It is late in April, 2004, typical Michigan weather. Could be sunny and 80 degrees or rainy and 40. This particular year mother nature chose the latter. My husband Barry and I had just arrived back home from our own "little piece of paradise" in Pawley's Island, S.C.
We had purchased a condo there in Dec. 2000-looking forward to every visit-dreading returning to Michigan. In 2004, we were still reeling and somewhat still in shock from Sept.11. At this time Barry was still working, so we were only able to spend three weeks at the condo. This story begins with us having returned to a cold April, late in the month. But the cold did not deter the grass from growing-so we bundled up and proceeded to cut, rake, and clean up the front yard. Barry had turned off the lawn mower. I was given the task of raking the grass into piles. Our home is a beautiful cape cod ranch with a bay window in front. As I was raking I heard this loud "mew"-thinking it was a baby bird I didn't think much of it. The second "mew" was much louder. I then realized it had to be a kitten. I called Barry over-"listen" "Oh that's just a baby rabbit he replied. "No, that is a kitten!. So he reluctantly got on all fours and proceeded to look-sure enough, under the opening of the bay window was this tiny, tiny newborn kitten. White all over, except for over his right eye and a blotch on his tummy. I remembered seeing a rear of a white cat that morning..it must of been mama cat moving her babies. We must have been a concern to her, having just arrived back home. Now you must realize we had just put our yellow lab down after sixteen years and a cat that we had for twelve years. So we were both pretty gun shy about getting another pet. The loss is so hard to take. But the irony was, as we were driving back home this trip, we spoke about possibly getting a pet. We felt a dog was too much with our traveling. But maybe a cat would do just fine...Most of the cats we have adopted were in their last years. I always felt they deserved their last days in a quit and loving environment.
So you ask "what happened"? I told Barry if mother cat does not come back for this one by 7:oo p.m. I am bringing him into the house. The temperature that night was going into the 20's. No way could I sleep in a warm bed and house knowing this little fellow was in the cold. "He'll never make it" Barry said. "Well, better he dies in a warm shoe box with a warm body next to him than to be killed and eaten by a dog or raccoon" I said. I was determined this little creature of God was not going to freeze to death. As you can guess I got my way. I found a shoe box, put in a nice soft towel and one of my beanie baby penguins. There were lot of trials and tribulations, trips to the vet and lots of money spent but it has a good ending.
The only bad experience I had was the morning after we found him. I made a trip to our local animal shelter. When I got there and handed him over to the lady she proceeded to walk into another room. "Wait a minute, where are you going with him?" "Ma'am, we just don't have the staff to care for it". "I did not stay up all night nursing this little guy just to have you put him down" "I'm truly sorry ma’am, but we just don't..." "I know, I know, give him back to me, my husband and I will care for him."Now you must understand, I did not intend for this to happen. I was still not sure if we wanted another pet. And heaven forbid if he didn't make it! This baby was only a few days old...I had never raised a kitten from birth, but I knew a few folks who had. So I contacted who I knew and they put me in touch with others who knew what to do. With their help and help and guidance from the vet Patch began to improve and grow into a raucous little kitten. Eventually the vet told me I had done a good job and that Patch was going to make it. And make he has!! All thirteen pounds of him-beautiful white fur with a black eye patch, he has become our "little boy" we never had. The love and dedication we both had for this little guy is evident in his love and dedication to us, keeping us happy and content.
I do believe in divine intervention. Our pets usually find us because God sent them to us. A short aside… Many years ago our daughter had a second grade teacher, at a Christian school, who told the class that animals to not have souls, therefore they do not go to heaven. This did not go over well with either I or Barry. Having never confronted a teacher before, I marched up to her and told her to never, never tell my daughter that our pets do not go to heaven, because she knows better.
My favorite poem, ironically written by a devout Christian, poet and hymn-writer, Cecil Frances Alexander expresses my feelings:
ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
ALL THINGS WISE AND WONDERFUL
THE LORD GOD MADE THEM ALL...
That he did and continues to, to this day.
Our Patch turned seven years old this past April 24, and every time I look at him I see the most adorable and loveable, sweetest creature in the world. Throughout the years I have looked for but have not seen Patch's siblings or mama. So I just thank God everyday for bringing this little fellow into our lives, and filling us with such joy.