Tough day. We buried the kitten this evening.
Middle Munchkin has been quite the veterinarian this week. She amazed us with her dedication and devotion to this poor little critter. I actually thought for a while that the little thing might pull through, but after the initial bit of perkiness we saw upon getting rid of the fleas ... it just slowly seemed to fade away. The vet said severe anemia, as in this case, in animals so small is often just too much to overcome.
I've had moments of wishing I'd never brought it home, but I've probably spent more time being awed by the amazing person my daughter is. She spent the week reading from a Merck Veterinary Manual that she checked out at the library. (Actually, I think she'd gotten the manual before the kitten, but the kitten gave her definite focus and renewed interest.) She fed it by hand, sat with it for hours on end, and did her best to make sure it was eating and drinking multiple times per day. As much as I hate to see her broken heart, I know her heart has grown through this experience, as well.
I encourage her to think not of what she has lost, but what she has given. A small kitten spent its last week being loved and well cared for. It purred. It curled its little body onto her lap and slept. It's a far better end than it was headed toward. Far better than dying alone in that gutter.
She says now it is free. It has a chance to be reborn as a kitten again. I think she is right.
Tonight we buried the kitten. Tomorrow we will likely spend time making an elaborate stone for its grave. Life will go on and there will be other kittens to make us smile, other heartbreaks ... bumps along the road that show us just exactly what we're made of.