Who Rescues Who?

For social media friends, you already know about my new friend Little Queen Tawanda. She was barely four weeks old and was dumped, along with four siblings, on a lonely, deserted road at a swamp near my mom’s home. It has been over six weeks since the litter was rescued and Little T is doing quite well and ruling the house.

It’s not that I was looking to add to the circus that is my home. In fact, two days before my mom called me in panic about the helpless, precious babies I stated out loud…”Old Gracie cat will be journeying on soon and I’ll be down to one dog and two cats….that’s more manageable.”

Oh, be careful what you say out loud!

My neighbor was fostering the crew and went out of town so I took over feeding, scooping poop and playing with the kittens. Little T claimed me…dammit! I would sit on the floor and play and observe while foster mom was away and Tawanda–the wildest, craziest, ring-leader baby–would break from her shenanigans to claim my lap. NO! Surely not, I thought. I can’t adopt another animal. But long ago I learned when an animal claims me, there really isn’t an option except to surrender.

I haven’t had a kitten in a very long time….decades… I usually adopt older cats who generally have a more difficult time finding homes. I kept her separated from Buddy dog and the three adults cats for a while in my bedroom and bathroom….and quite honestly I thought I had lost my freaking mind.

It was a time when something funky must have been going on astrologically because I already had a lot of past stuff resurfacing. Adding a tiny kitten to the mix of my life was like throwing gasoline on an already-hot fire of emotional disturbance. But now, six weeks after adopting her, I see what a true teacher she is for me.

Her name–Tawanda–comes from the Fried Green Tomatoes character of Kathy Bates….it was actually her alter ego. She was a middle-aged woman stuck in life and when she transformed into Tawanda she kicked ass…rammed the car of a young woman who stole her parking space, took a sledge hammer to a wall because she needed more light. Tawanda took no crap off of anyone from the moment she stepped into the house. My baby T is just like that and she’s teaching me to stand up and move forward out of the stuck place I’ve been for the last five years.

Every rescued animal seems to have an extra-special gift they bring to the world. They have seen hard times and made it though to the other side….and Little T lays here in my lap, running in her dream as I write.

My other kids have their own, unique stories. Buddy was a sick puppy living in the back of a pickup truck. He was rescued by friends of mine that work with a rescue organization. I saw him on Facebook in my friend’s lap and knew he was my boy. He is named after the main character in the movie Elf. Buddy Hobbs is SO JOYFUL! I’ve never met a dog that is so happy and happy to meet everyone…except squirrels. He despises squirrels with a vengeance.

Willie Fay was zip-tied along with two other cats on to the railing at Dyke’s Vet Clinic. One of the cats died from the trauma. My mom saw her there when she was healed and up for adoption and alerted me to her specialness. She still doesn’t like to be held tightly but is an amazingly smart kitty. Willie was named after the group Willie Sugarcapps because it was the only music that calmed her when she was adjusting to her new home here.  Her middle name is my mom’s middle name.

Stanley was a rescue from North Carolina. He was owned by a college student who named him Chow Mien. The reference to eating cats wasn’t lost on me so I renamed him Stanley Kubrick. The student left school and left Stanley with a roommate that didn’t want him and he was turned into the shelter.

Gracie Sue was originally named Silver because of her silver feet. She’s part Himalayan or Persian with thick fur, gray with faded orange spots and intense blue eyes. She had been adopted twice and returned because she was shy and hid. I gave her the option to come home with me if she’d come sit in my lap at the adoption center. The foster mom in North Carolina said she didn’t come to people but when I offered a home to her, she came and sat in my lap. So there.

Each of these special friends has a story and much of their stories I’ll never know. They came to me as animals in need and became my friends. Even shy Gracie, who most likely is a little ‘mental,’ has taught me how to love when little is given in return. I give her permission to be herself, hide under the bed, be aloof. It’s okay.

It’s not always easy to be mom to so many critters. It’s expensive to feed them, vet them and when I travel to have someone come stay with them but they give me so much in return. I can’t imagine how lonely I would be if I didn’t have this family of precious four-leggeds keeping me company, forcing me to engage every day with life. And much of the time filling my heart with so much love.

It’s right to contemplate the question….Who rescues who? Every animal that has been in my life has taught me so much about myself and for that I am deeply grateful.

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