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Alberta autistic teen’s companion kitty Cookie passes away, but legacy lives on

Cat passed away on Innisfail’s teen’s 18 birthday; legacy fund to support financially challenged pet owners will continue

INNISFAIL – Cookie’s long battle against cancer is over.

The 17-year-old female mixed Siamese and Main Coon kitty, whose life was dedicated as a companion for autistic Innisfail teen Kenneth Griffith, passed away peacefully at 11;45 a.m. on June 10 at Innisfail Veterinary Services.

The kitty’s passing was on Kenneth’s 18th birthday.

Cookie was diagnosed two years ago with cancer, and it was hoped she would be able survive until at least Kenneth’s graduation on June 27 at Red Deer’s École Secondaire Notre Dame High School.

“She actually died of respiratory failure. Her lungs were giving out. We made the decision to let her go so that she wasn't in pain,” said Kenneth’s mother Sheri. “Right before she passed away she was playing with her toys. Dr. Rob (DeHaan) said she was such a sweet cat and that she had such a beautiful demeanor.

“She actually died with her head in Kenneth's hands.”

Cookie, who was born in Olds more than 17 years ago, has been with Kenneth since he was just over six-months old.

They have been inseparable since.

When Kenneth was 12, the relationship became even more special when he was diagnosed with autism.

When Cookie’s cancer was diagnosed in 2022 Kenneth came up with an idea to ensure his beloved kitty’s life would always have special meaning.

On May 31 Kenneth launched a palliative care fund for pets in Cookie’s memory called Cookie’s Love Til The End.

It’s a fund dedicated to financially challenged families who may need help to say goodbye to their beloved pets.

Kenneth started the legacy fund with $500 of his own savings, and it will be managed by Innisfail Veterinary Services.

“Kenneth has set aside even more money now to continue her legacy,” said Sheri. “It was intended to continue to keep helping families.”

In the meantime, Sheri has contacted Red Deer’s École Secondaire Notre Dame High School of Cookie’s passing.

She said the original plan was to have Kenneth walk across the stage for his diploma and have it announced that his kitty Cookie was an honourary graduate with him.

“I've given them (Notre Dame) the option of choosing to continue if they want to do that, and if not they don't have to. The choice is now up to Notre Dame,” said Sheri.

As for the family’s future after Cookie’s passing, Kenneth and mom will soon welcome a new companion kitty called Zorro.

“He'll be a companion for Kenneth. We are picking him up on July 6,” said Sheri, of the newly born male tabby kitten. “He actually looks just like Cookie.”

Any citizen that wanting to donate to the palliative care fund for pets in Cookie’s memory at Innisfail Veterinary Services can call office manager Ginger Christian at 403-227-3535.

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