Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rescue Cats

A few weeks ago, I read a terrific article in the NY Times magazine.  Melissa Fay Greene's story, "Wonder Dog" talked about the use of service dogs to help with disabled kids, including children with autism and other behavioral spectrum disorders.  It was a powerful story about our human need to love and and be loved and the ability of love to help struggling children and their families to find peace and comfort in their sometimes difficult lives.

In particular, there was a story of one child, a boy named Iyal, who was born in a Russian orphanage and adopted by an American family at the age of one.  As Iyal grew up, it became clear that he has a range of disorders resulting from fetal alcohol syndrome.  For Iyal and his family, a rescue dog named Chancer has been a godsend, providing comfort and relief to Iyal and his family.  "Wonder Dog" is amazing and well-worth your time.  It will make you grateful for the blessings in your own world, of course.  It will also remind you of the power of animals in our lives.  As for me, the story of Chancer got me thinking about my own pets, Tiger and Lucy.

The kittens came to our lives in 2006.  We got them on a sunny Friday in October, three months into the year in which JT and I were learning to manage the break-up of our family.  Tiger and Lucy were litter mates we adopted from a local animal shelter.  On the advice of several friends, we decided to get two kittens so that they would have one another's company when we were at school.  We each selected and named a kitten.  JT picked out Tiger and I found Lucy. They climbed right into the box and you can see the pride and excitement on my boy's face as we carried home the newest members of our family.
Once home, they settled right in as if they had known all along that they belonged with us. 
JT was always happy to wrangle them to sit on his lap.
He loved them to distraction, filling their bowls with kibble and water and talking excitedly about seeing them when we drove home from school each day.  By happy coincidence, Tiger, the kitten JT had selected, was the more cuddly of the two, always eager to be by JT's side and providing the sort of unconditional love that helped to heal his heart.
By Christmas of that year, we couldn't imagine life without these two creatures.
In ways inestimable, Tiger and Lucy made our home feel full and complete.  We'd watch them in the window as we drove off to school in the morning and they'd be waiting by the front door when they heard us arrive home in the afternoon.
 They'd join us for stories when it came time to tuck JT into bed each night.  They'd race up and down the stairs and make us laugh.  And then they would cuddle up in our laps whenever the opportunity arose.
In countless ways, they rescued us both in that hard year.  Nearly six years later, our hearts are healed but Tiger and Lucy are still a powerful reminder of the healing power of pets.

1 comment:

Nichole said...

Although we didn't see much of Miss Lucy on our visit, I know that cats are fickle, funny, and feisty. Instead of being all waggy and jumpy and barky like a dog, cats see you walk in the door and seem to say, "glad you're home. make me a sandwich." since we lost both of our cats last year, we are adopting 2 kittens from my friend whose cat had a litter a few weeks ago. :-)