His little stump of a tail was healing nicely. With the sudden loss, Noel walked funny with his stump and rump sticking up.
There was discharge from Noel's eyes again and were fast getting infected. EJ was not sure what was the cause. Could it be flu, the shock of snipping the tail without anaesthesia or even possible irritation from the fleas he had earlier?
Another bottle of antibiotic eyedrops was obtained from his vet. His vet reminded EJ that Noel's persistent eye infection could be an indication that he probably had complications.
A few days later, Noel's abdomen became slightly distended and several bulges started to develop. He had little appetite and took a turn for the worse. EJ phoned long distance to Noel's vet who was back at his hometown celebrating Chinese New Year. According to symptoms EJ described, he said Noel was probably stepped on and that he would schedule Noel for an x-ray as soon as his clinic opened.
With two festivals, one after the other (Chinese New Year on 29 & 30 January 2006; Awal Muharram on 31 January 2006) and including weekends, it was an almost a week-long public holiday that year.
In desperation, EJ took Noel to a 24-hour animal hospital but nothing much could be done.
EJ was stroking his head when Noel drew his last breath on the night of Awal Muharram. Wrapped in EJ's old T-shirt which Noel loved to sleep in, early next morning when the air was cool with the rising sun at an angle, EJ buried Noel in the corner of the playground next to EJ's mom's house where the pet cats and animals were buried.
No tears were shed for Noel.
EJ's tears were all shed dry some years before when walking barefoot through the slums in India witnessing and trying to feel their life, their hardships, their sufferings.
Instead what EJ had were scratchy eyes and a huge painful lump in the throat. The same would happen during Christmas seasons especially whenever the song Noel was sung or the music played.
EJ is consoled that Noel is now at a beautiful place called Rainbow Bridge with EJ's and siblings' pet cats and animals guiding and keeping Noel company.
That's right! Noël is Not Alone! And never will be again!
Born 25 December 2005 (Christmas)
Died 31 January 2006 (Awal Muharram)
(From Wikipedia: Awal Muharram, the Islamic New Year is a cultural event which Muslims observe on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. Many Muslims use the day to remember the significance of this month, and the Hijra, or migration, Islamic prophet Muhammad made it to the city now known as Medina. For Shia Muslims, Muharram is a month of grief and sorrow because they mourn the death of Imam Hussain and his companions.)