A few days after we moved into the house on Sierra Road in April of 1983, Bootsie came trotting in, looking about for his food dish. He was happy as an outside cat, and would sometimes disappear for a few days at a time.
On December 24th, 1985, I noticed him outside and greeted him, but I noticed that something appeared to be wrong with his face. Looking more closely, I was horrified to see that his lower jaw was hanging loosely from his head. I rushed him to the local vet, who told me that he did not have the skills to fix Bootsie, but that he knew a vet in Berkeley who might be able to do the trick. I took Bootsie back home while the vet tried to reach his colleague in Berkeley. Meanwhile, I called Kathy to discuss what we should do. Our finances were in desperate shape and Kathy set an upper limit of $500 on any treatment he was to receive.
The first vet got back to me in the afternoon and advised that the Berkeley vet would see me at 4:00. I placed Bootsie in a box and drove to Berkeley. I tried to explain to Bootsie what was happening but he couldn’t understand me; it was so frustrating.
The vet took him back to the examination room and came back a little while later and said that he could attempt to repair the damage, but it would cost $1500 and had only a 50-50 chance of success. I sighed with relief, “I’m glad it’s so high, it makes the decision easier.” The vet with some irritation defended his price; I tried to explain that I wasn’t complaining. I agreed to have Bootsie euthanized. I still tear up thinking about it. Later that year, I designed a game about talking to animals. The main character I named “Siboot”.