Thursday, January 26, 2006
It just took them a year to figure it out.
All my friends know I work at the EBSPCA. Some of them ask me dog or cat advice. Some have even asked for my help with their 18 year old dog got too sick to move. And I'm always called when there is a stray someone needs help with. But last Friday I got a call that really surprised me. My dear old friend Shari called me and said she wanted to adopt a cat. I've known Shari for over 10 years and she is literally the sweetest person I have ever met. She said she wanted Sweet Pea, who she had been watching on www.virtualpetadoptions.com for months. (I had to make a little bit of fun at her for regularly surfing our adoption sites.) She felt bad for her and wanted to come adopt her. Shari is a born caretaker. She took care of her grandfather when he was ill, she has thrown countless parties for me, and she will drop everything to help a friend. Having a pet to take care would be just perfect for her. Doesn't this sound ideal? One small hitch... Shari is allergic to cats. I remind her of this fact and she blew me off in her nice Shari way. So I gave up and told her about our Paws to Consider program where she could "test drive" the cat for up to a week before adopting her. This sounded perfect for her. So we arranged to meet the next day at the shelter.
The next day, she and her hubby Sam came in. They've been together for like 100 years. Sam, the true cat lover in the family, is also skeptical of this plan to adopt a cat, but we both roll our eyes and smile at eachother. We know that Shari will take a cat home, realize how bad her allergies are and that will be the end of that little adoption idea.
She meets Sweet Pea, but she is a little too feisty for them. I show them Frida, an 8 year old long-haired cat who was about to celebrate her one year anniversary at the shelter. Yes, one year. How sad is that? They hang out with Frida and at first, she is a little stand-offish. I coax her out of her cat condo and she actually walks over to Shari and climbs up on her lap. Shari almost melted. They hemmed and hawed for a bit and then said "let's take her home." I gathered the supplies we send home with a Paws to Consider client, told Shari to call me with any questions or problems or to bring her back.
Before I got home, she had called with a question. I had told her to confine Frida to a room and Shari wanted to know if she could let her out at all the first day. I explained it all again and she got it. (Cats don't like change, but it all depends on the cat really. Some can handle wandering about and most are freaked out and need to be confined to reduce stress.)
She emailed for the next three day telling me all the goings on with Reese (named after the peanut butter cup). How she was doing great. How Sam came home early from work (a rare event) to hang out with Reese. How neighbors and friends came over to meet the new family member. How Shari fell asleep on the couch and woke up with Reese on her chest. How Reese is quite a talker!
There are some challenges too. Reese likes to knead and Shari has really nice furniture. Shari expressed some concerns and before I had to give her the speech on why declawing was bad, she asked about Soft Paws. Did I mention I just love her? She also said that the allergies were acting up, but Reese was part of the family now and she would just have to figure out her allergies. She also said the midnight chatter sessions Reese has are a bit much, but Reese can just sleep in her own room if if she doesn't settle down soon. Her. Own. Room. Needless to say, Shari completed the adoption last night and Reese is hers forever.
We sometimes wonder why animals stay at the shelter so long. What are they waiting for? Well... in Frida's (aka Reese's) case, she was waiting for Shari. Shari needed to take care of her and Reese needed to take care of Shari. It just took them both a year to figure it out.