed. Your little body held such great authority among all the animals on the Faulkenberry farm. You gave to your humans more than any of us could have asked for, especially me. I didn’t have as many friends growing up in school, but I didn’t need them when I had my animals—like you—to come home to. I hope you’ve found the Rainbow Bridge, and please look for me when it’s my turn to enter the gates of Heaven. I’d sure love your company as we explore God’s great sanctuary, together once again.


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