Your Imagine Home Admins used to belong to another transport group. That group’s name isn’t important. What is important is the many gifts of friendship we received while there. What follows is the tale of two friends who touched our hearts in the other group, and here at Imagine Home.
With Birdy, we always knew that she would keep us on our toes, find our mistakes, and remind us that the cats needed us to hurry up! The morning that we got the notice that Birdy died, our hearts shattered. Not so much because of the pair of cats needing a ride, but because we knew that we had lost a true friend, both to us, and to cats everywhere.
What follows, is a tribute written from the heart by her dear friend Diana Kennady Geary.
Back when I first found the joy of Facebook, I had made a habit to check out the pages that had all the cute picture of dogs and cats. I, to this day love the funny meme’s they post and stories of rescue animals that found their new fur-ever homes. You see, I was working at that time with a transport group, to get these rescued animals to either safety or to their new fur-ever homes. So it was my way of winding down from a transport.
This one day, I had just gotten home from a leg of transporting 7 happy little puppies and one 6 month old German Shepherd. I was feeling great that I could help these fur babies out in their transport to a better life. After cleaning my Jeep up and changing my clothes, I sat down to an evening of playing on Facebook. That’s when it happened. I immediately went to one of my favorite pages to check out their cute pictures of the day and saw where a woman and man were having a rather high spirited conversation. This day, this page, this conversation was the beginning of a wonderful friendship with an Angel that walked on this Earth. She was really giving this sad sack of a guy, a hard time about his comments about one of the cute meme’s with playful kittens. The guy, who’s name has left my mind long ago, was not very nice in his comments and was actually down right cruel about what he’d like to do to the kittens in the meme. The woman…well, she let him know how she felt about his comments. Of course, she and I had the same reaction to his mean words and I joined in on this conversation. Or should I call it “shaming”? Anyway, this was the beginning…the beginning of knowing someone truly beautiful inside and out. Her name…was Birdy…Birdy Sims. We fast became Facebook friends, as in minutes after we ran the guy off that page. First with a private message just chatting it up as if we had known each other since birth! Our love of animals, and the fact she was a rescuer/foster mama and I was a transporter, drew us even closer. We shared pictures of our own fur babies and as Birdy put it, her “foster failures”. For those that don’t understand, a foster failure is when you just can’t let that fur baby go…you end up adopting the fur baby for your own. Birdy had many of these “foster failures”! <grin>
Our friendship grew every day for years…talking about home life, our fur babies, our childhood, you name it, we discussed it at one time or another. Birdy helped me through losing the last 3 of my Fabulous Five Felines…Zoe, Marley and Ziggy. She spoke of her heartbreak of losing her fur babies and we bonded even more. Next thing you know, we’re exchanging phone numbers. Friday nights became the night of teen like giggling, fussing like old hens and tears. We were there for each other no matter what.
Just as I thought I’d found a friend for life, it seems the world came crashing down on us. Being I had been in mourning over the loss of my last indoor feline fur baby, for months, I was going through that period of time where another addition would have felt like I was trying to replace a beautiful member of my family. But the day came that I had decided it was time…time to open my heart once again for someone to rescue me. That morning, I couldn’t wait to tell Birdy about the time was right and I went straight to her page. On her page, I saw the most horrible words I ever saw…”I need help in re-homing my cats…I’ve been told, I’m terminal and I don’t have long to live”. My heart sunk and tears began to flow, uncontrollably as they are right now writing this. Birdy was getting offers from people she knew, here and there but her main concern were her “foster failures” from (at that time) 6 yrs ago, her litter sister cats, Molly and Tobi. She didn’t want to separate them. They had been together since birth and she just couldn’t stand the thought of separating them. Being I was still in shock over the news I just sat there staring at her page in tears. Then I noticed her pleas were so strong and no one was even saying anything about these 6 yr old sisters…they were only showing interest in the smaller kittens. All I could do was cry as I typed in bold letters, “BIRDY, DON’T WORRY ABOUT MOLLY AND TOBI, I’LL TAKE THEM BOTH”. Now I was wanting to adopt a little panther, as I had never had a black kitty…neither Molly or Tobi fit that description but at this point, I didn’t care. They needed someone who was as like minded as their mama Birdy and Birdy needed the peace of knowing someone with experience with multiple cats/dogs, who would love them with all their heart, would adopt Molly and Tobi. I was that person. Not only for Birdy and the sisters needs but for my own…to have a part of Birdy to keep and love. So within minutes we were on the phone balling our eyes out, me promising I’d give them the best of the best, her blubbering out thank yous left and right (you have to understand, Birdy rarely cried a tear). We both gained a little bit of peace during that phone call…In steps a new beginning friendship…BekBek. She got the ball moving and set up the transport for us and next thing you know, I have Molly and Tobi! Birdy and I both were so indebted to BekBek and always will be. BekBek, our love for your determination of getting Molly and Tobi to me was and will be cherished forever! A friend for life, as Birdy and I both said many times.
Tobi and Molly, the duo that allowed Diana to meet her friend Birdy.
Moving forward…Birdy decided to get second opinions and found out she didn’t have the terminal disease they told her she had. Happiness once again hit both of us! I told her in the beginning that I would be “Aunt Diana” to the sisters and when she got better, they could go home. She and her husband, Loren, decided to visit me after one of her trips to the Cleveland Clinic for more tests. I was so nervous, not over meeting Birdy face to face but over would she want her girls back. I had spent many a day/night loving these sister kitties thinking I would lose my friend and trying to make them feel loved. When Birdy and Loren got here, it was just like talking on Facebook…like we’d known each other forever! I told her, that my promise, that she could have Molly and Tobi back home with her was still a promise. That I would not stand in the way of her’s and their happiness. After a day, of talking and laughing at my boy, Ozzy trying to woo her girl Aila (Birdy’s service dog and companion), Birdy said, she felt that Molly and Tobi finally found their fur-ever home. Needless to say, I had happy tears welling up in my eyes! The day she and Loren were to leave to go back home was so bittersweet. I wanted them to stay, even begged them to move here with me. But they were worried about this small town and the medical provisions not being what she needed. She was right, I live in a rural area and we don’t have the necessary medical provisions she would have needed. So we said our goodbyes and I awaited her msg on Facebook that they made it home safe and sound. I got that msg and for all we knew, life was once again beautiful!
Sweet Tobi the Torti
Months had passed, Birdy again was the Angel Rescue, taking in kitties to help find them homes, vet them and love them when they had no one and no chance of survival. Then she started telling me about an upcoming transport she and her husband were going to be involved in…something she missed dearly! She talked about getting to transport some kitties to their new fur-ever home and she was so excited! That’s all she talked about…two Fridays before the transport our phone conversation was so happy and she was so full of life, you could hear it in her voice she was nothing but a giant smile! Then the Friday night before she and Loren were to leave on their leg of the transport, she called me. She was about to burst with glee! All she kept saying was how excited she was and how she couldn’t wait to do what she had been missing for the last few years. I told her to be careful and enjoy every minute, and pictures! I wanted tons of pictures of her adventure in this transport! We said our goodbye’s our love you’s and both of us hit Facebook. She posted a cute little meme, she had made up with a precious little kitty yawing on it, saying “Goodnight! Tomorrow’s Caturday” with ~Birdy~ in the bottom right corner of the meme. That was my last phone call and the meme was my last goodnight from Birdy…
Birdy’s last post.
The next morning I awoke in a race to the computer so I could wish her safe travels on her transport and I saw something that took the breath away from me for what seemed like an eternity. Loren, had posted what had happened, less than an hour after our last phone call. She had started with a sugar drop…not good, later she ended up cancelling out her early morning dialysis treatment she had scheduled for before her transport and in the next hour or so, she was gone. In the blink of an eye, just hours away from hearing my friend the happiest I’d EVER heard her, she was gone. She was walking the walk, across Rainbow Bridge to meet with all her fur babies that had made the walk before her. That Giant Beautiful Heart of hers, gave out. The Kitty Angel that once walked this earth was now gone. No longer would she be there for kitties in despair here on earth. She was their own personal Angel and she was gone…She changed jobs from Angel on Earth to Angel at Rainbow Bridge.
I have since, had many a dream with Birdy in them. She’s sitting under this giant shade tree, her hat, I loved on, giant loving smile and surrounded by animals. The first time I thought it was a sign that she was ok, she was where she was needed now. But with each new dream I’ve seen new animals surrounding her, including my Jackie…my little golden retriever boy. I’ve seen so many happy animals playing on her, around her and nothing but love in each dream. I don’t know if it’s a sign she’s sending about what her new job is now or if she’s showing me her new fur babies she’s in charge of loving and taking care of…all I do know, is I awake from these dreams with teary smiles and I know the day is going to be a good day.
I miss you Birdy, the kitties on this earth miss you, your friends miss you, Aila and your own fur babies still here miss you and Loren misses you. You’d be so proud of Loren…just hours after you left him and us, he did the impossible…he made sure that transport you were so excited over getting to do, happened. How he did that I don’t know other than you were sitting right next to him the whole way. I don’t think anything, even your own passing would have stopped you from that transport that day. I have a feeling the people driving behind Loren, on that trip, were wondering why there were Angel wings in the front seat of the van. We all know why…you were there, just like I feel that you are there in all the Imagine Home transports keeping an eye out and helping Jack kitty in keeping everyone of those precious little kitties and their transporters safe.
Birdy Sims, with her beautiful smile
Birdy continues to help in transports to this day. Whether she is watching over each transport with Jack or it’s her huge carrier that is now being used by another Angel, Charmaine, who rescues and finds homes for kitties, to their new fur-ever homes. The legend of Birdy the Kitty’s Angel will live on…as long as their are kittens and cats to be rescued, she will be there in spirit. You never know…you may see Angel wings in the front seat of a transport vehicle one day! If you do, just give Birdy a wink and a smile. And as you pass those Angel wings, tell her Thank You and We Love and Miss You!”
~Diana Kennady Geary
*In honor of Birdy’s spirit, generosity, love and guidance, Imagine Home has decided to name their “Pay it Forward” movement after Birdy. So from this day forth, they’ll be known as “Birdy’s Big Heart”. ~noelle~