A Small Miracle In The Trash

There are two miracles I witness every day at the Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital; the first is the relationship we have with the creatures who share our lives.  Those fortunate enough to have experienced this learn that we are not only the caretakers, but are also taken care of.  The second is how these creatures seem to enter our lives at just the right time.  Whether you believe in coincidence, destiny, or divine intervention, I have seen these little miracles happen time and time again.  One beloved pet dies, and another comes into our lives, sometimes even too soon (or so we think), then we realize that it was the perfect one at the perfect time. The hurt fades with the arrival of a new friend, so full of health and hope that once again we remember all the joy that our pets bring us. 

My bond with Andre, an extraordinary Maine Coon, was perhaps the strongest I had ever experienced since cats first became part of my life.  After 14 years it seemed impossible, yet true, that we lost him. The only cat remaining in our household was Roxanne, a thirteen year old domestic shorthair.  While my husband and I grieved we doubted that we were ready to open our hearts and home to a new kitten, but Roxanne had never been alone.  She always had siblings, both older and younger, and she was an extremely sociable cat.  Now, she wasn’t eating properly, and she became anxious and depressed.  She would follow my husband and me from room to room crying, and would often wake us up in the middle of the night in a panic, seemingly searching for her brother.  We were afraid if we didn’t get another cat, we would lose her, too.

Just a few weeks before Andre’s passing, coupons to a cat show arrived in my office.   Due to his declining health, Andre required a great deal of attention and weekends were dedicated to his care, so I threw the coupons into the garbage. Andre had free reign of my office at the animal hospital; whenever I went out to lunch, he was locked in my office with all the comforts of home – a little cardboard house to hide in, a dish of food, water, and a litter box.  I would often come back to find him curled up in my chair or on my desk, sleeping peacefully in the sun shining through the window.  

On this particular day, I was surprised to see Andre had gotten into a little mischief, and my wastepaper basket was toppled on its side.  At first nervous that he had been hurt since he’d become so fragile, I looked around for him frantically.  I found him under my desk near the cat show coupons I had thrown away earlier.  I absentmindedly picked up the tickets and put them on my desk, and picked up Andre for a hug, happy that he was unharmed.   We wondered if Andre knew he would be departing and purposely retrieved the cat show tickets I had thrown away.  Stranger things had happened during our life with Andre.  A month to the day after his passing, our small miracle occurred.  We half-heartedly attended the cat show.  We were preparing to exit when my husband came face to face with an irresistible kitten, who became our Jasper.  In less than ten minutes he was traveling home with us, and today he and Roxanne remain best friends.  Miracles come in all sizes and shapes; ours just happened to be a twelve pound Norwegian Forest Cat with a special talent for fetching sticks.  So if you have recently lost a pet, and don’t know if it’s time yet for a new member of the family, grieve and wait until the time is right, but also remember we must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned to enjoy the life that is waiting for us.

                                                                                                                 By Marilyn Farrar-Wagner