Today was an amazing day. I received a call from one of our veterinary clinics. They've been working with a senior man with his senior cat for months. The cat was dying and the gentleman was very very clear: He didn't want to live if his cat couldn't live with him. The man's beloved cat was to be euthanized at 1:30 today. The staff at the clinic asked me to rescue a cat from the shelter so the man wouldn't go home to an empty apartment.
He has no family, no friends. Just a very old cat named "Fritz".
The staff was devoted to "Mr. C". They had been working with him and Fritz for months. They would support him and care for him and any cat that I brought to him today. But I was nervous.
I went to the shelter this morning and chose a sweet 7 year old declawed girl named "Shannon". She had been at the shelter a long time. Would she be able to heal Mr. C's heart?
When I walked into the vet clinic, Fritz had been euthanized 15 minutes earlier. The staff was ashen and I could hear the gut wrenching sobs from Mr. C in the examination room. Apparently, he had been at the clinic all day. My heart fell as I walked in and introduced myself. I brought "Shannon" with me at the encouragement of the staff.
The tiny exam room had several staff members in it. Their arms of love and support for Mr. C were amazing. They hugged him and told him that Fritz would have wanted him to be happy and save Shannon. He asked questions through the sobs: "Would Shannon sleep in Fritz's bed?" What would Shannon eat? "Where would Shannon sleep tonight?"
Shannon swirled around his legs thoughtfully. She knew Mr. C had a broken heart. I think they needed each other. Mr. C reached out and gave her a soft pat. I could tell he was terrified that he was somehow betraying Fritz.
Nobody could bear the thought of Mr. C going home to an empty apartment. An apartment void of love and void of Fritz. The staff gently encouraged him as Shannon worked her magic. Mr. C told stories of Fritz and I asked him what Fritz would think of Shannon. Mr. C laughed as he told the story of Fritz coming into his life.
More tears. We were all crying.
Shannon has gone home with Mr. C today. A loving staff member at the vet clinic drove them both home. They stopped at the pet food store to buy Shannon some toys and a new brush.
I'm going to bed tonight thinking about Mr. C and Shannon. Mostly I'm going to think about Fritz who has loved an old man unconditionally for more than 17 years.
I think Shannon is going to be a lucky girl.