Thanksgiving. A uniquely American holiday. And, in true American fashion, the historical meaning of the day has been thrown aside and the day is now just a prelude to the “official start of the holiday shopping season” – Black Friday. AND – in even more typical American fashion, Black FRIDAY now starts on Thursday – some stores are opening as early as 8pm on Thanksgiving evening. *sigh*
Believe it or not, I’m not here to bash people who are into Black Friday (or Black Thursday and a half) shopping. Having worked retail for many years, I simply refuse to participate in the madness. A local garden center is also not opening until 9am and has a great sale on fake, prelit Christmas trees that starts at 5pm (Friday, not today). I think I will head over there tomorrow evening and see what I can find since my tree definitely needs to be replaced because some furry creatures have seen fit to nibble on some of the wires of the tree I have now. Which leads me to the real reason for this post.
Thanksgiving. A day to reflect on our blessings and be thankful for the things that we HAVE, not the things that we WANT (even if they are on sale!). And what better place to start being thankful that for our furry little family members? Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for my two legged family members also. But, if you’re a cat person (or even a dog person), you know that the love and affection of those four legged furballs is sometimes what keeps us sane.
I currently have two – Molly and Drake. I love them and they love me. I can’t exactly say they love each other, though. I think Drake sees Molly as a living breathing catnip toy. I think Molly sees Drake as a furry, fat annoyance that Mommy should have left at the shelter. They do get along sometimes, though. Here’s proof. Although, you can see that Molly has that look of annoyance on her face.
Anyway, I digress. If you know anything about me, you know that I have some ADD tendencies. I start one thing and then I’m off to something else (kind of like the “kitty room” in my house – trying to get it painted – spackled holes in May. Yup, that’s as far as I’ve gotten). So, I started this post with the idea of talking about Thanksgiving. And what I’m thankful for. And how that relates to Imagine Home. Ok. Back on track.
So, let me tell you about my kitties. Yes, there’s a point to this, I promise. I’m going to start with Patches. Here’s my pretty girl helping me decorate for Thanksgiving in 2010, which would end up being her last Thanksgiving.
In January of 2007, my mom adopted Patches from the SPCA. See, my mom was very sick and she lived alone. She thought that the company of a kitty might help her to feel better. So, the day my mom got out of the hospital, she and I went to the SPCA and Patches strolled into our lives. The application was submitted and the next day my cousin Kyle took my mom back to pick Patches up and bring her to her new home. Sadly, about a month after she came home, Patches started to get sick. Because my mom was sick, she couldn’t care for a sick kitty, so Patches came to live with me (yes, there’s a clause that says the kitty has to go back to the SPCA if you can’t keep it anymore, but I knew that would be a death sentence for this pretty girl and I wasn’t going to let that happen). It took almost another full year to find out what was causing Patches’ problems. In July 2008 she was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. I was devastated. But I was determined to do whatever I could for her. She went on chemo meds (pills) and steroids and we made the trek to the vet every three months for blood work and follow ups (did I mention how much she hated the car ride??). There were up days and there were down days. And, sadly, on February 4, 2011, she lost her battle and I had to let her go. I curled up in a ball and I cried for days. Not only had I lost my precious little girl, but, in some ways I lost my mom all over again since my mom was the reason Patches had come into my life. At that time I said “NEVER AGAIN” I was adamant that I would NEVER go through that pain, that incredible feeling of loss and heartbreak. I was NOT going to bring another kitty home.
On May 31, 2011 I went back to the SPCA with the intention of donating food. I had alot of food left from Patches and I had some “points” at Kmart that were expiring, so I used them to buy a bunch of dry/canned food to donate. I dropped the food off and decided to go in and play with the kitties in the kitty room. You know, just to get them out of the cages and give them some love. I was NOT getting another cat. I went through the room letting kitties out one by one to get some love and some exercise. And then…..BAM….I fell in love. Molly was the prettiest grey kitty I had ever seen. And she just reached that paw out of the cage and meowed at me and I was DONE! I hightailed it out of there so fast the folks at the front desk probably wondered what the heck was going on. Remember, I was NOT getting a kitty.
I spent the next few hours ruminating on the image of this beautiful girl reaching out to me. But, I had a dilemma. I was leaving for a short vacation in a few days. I didn’t think it would be fair to bring a kitty home and then leave it. (yes, I was starting to cave). My facebook friends weighed in with comments ranging from “don’t do it” to “you know you’ll regret it if you don’t get her”. I called the SPCA and asked if I could pay the adoption fee, but not pick her up until I came back from vacation. They said “no, we need the cage” We need the cage???? Fear in my heart that if Molly wasn’t adopted, they would put her down. ACK!! I could NOT let that happen. I called my dad “Daddy,” I said (yes, when I want something I still call him daddy!). “Would you mind letting a kitty stay with you for a few days while I go away?” He agreed that Molly could stay there. So, the next morning, when they opened, I was back at the SPCA to put in my application for Molly. I went into the kitty room to say good morning and to grab her card for the adoption folks and BAM! There was Drake, in a cage caddy corner from Molly. Now, I hadn’t seen him the day before because I skedaddled out of there so fast. And what did he do? Stuck his little paw out of the cage toward me and meowed. *gasp, thud* Guess who’s taking two kitties home? We let them out of their cages together to make sure there would be no drama and all seemed fine. The information they had said that both were owner surrenders – Drake due to allergies and Molly due to her family moving. The one shelter worker told me that Drake had been adopted and returned twice. That sealed the deal for me. I was afraid he wouldn’t get another chance. So, off to the front desk I went with two cards to put in my applications. Because both were already spayed/neutered, there was no hold time, I could take them both home that day. Of course, remember what I did the day before? Donated all my food. Ooops. So, I asked them to give me a couple hours so I could run to Petsmart and stock up on food, litter, carriers, etc….$450 later I was home unloading my car and then headed back to pick up my babies! Here they are waiting to go home.
So, why am I torturing you with the story of Molly and Drake (names they came with, but I didn’t change because I thought they sounded cool!)? What does the story of Molly and Drake have to do with Thanksgiving? Well, I’m thankful that they’re in my life. I’m thankful that they chose me to be their new Momma. I’m thankful that I changed my mind about NEVER bringing another kitty into my home and my heart. I’m thankful that Patches brought them to me (yes, I believe that she had a hand, er paw, in this).
Ask anyone who know me and they’ll tell you that I love my kitties more than I like most people. They’ll tell you that I structure my life around them. Recently the Northeast was hammered by Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. We lost power for a couple of days at my house. I didn’t want to stay home alone in the dark another day, so I packed up the kitties and we went to my dad’s. People have said “you took your cats too?” Um, yes, of course. You wouldn’t leave your kids home alone in a house with no electric or heat, would you? Nope, neither would I. Does that make me a crazy cat lady? Maybe. Am I ok with that? Absolutely.
A few weeks ago, I had a procedure done and was camped out on my sofa for two days. This is how I spent those days (that’s me under the quilt). They barely got off me for two days. They knew I wasn’t feeling well and they snuggled in for the long haul.
Am I thankful for my kitties? You betcha!!
Are you still wondering what any of this has to do with Imagine Home?? Sorry. My ADD really got the best of me – and when I start telling a story, well…..
Imagine Home. Imagine. Home. There are countless kitties out there who are doing just that – imagining home. Some are safe in foster care and loved by some of the most amazing people out there (fosters have the biggest hearts, I admire them so much), but still dreaming of a furever home to call their own. Some are stuck in shelters, wondering how they got there. Dreaming, imagining, what it would be like to have a human, soft blankets and a warm lap to call their own. Some are still wandering the streets hoping that some kind soul will take them in and give them a plate of food and a warm place to spend the night.
How can we help? Well, with YOUR help, we can grow. That’s the first step. The more people who join us, the more reach we will have. The more reach we have, the more kitties who will benefit. Right now we’re helping arrange transports. We’re sharing stories of adoptable kitties. We’re building databases of user recommended rescues, veterinarians, transporters, fosters and general helpful information. We want to be the “go-to” place for the the rescue world. But we can’t do it alone. We need you to help. We need you to share us with your friends. We need you to let us know what you know. Do you have a favorite vet? Tell us. Does a certain rescue hold a piece of your heart? Please, share! Do you know of a kitty who is looking for a forever home? Absolutely send us that information to post. (Just a disclaimer – right now there are so many groups that post Death Row kitties that we are going to stay out of that realm for now. Of course we want to see all of those kitties get home too, but we have to focus on what we know we can do and do well).
Think about your own furbabies. Are you THANKFUL that they’re in your life? Do you wish that you could do more to honor them (and taking in more right now is not an option for you?) Have you always thought “I wish I could do more?” Well, you can! WE ALL CAN! That’s what this group is all about. Each person doing what they can.
So, on this day of thanks (here in the US), I am very thankful. I’m thankful for the group of women who decided to start this group and allow me to work with them; I’m thankful for all of our friends who have joined us on this journey; I’m thankful for the roof over my head and the kitties who rule the roost; I’m thankful for my family and friends who support me in everything I do.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends