Photo-a-Day: Search

jasonTwo weeks ago, we added a feline to the household. We had become a one-cat house, and Henry, our big and beloved tiger, was lonely. VERY lonely.

We prepared a place and went on a search. Perhaps the local no-kill cat shelter would have a new friend… and they did.

Jason, with his pumpkin-colored eyes, kittenish ways and soft purr wound around our ankles and reeled us in. Our search for cat #2 was over.

Jason was a stray and ended up at the County shelter. The no-kill shelter scooped him up and fostered him, had him neutered and brought him to their cat-house. (Imagine a house full of cat-trees, cat beds, and cat cozy spots. It was magical.) He  was a little shy, but enjoyed our attention. He had dirty patches in his fur and some matted spots on his tail. 

Today Jason roams the house, tortures the rather portly Henry, and has found many ways to enchant us with his energy and love. The places where his fur was matted and dirty are clean and silky smooth, and he’s put on a little weight.

His search for a safe place is over. 

P.S. The shelter always has cats up for adoption. Check them out the Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County. Be sure to tell them if you visit that Jason says, puurrrrrrrr! 


The Quiet Visitor

She seemed to be an introvert. Yet she showed great thoughtfulness and care in her interactions. She tiptoes in a room, sidling by anyone standing in the doorway. She watches the room’s occupants, gauges who might need some personal care, and then gives them her undivided attention.

I am new here. I observe her way of engaging. On my way out of the building, she stopped to visit with me. I felt welcomed.

Sometimes the smallest creature in the room has the largest impact. I learned a lot from her.

She is a small grey cat with white mitts and green eyes. Her name is Shadow. And I am her student.

Mr. Henry’s Wild Ride: Or… what happens when the chaplain is sleep-deprived

Last week was one of those weeks where sleep deprivation did a number on me. I had to take my car in to our mechanic for servicing, which required that I ride the bus home. I am normally a functioning adult and have no trouble picking the right bus. However, due to the creeper factor (creepy mid-day bus riders who are not professionals coming home from work), I left the bus shelter too quickly and boarded the wrong bus. I realized this, of course, well into the bus route that was quickly winding far away from my neighborhood.

I felt a little sheepish. I had reacted out of instinct – Get away from the creeper. Board a bus. ANY bus.

Exactly what I counsel my daughters not to do… Sigh.

I claim sleep deprivation as my excuse, since Wednesday was a short-night of sleep and Thursday morning’s commute home took twice as long. I did get a short nap before driving my car to the mechanic. But it was not enough to be quick on my feet.

When I found common sense returning, I pulled out my phone to verify where the bus route would terminate (at a Metro station), rode back to the original Metro station where I first started my crazy journey, and boarded a bus (the correct one, this time!) to Bearded Brewer’s office. It was a happy coincidence that he was ready to go home anyway.

IMG_3281When we got home, we realized we were minus a cat. When and how it happened we don’t know, but Henry managed to slip out some time between Wednesday afternoon (when I was working in the back yard before I went to work) and Thursday morning (when the back door was open and the screen ajar). I worked Wednesday night, and other than noting his absence that morning, we were both clueless.

We went through every crevice and hidey-hole in the house. No Henry. The other cats paced. We worried. No sign of him all night. We searched the yard and the neighborhood. No sassy boy cat. We sent out prayer SOS bulletins. We went to sleep, worried. Somewhere around 4 am, Henry was mewing at the back door.

We petted him, thanked God, and fell dead asleep. Henry roamed the house, nervous and ill at ease. His caterwauling was music to our ears! He got a visit to the vet for his troubles the next day. (And while we were at it, we took Tiria along for company and her shots.) So ended another tale of Mr. Henry’s Wild Ride.

While it took me a few days to process all this (remember I was sleep-deprived) I finally did reach some conclusions. Here’s what I’ve decided…

There are times we all get going in the wrong direction. And most of the time, we come to our senses and get a do-over. It took a while for me to connect-the-dots on my errant bus ride and Henry’s little adventure. I’m guessing that by the time Henry realized he was on the wrong side of the door, that he wished mightily for things to change. It took a while to sort things out, but eventually, he was inside again.

There are also times we take off on our own, determined to strike out on a new adventure, only to realize it was a terrible mistake. And like the Prodigal in the Bible, the door is always open and we are welcomed home. More times than I want to remember, God’s love and acceptance welcomes my rebellious, stubborn heart home where it belongs.

There are times when the best thing we can do is sleep on it. And then, with a few more REM cycles in our pockets, reconsider what we need to do to make things right. That goes for politics, people, and pussycats.

Thanks be to God.

Friday Five: Cats or Dogs or What?

Jan over at RevGalBlogPals has this week’s Friday Five:

In my experience in the United States, people are either “Dog People” or “Cat People.” So I am wondering about pets and experiences with them.

Well, you HAVE seen this video, haven’t you? 🙂

OK, on with the questions…

1. Are you a DOG or a CAT person? Or OTHER?

Oh, I do love our cats. Since we’ve been married, we’ve had 7 cats (sometimes more than one at a time.) I enjoy other people’s dogs, but I haven’t had the urge to add a dog to the household. We do have fish. But other than eating food, fish don’t make much of a connection.

2. Who were the pets of your childhood and what were they like?

We had mostly cats. The most recent ones my parents had were named after Dr. Seuss characters: Sam-I-am and Hoos Foos. (Hoos and Foos were TWO cats, a brother and a sister. They “let!” us take home two! My mom was NOT amused.) The exceptions to the cats were remarkable, irreplaceable dogs. The last dog we owned was a gorgeous, slightly goofy St. Bernard named Fezzik. (No, he didn’t rhyme.) He had many funny attributes, not the least of which was being “class clown” at his obedience school.

3. What pets do you have now?

3 cats, fish and a snake. The snake couldn’t go to college, but now that he has a diploma, he will be moving on. No, no. We INSIST.

4. Have you ever had any unusual pets in your household or visit your home?

Well our ball python was probably the most unusual one I expected to see in my own home. The other unusual one was the gecko who climbed up and down the curtains at a friend’s home during a La Leche League meeting.

5. What have you learned from your pets? Give one recent example, if possible.

Among other things, it’s OK to stop and smell what’s on the wind. And that just about ANYTHING can be a toy if you’re in the mood to play.

BONUS: Pictures or anything else related to animals you love.

Henry: My study buddy and all-around lap warmer model.
Tiria, in one of her many sleeping spots.
Tiria, in one of her many sleeping spots. She is the shy but beautiful one. Funny thing about her: I can pet her all I want if it’s at night and she can’t see me.
Polgara, the Elder Statescat
Polgara, the elder statescat. Her arthritic joints love her heated bed.
Calvin the ball python – putting in an appearance as a scrunchie. He’s a WEE BIT BIGGER now.