Name: Huckleberry

Date of Passing: 01/17/2024

Message to Huckleberry: We had almost 18 wonderful years with Huckleberry, for which we are very grateful (although it was not enough). He was very attached to the two of us—everyone else, not so much. If you visited our home and got to see a glimpse of him, that was a special occasion…he mostly dove under the bed when anyone came in who he didn’t know. He slept every night until his last on my pillow, curled around my head. It will be so sad to wake in the middle of the night and not find him there or hear his very loud purr. Thank you to all of our friends and family who loved Huckleberry as much as we did, even if he never deigned to sit on your lap. Special thanks to Dr. Ujiki and everyone at South Loop Animal Hospital and A Gentle Goodbye, who helped us so compassionately (as they have done before) during his final days. Farewell our sweet, sweet boy—we will miss you forever.

Tell us about Huckleberry: We found Huckleberry (or more accurately, he found us) in the summer of 2006, during a long “national parks” driving trip. We were staying at the St. Mary Lodge just outside of Glacier National Park, in a first floor room with a little patio. Just outside was a babbling brook running through a glorious pine forest…which is why we happened to be sleeping with the patio doors open, even though it was probably 40 degrees outside—I wanted to hear the brook and smell the pine trees. At about 2AM, we heard an additional sound, the unmistakable meow of a kitten. I immediately went out to the patio and made the universal here kitty kitty sound of “psssp, psssp, psssp”, punctuated by “come here little guy” and much to my surprise, out of the darkness emerged a little black kitten. He bravely ventured onto our patio, where I promptly scooped him up and brought him inside. At 2AM, with the nearest grocery store 80 miles away, all we had to offer him was a half a can of bean dip we had left over from a hike earlier that day. I had my doubts about whether he would go for it, but he embraced the moment and dug into it with gusto. As he was eating, we noticed he barely had any whiskers…they were super short and upon closer examination we realized they had been mostly singed off. We speculated that he must have been taking refuge from the cold next to some kind of heat source and probably got a little too close to it. The next morning, we scrounged a beer box from behind the hotel restaurant, tucked him into it, and drove down to Helena to find a vet clinic to get him checked out (we were also able to find him a proper carrier). He accompanied us for the rest of that trip…a few of our hotels were pet friendly, but most were not, so we had to smuggle him in! We brought him home with us, initially thinking we would simply foster him, but it soon became clear that he was with us to stay. Joe had the idea to name him Huckleberry since huckleberries are so ubiquitous in Montana (if you’ve been there, you know—it’s huckleberry EVERYTHING in Montana).