The Cat Is Gone In A Creampuff

, , , , , , , | Hopeless | January 13, 2019

(I am a volunteer at a no-kill pet shelter. A few weeks ago, a couple came in with the angriest cat we had ever seen. Along with a severe case of mange, he was also missing his right eye. The couple explained that their neighbors had moved and left the cat locked inside a junker car parked behind their house. Even with every volunteer working to rehabilitate him, “One-Eyed Willy” proves to be a difficult case; he bites and scratches, yowls constantly, and does not get along with other male cats. We resign to having him as a permanent resident. One week, I arrive to find that One-Eyed Willy is missing from the cat room. A fellow volunteer explains that he’s been adopted over the weekend. The general consensus is that he has been taken in as a charity case and will be returned when the new owner finds him too difficult to handle. Terrified that whoever this person is will ruin a month of hard work, I can do nothing but wait until they return for his neutering appointment in two weeks. I am working the front desk when a young woman approaches me. She does not have a kennel, but has a cat tucked into her jacket.)

Woman: “Hi! I’m here to drop off Creampuff for his appointment?”

(As any adopted cats are referred to by their new names, it takes me a second to realize that she’s holding One-Eyed Willy! He is purring up a storm, curled up in her arms like a baby. While we go over the paperwork, I notice that he is wearing a hand-knit vest to cover his mange spots. With my heart already melting, I get talking to her.)

Me: “So, has he been behaving himself?”

Woman: “Oh, he’s the best cat in the world! I have a teensy bit of trouble sometimes when I need to go to the store, though.”

(She unzips her jacket and sets One-Eyed Willy on the counter. Immediately, he begins to whine like a baby. She picks him up and he stops.)

Woman: *while giggling and smothering him in kisses* “It’s a good thing I work from home, or I’d be evicted!”

(It isn’t easy working at a shelter, but times like this make it all worth it!)

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These Christmas Miracles Are Predictably Beautiful

, , , , , , | Hopeless | January 11, 2019

(When I am seven and a half months pregnant, my husband passes away suddenly of an undiagnosed heart condition. I have no other family, just some close friends. Things have been tough emotionally and financially. Christmas Eve, I’m buying just essentials — nappies, formula, bread, etc. — but nothing you would class as festive. While waiting in a very long line at the checkout, my six-month-old daughter starts to fuss. A guy in his 50s is behind me and starts making funny faces, causing my daughter to stop crying and laugh, instead. As we get near to the belt, he turns to the lady behind him and says he forgot something and asks if he can run to grab it. She agrees to hold his spot in line. He comes back with a gift card and a box of chocolates in addition to the groceries already in his basket. Once I’m ready to pay, he steps forward.)

Gentleman: “Wait. Please add my things and put $100 on the gift card. I’ll pay for it.”

Me: “Thank you, sir, but that’s okay.”

Gentleman: “Please, I’d like to. Call it an early Christmas present.”

(The cashier rings up his things, as well. The total comes close to $250, with my stuff close to $100. I’m now in tears.)

Me: “Thank you so much. I’ve had a really hard year and this means everything to me. I don’t know how to thank you.”

(He takes out the box of chocolates and gift card and hands them to me, as well.)

Gentleman: “The world could do with more kindness. Not enough people care about others. Take these and enjoy your Christmas with your gorgeous daughter. Things will get better. Merry Christmas, and I hope 2019 is a better year for you.”

(Before I could say anything else, he walked away. Not only was I in tears, but so were the cashier and the lady behind me in line. I was really speechless as I’d heard about things like this but had never witnessed it, let alone had it happen to me. To the gentleman who did this, I really hope you’re reading this. Thank you for your generosity. You made an extremely difficult time of year and a really crappy year so much better. I hope, in times to come, I will be in a position to pay it forward.)

Man’s Best Friend, From Beginning To End

, , , , , , , | Right | April 1, 2013

(A family has just had their old golden retriever euthanized, due to a mix of a bad heart and bone cancer. The whole family is pretty despondent, but the youngest, a little boy, is taking it the worst. While the family is waiting for the paperwork to get finished, one of our regulars — a young Air Force lieutenant — walks in. He quickly notices the group, and approaches the desk.)

Lieutenant: “Did they just have to put someone down?”

(I nod. The lieutenant sits down right next to the boy, who is near tears.)

Lieutenant: “You okay, little guy?”

(The boy nods.)

Lieutenant: “Did you lose someone you care about?”

Boy: “Uh huh…”

Lieutenant: “Do you miss him?”

Boy: “Uh huh…”

Lieutenant: “Did you make every day of his life worth living?”

Boy: “Huh?”

Lieutenant: “I lost my little brother to cancer a few years back, and it tore me up. Had I done everything I could? What if I had done this or that differently? I just didn’t know, and it ate me up inside. Then they read us his will. It said, ‘I thank you, all of you, for making what borrowed time on Earth I had worth it, down to the second. That is all I could have asked for; know that should this cancer take me before I pen this will again, I loved each of you like no other family can, and going out with a smile worth smiling is the best way to go.'”

(The whole family is listening at this point, and the boy is completely enraptured. The lieutenant, lost in his recounting for a moment, looks back at the child.)

Lieutenant: “So, if you did your best — your VERY BEST — to make every day of his life worth living, I’m sure from wherever he is now, he’s looking back on your time together and smiling.”

(The boy runs out of his chair, up to the lieutenant, and gives him a hug. He lets loose all the tears he was fighting back. The father tries to remove the child from his iron-gripped hug, but the lieutenant stops him.)

Lieutenant: *to the father* “It really is no trouble at all…”

(As for the boy, he eventually he cried himself to sleep in the lieutenant’s lap.)

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