As promised, this post will provide some updates as to what Nevin and I have been doing in 2015 thus far. The reason that there was such a lull in posting came from a few different factors. The first was that I decided to apply to PhD programs in Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology and spent almost the entirety of late January – late February interviewing. I was very fortunate to be able to travel around the United States and meet some renowned professors from fantastic universities. Following this whirlwind of travel, I needed to decide where I wanted to go! That’s where Nevin and the cats came in. We narrowed it down to 2 places: Northwestern or Emory. We needed to be close to a high-traffic airport for Nevin’s work, and both those schools definitely met that criteria and were the best research matches for me. But, after looking around at my sweet boys (all 3 of them) and seeing just how cold and miserable they were from the last winter in Boston (we got 10 feet+ of snow– it was actually traumatizing), I knew we needed to get out of the Northeast and that type of climate. So due to this (and obviously research match and the fact that I was/am obsessed with my mentor), we chose Emory.

This was still only in February. So you are probably thinking — okay, so why didn’t you post anything in March? Well, unfortunately, my work at MGH went psychotic as we were pressed to meet deadlines for an insanely innovative and awesome mental health project sponsored by the DOD. What this meant was that I (alongside one of my old coworkers — miss you Sam) worked 7 days a week for about 2 months straight. I was exhausted. Nevin and I cooked on the weekends during these dark times, as I normally went in around 6AM and was back by 4PM those days (my shortest days by hours), but just couldn’t do it during the week — and even if we did, there was no time to write about it. But let me be clear — while I was exhausted from work, it should be noted that I am SO grateful for my time at MGH — I was involved in so many amazing projects and was able to develop so many skills that are serving me well as I embark on my graduate studies.

Okay so this brings us to June. I left MGH in the middle of June and the 4 of us (Nevin, Han, Chewie and me) moved down to HOTLANTA. It was a long drive (about 17 hours) but Han and Chewie were SO good. They rode with me and were such sweetie pies. They were so relaxed because they were with each other.

There were like this most of the ride. Just cuddling and napping! Chewie is on the left and Han is on the right.
They were like this most of the ride. Just cuddling and napping! Chewie is on the left and Han is on the right.

We started getting settled after a huge moving debacle and were finally feeling at home. In July, Nevin and I travelled to Bali, Indonesia to celebrate his 30th birthday and our 3 year anniversary! It was an incredible trip. I will be sure to post some pictures another time so you can get a glimpse at how beautiful the island is. Then, the end of July, I started working in my lab. Since then, I’ve been getting settled, trying to get the feel of things and balance all my new responsibilities. I should have written a post a few months ago, but it’s hard to get back into it after some time away. But here I am.

On August 15th, Nevin and I impulsively adopted a kitten (YES our THIRD cat- we are embracing being crazy cat people) and named her Leia. It took a few days, but Han and Chewie eventually accepted her and started loving her. Han was particularly drawn to her (but we expected that — after all, we’ve seen the franchise). Here’s a picture of that cutie when we brought her home :thumb_IMG_5176_1024

Yes, she’s beautiful. We were in cat heaven, surrounded by 3 amazing animals with such different and wonderful personalities.

But then, on October 15th, tragedy struck. My sweet, sweet baby boy, Chewie didn’t run over to get his food in the morning, which was extremely abnormal, as he was always incredibly food motivated (just like his mama). I ran to see if he was OK, and to make sure I hadn’t trapped him in a closet or anything. It was then that I found him on the bathroom floor, struggling to catch his breath. Luckily, Nevin had just returned from a business trip, so he also rushed over. Chewie then let out a horrific scream. I immediately picked him up and noticed that his legs were limp. We knew something was wrong. We called the vet, put him the carrier, and started driving. Unfortunately, Chewie didn’t survive the car ride. He passed away about 10-15 minutes after his first distressed meow due to congestive heart failure. The vet tried to revive him, but my poor baby was unresponsive. Apparently, he had an undetected heart condition and went into complete heart failure, unable to recover from that trauma. We were devastated.

We had Chewie cremated and were given some wonderful keepsakes by both the vet and the crematorium, but most importantly we have our memories.  Chewie was my baby and not a day goes by that we don’t miss him, but it’s getting easier. It’s also lucky that we were so impulsive and got Leia, because she is really helping Han handle these tough times. It is so great that he is not alone.

Because Chewie and Han were litter-mates, we took Han in to see a cardiology specialist to determine if he had a similar congenital heart condition. Luckily, Han’s heart is great. We also contacted the shelter who adopted them out and got in touch with the owner who adopted their other brother, so that she could get him looked at. I haven’t heard from her yet, but am hoping that no news is good news and that her kitty is healthy as can be.

I’m sorry to end on such a low note, but our hearts still ache. Stay tuned for a more upbeat “In Memoriam” style post which will honor and celebrate Chewie’s short but special 2 years with us.

Thanks for reading!

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