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Posts Tagged ‘pet adoption’

What does one do when she finds herself animal-less? She adopts! Meet Jazzy … in a possibly overdone Christmas-Photoshopped shot. But who doesn’t love a kitty in a carton, one’s own little boxtot?

Jazzy-ChristmasLights2

For those of you who have a genuine love of animals, you know the invisible, gaping hole that opens in your home when a pet passes away. Imagine having lost all your animals, and if you know me, or follow this blog, you may know that was the case after Claude passed over. It doesn’t matter if you have two or twenty humans living in your home, when there is not one animal to be heard, the silence is deafening.

It only took three days before I contacted the local cat rescue to see if a black cat named Jazzy was still available for adoption. I had met her in the nearby pet store who generously showcases cats and kittens from two local rescue organizations to give them an extra chance to find a home. It was after Gypsy Rose passed away, and I wondered if Claude would like another companion. Jazzy was sweet and affectionate and did a great job of selling herself, but ultimately, I decided against adopting any other animals at the time, letting the aging Claude have me just to himself.

Jazzy-Aug24-2

But without any animal in the house at all, that was another story. My rescue contact told me not only was the three year old beauty still waiting, but no one had even shown any interest in her. (Unfortunately, people still have bizarre superstitions about black cats and therefore, they have the hardest time finding homes.) I have no such preconceptions, and after an interview with the rescue, a brief meet and greet with both her and Jazzy at the pet store, we agreed to all meet at our mutual vet for an introduction and a nail clip for Jazzy. She’s been here ever since.

Adopting an older animal is a bit more of a challenge in some ways than adopting a youngster. Jazzy has her own personality and her own ideas about everything. And that’s OK – so do I. She’s bright, a fast learner and it’s not hard to come to understandings about anything. Most importantly, older animals need a chance. Everyone wants to adopt the kittens. I wanted to give that chance to a cat who really needed it. And so … the curious cat in the box.

My challenge now? Taking the most fabulous photograph of an all black animal, the ever-so-elegant Jazzy.

Your challenge? The next time you have that awful, gaping hole in your home because a beloved pet has passed away, or whenever you’re next ready to add a new fuzzy family member … adopt. Visit your local shelter, contact your local rescue, check Petfinder …  adopt an animal who truly needs YOU. And please consider those most in need … an older/adult animal. It’s a special gift to you both.

Merry Christmas!

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Times come in our lives when we are ready to open our hearts and homes to a new animal. But how do we know which is the right one for us? The one that is truly meant to be ours?

A little over 13 years ago, one of my two pit bull terriers passed away from complications of cancer. She had been starved and brutally abused. She’d had a very high prey drive and was dog aggressive, but she thrived in my care, and in time, also did so with my other pit bull terrier, Chloe. Chloe was at the opposite end of the spectrum; she truly loved ALL animals. With Chloe then twelve years old, I wanted her to truly enjoy her golden years with me and without the competition of another dog. But I knew she’d love a cat, and I began my search.

Every day that I was at work in the large city shelter, I took my lunch time to look at the over 200 cats awaiting adoption, asking that I please be shown the cat that was meant for me. That cat wasn’t there. Or at least not yet. Not so coincidental to this story, by the way, was the fact that in the office adjacent to mine, worked a lovely man in his 60’s. He was about 5’4″, and his wife was about 4’11”. They were a petite and adorable couple, totally devoted to each other from the days of their young marriage. I told him how happy it made me to see a couple still so in love. He told me it was bashert, i.e., “meant to be” in Yiddish. What a perfect word, I thought, and how perfectly fitting for them. I, too, was on the lookout for bashert, but on a much smaller scale.

One day in early August, I needed to go into work on my day off. Traffic on my usual route was at a standstill, so I took the back way through the neighboring town. As I drove over the familiar railroad bridge, I passed what looked like a crumpled piece of paper, but intuitively I knew better. I backed up and spotted a 5 week old tuxedo kitten, waiting to be hit by a car or plunge to his death 100 feet below.

I managed to catch the terrified and elusive kitten, brought him to the medical department for a gentle baby bath for fleas, and then to my office. Too young for inoculations, he wouldn’t fare well in a shelter with so many animals, so I decided to foster him until he was stronger – in my office on workdays, otherwise, home with me. He was so tiny, I was afraid he’d got lost or stuck in the house, so I set him up in my bedroom in a large Great Dane crate, complete with bed, blanket, litter and food and water. He screamed bloody murder.

The next evening the same. I closed the bedroom door and let him out. He made a beeline for a comforting spot under my Chloe’s chin. Mom! For two more weeks I followed this routine, everyone suggesting I keep him. My reason for not wanting to do so was that everyone will adopt a kitten; I would take a middle age or senior cat, a bonded pair, a cat with feline leukemia, i.e., a hard-to-place cat. Someone would surely fall in love with him quickly.

Then it happened. I looked at this very verbal little pipsqueak of a kitten, nestled with his new adoring mom, and found myself saying things like, “Now appearing in the Shakespearean production of I Claudipuss ….” or coaxing him with Monsieur Claude, or “Where’s my Cloudy Paws?” You get the picture.

I had asked to be shown the cat that was meant to be mine, and it had nothing to do with what I thought I wanted, but everything to do with who needed me. And so we need to be open to our choices in animals. I do believe every animal that I have had was truly meant to be mine. Perhaps I saved his or her life, perhaps in some other way, she or he saved mine. Animals are our teachers and guides, and may come to us in the most unexpected species, breeds, time and manner. They may be brought to us, or we to them, but we must always listen to our hearts.

Today that teensy feral kitten is a long and lanky 16 pound cat with tuxedo markings, but with all the features of an Oriental breed – short, smooth coat, long face, body and tail, and oh, yes, the (sometimes very annoying) vocalizations. His names today are Claudie the Dog Boy, (for all the dog tricks he happily performs), Mr. Freshy McFresh Face, and just plain Claude or Claudie. But it was those first silly names that were the tip off,  (that and his instant attachment to Chloe), that he was meant to be mine, kitten or no.

It was simply bashert.

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