Big-hearted Eric wanted to leave a special present for his two young children and wife.
When proud dad-of-two Eric Findlay found out he had just weeks to live, his mind instantly turned to his young children.
Seven-year-old Leo and Havana, five, were the most important things he and wife Maureen had in the world.
Eric had been fit and healthy before falling ill with bowel cancer aged just 36. Three months later he tragically passed away.
But in his final days, he shared a last wish he hoped would bring happiness to his grieving family when he was gone – and now his widow has made that a reality.
Speaking bravely to The Mirror today on the first anniversary of Eric’s death, Maureen recalled: “When we knew that his diagnosis was terminal we talked about the children and things that we could do to make things a little better for them and help them with their grieving…which included getting a pet.”
Following her husband’s passing, Maureen, 36, went online and found two perfect cats called Betty and Ethel who were looking for a loving home.
Maureen, who recently moved from Chester to live in London, recalled: “The owners were happy for me to come to collect the cats with the children on what would have been my husband’s 37th birthday.
“So I picked them up from school and told them that papa had a special present for them, the biggest present they’ve ever had because he loves them so much and wants them to be happy. I also wanted to make his birthday a happy occasion for the children.
“When I introduced them to the cats they were very surprised, shocked. They couldn’t believe it.
“Now Betty and Ethel are part of our family and of our new chapter. The children adore them. They love it when the cats come to sleep in their beds. They love stroking them, giving them treats and playing with them. Also it’s nice to have a full house again.
“My husband worked from home so it felt very empty when he passed away. It was also nice in the evenings to chill with the cats when the kids go to bed.”
Maureen has bravely shared her story as part of IAMS’ latest campaign celebrating the magic of pets and the individuality of each animal.
IAMS champion the joy of your pet’s healthy vitality. The joy of healthy vitality is not simply visible health or your cat or dog’s happiness; it is a powerful combination of the two together. And that’s why IAMS want to help the nation’s pets live healthy, active and happy lives through the expert nutrition they truly enjoy. No compromise.
An incredible 98% of cat owners recommend IAMS for Vitality*, which provides a complete and balanced diet for your pet. IAMS promises high quality nutrition with a great taste for healthy vitality.
Maureen said Betty and Ethel have had an incredible impact on her family – and agreed each and every pet has its own unique personality.
She added: “their personalities are very different. Ethel is more socialable. She loves to be in the mix and doesn’t mind if the kids pick her up. She tends to follow us around more and is always at the door when we come home. Betty is quieter and more timid. She also loves to chill out with us but is more adventurous when she goes out.
“They both love dry and wet food – gravy-based specifically. We also give them cat treats.
“Betty and Ethel are both just so lovely to be around. Very calming, reducing stress. The children love them and they make all of us smile.
“Eric would have been happy to know that the children were so over the moon on his birthday with their new pets. They’ve been such a comfort for us all.”