Silas may be gone, but his voice is still being heard
Pvt. Silas Goodrich, 2001–2018.

Silas may be gone, but his voice is still being heard

An obituary for a beloved cat raises $3,700-plus for the Windham County Humane Society

BELLOWS FALLS — Making the decision to end the life of an elderly pet is excruciating.

To help deal with the impending demise of my beloved small, yellow cat of 18 years, Pvt. Silas Goodrich, I started to compose an obituary for him.

Silas must have had at least some Siamese in him, for his primary joy in life was to walk into a room and complain about it. Over the years I dealt with the racket by ascribing to Silas a passionate conviction about issues of the day - passionate convictions in direct opposition to mine.

Silas had his own Facebook page, which I managed for him, so it was easy to revisit highlights of his life. His final afternoon, as his strength waned and we sat by the woodstove, I typed away on this tribute to him, and he made minor suggestions as to edits.

When the time came later that day and the deed was done (bless the Rockingham Veterinary Clinic for doing house calls), I posted the tribute to Silas's Facebook page, adding, almost as an afterthought, a donation button.

Bobby Jindal's charity of choice being unknown to me, I figured the local humane society would be an appropriate beneficiary. And, as people had enjoyed hearing of Silas's adventures over the years, perhaps we could raise a couple hundred bucks for a good cause.

To my utter delight and astonishment, since his death on Nov. 8, Silas has raised over $3,700 for the Windham County Humane Society.

He didn't come from there, he never went there, and it would annoy him to no end that a bunch of animals that he had never met would benefit from his largesse.

But so it goes. The WCHS is local and does good work, and I've never met an animal shelter that couldn't use the money.

To that end, I urge readers to visit Silas's page on Facebook and toss in any amount: $5, $20, whatever is comfortable. Raising funds that one knows will improve the quality of life of other animals and their humans is a wonderful salve to the crushing sadness one feels at the loss of a pet.

I've also been thrilled that several folks have insisted that they want me to write their obituary. I don't know about that, but I'm willing to deal. If readers facing the same situation I just did are wanting to raise funds for their local humane society, if time allows, I'd be happy to help them write a tribute to their animal. Just drop me a line at [email protected].

Silas may be gone, but his voice is still being heard. Thanks so much.

* * *

Obituary: Pvt. Silas Goodrich, c. Feb. 1, 2001–Nov. 8, 2018: Secure in the knowledge that beloved Texas Senator Ted Cruz had won re-election, and that Attorney General Jeff Sessions (whom he never trusted) has been fired, Pvt. Silas Goodrich, age 17 years and 10 months, shuffled off this mortal coil Thursday, Nov. 8.

Attending were longtime companion York (who lay next to him as the dose was administered), vets Brandi Smith DVM and Vinnie DiBernardo VMD (who could not have been more gentle), and the-round-headed-kid-who-brings-him-food, Charles (who patted him while weeping unhelpfully).

The cause of death was incipient kidney failure, helped along with a generous push-out-the-window by the attendant humans.

Without his knowledge or consent, Goodrich amassed a cult following late in life due to the popularity of a sticker bearing his visage that began appearing around his hometown.

A private cat, he shunned attention of almost any kind, with the exception of a deep fondness for his morning brushing. He preferred the appearance of his hind quarters to that of his face, and had he known about the stickers, he likely would have preferred that that portion of his anatomy be featured.

Named after an obscure member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Goodrich's namesake was notable for two accomplishments: being the best fisherman of the entire Corps of Discovery and also for contracting more venereal diseases during the winter of 1804-05 at the Mandan Villages than any other voyager.

Goodrich, a lifelong resident of Bellows Falls, was born in early 2001 and was initially slated for kittenhood drowning prior to being rescued by his humans and adopted by his “mother,” Meriwether, whose own litter had recently been subject to a forced diaspora.

Meriwether predeceased him in late 2008.

In early 2009, he met his longtime companion, York. Since then, the two have gone on many backyard adventures together and appear, in most photographs, to be conjoined at the hip.

Although of limited intelligence (laser pointers were somewhat beyond his grasp), Pvt. Silas Goodrich was a cat of great convictions. He loved, at least when warm and sunny, “The Otsid,”a backyard of Edenic proportions, uneasily shared with neighbor cats and not-quite-to-be-trusted members of the Lynch and Harty households.

Although otherwise generally disappointed by his surroundings, Goodrich enjoyed sleeping by radiators, patches of sunlight, York, and the woodstove. He was fond of “the gud fud” and of occasionally (and proudly) hunting mice. When successful, Goodrich was always careful to leave at least a portion of each rodent at a spot where his humans were likely to step on it.

Goodrich's political tastes were eclectic. An early and somewhat inexplicably ardent supporter of former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal before turning to Donald Trump in 2016, Goodrich also variously supported the re-election of George W. Bush, Occupy Hadley Street, the Tea Party (“Don't Tread on Me” was a favorite slogan) and - somewhat surprisingly - embraced Muslim fundamentalism for several months in 2005.

“It was always interesting having a conversation with Silas,” said long-time housekeeper Charlie Hunter. “You never knew what cause he'd all of a sudden embrace. But when he did, he would be all in.”

A memorial service and interment of ashes in The Otsid, near where Goodrich spent many sullen hours sitting amongst the hostas, will be scheduled in the future.

In lieu of flowers and mouse body parts, the family requests those who wish to honor a feline life well-lived make a donation to the Windham County Humane Society in Goodrich's name.

Those desiring a SLAS sticker (for that is how he spelled it) are asked to make a donation, however small, then to let us know the address to which we are to send the sticker.

“Some cats see things as they are and ask 'why,'” said Hunter. “Silas, on the other hand, saw things that never were and also asked 'why.' Repeatedly, loudly, and usually in the middle of the night.”

He will be missed.

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