I love new beginnings. The quiet nights where you discover a book you read years ago still draws you. The sweet feeling of finding a sweater that brings back memories. The falling in love after you’ve given up on ever finding your fairy tale. Plus I’m a sucker for a happy ending. I love to find things that other people don’t see the value in, have given up on or just don’t want anymore and making them treasures again. In a way, my pets are like this.
I first discovered how that intimate bond between man and beast would leave a forever mark on my heart several years ago. It happened suddenly. One morning I went out to add one last bag before the trash collector arrived and there he was. A giant black and white tuxedo cat perched on the edge of my trashcan. I expected him to bolt but instead he flopped down on the driveway and just stared at me. After I threw the trash away, he followed me to the door and looked at it expectantly. I was skeptical.. after all, this was probably someone’s pet, who though he belonged in overeaters anonymous (feline version) couldn’t resist a tasty nugget of leftovers. But I let him in anyway.. mainly because he howled at the door until I opened it.
My husband rolled his eyes when he got home that night but he knows me. We posted signs and two days later with no response took the poor beast to the vet. $430 later we had a cat. A 10-year old, feline leukemia positive cat. Rats. Of course, this diagnosis meant that he would have to be an indoor only cat, something he seemed pleased with himself about. He settled right in and consistently plunked his ample body wherever he could be close to us. He seemed to know we didn’t want him all over our furniture or counters and respected our boundaries. He was a rough looking cat. Ears tattered, fur matted and hazy with a tail that never bent in the right direction. But he changed with love. With quality food, a warm home and love, his fur became shiny, his eyes bright and his meow even seemed more cheerful. He never stopped following us around. If I got up to leave the room, Tebow would be right on my heels.
Then, it happened. One afternoon, I opened the door and no Tebow. I looked around for him and didn’t see him. Even the snap of the can of his favorite treat, canned food, didn’t bring him running. When my husband got home, we searched for him, inside and out, just in case. No Tebow. I cried that night and got up several times thinking I heard him trying to get back inside, but morning came and no Tebow. I made signs that afternoon but before I could hang them, I found Tebow. I got home a bit earlier and walked in the dining room and the sunlight caught my eye. There he was. Curled beside the credenza in the dining room on the floor where the sun hit with his little mouse in his paws was Tebow. Unfortunately, he was gone. I think I sobbed for hours until my husband got home.
This stray cat who had graced us with his presence for just under a year and cost us a lot of money at the vet broke my heart by leaving. I never wanted a cat but there I was sobbing over losing one. I swore I’d never get another cat. But then it happened. I saw the perfect cat. She was fluffy and a big hefty, like Tebow was. A 6 week old kitten without a mommy. And the moment I held her, I knew she was mine. She curled up in my arms and started to purr and it was like she knew what I was missing. I felt my heart un-break just a little bit and I adopted her.
She’s 5 years old now and is a source of immense joy in my life. She’s not super interactive, but she follows me around. She plays on occasion, her round tummy rolling as she kicks the catnip mouse across the floor. And she makes me laugh or smile. No matter how bad my day, she brings me joy.
Maybe you’re looking to add a pet to your family or maybe you never knew what you were missing. From May 4th to May 6th, PetSmart stores across the Atlanta area will be hosting National Adoption Weekend! They’ll have countless rescue groups present with hundreds of adorable kitties and cute dogs that all need lifelong, loving homes. For each pet adopted this weekend, PetSmart will donate an additional $35 to each rescue group. Your adoption fee goes to directly to the rescue group to help them care for the animals in need, PetSmart receives no monetary compensation for adoptions. It’s a great opportunity to see the animals who are in need and really make a difference.