Daisy was a kitten, make that a kitten fetus, that was scheduled for termination in 24 hours.
That was the amount of time allowed for stray animals to be recovered by family or adopted, after collection by the City of Rochester’s downtown Animal Control Agency. Let’s face it. There are a lot of strays. A lot. They all need shots, food, water, shelter, and love. And many just aren’t destined to receive.
But Daisy was. Because my friend Sarah, who worked at the vet office I took my dog to, had a friend (can you follow this?) who worked at the city pound, who called Sarah to report a sweet and pretty one year old pregnant ‘kitten’ had been collected from an abandoned building and was scheduled for termination – could she help??
Sarah ran downtown on her lunch hour and adopted the pregnant cat, let her have her litter, hand raised them, and adopted them out. Daisy was one of them. I adopted her and I got my neighbors to adopt a brother of hers too, ‘Rocky’ who ended up living next door – pretty cool. The other four kittens Sarah found homes for, and she took the oh-so-sweet mother herself.
So, I went in to the vet 14 years ago to get my then Golden Retriever Lilly heart worm med refills. Sarah enthusiastically greeted me at the door and offered me a kitten. At first I resisted. But with persistence, I was coaxed into ‘just seeing’ the two week old litter in the back and that was it. I succumbed. And boy am I glad I did.
A few weeks later I returned to the office for my pick of the litter. I picked Daisy because she had a cool orange triangle on her neck that pointed forward (in the direction we should all be looking right?) and her coat was oh so silky soft. I mean so soft you could barely feel it. She was so multi-colored I have no idea what you’d classify her as – some kind of tabby mix I always thought.
She was a darling, sweet little thing who ended up being ‘spring loaded’ (as Jason called it), frequently leaping straight up from a crouched position to catch butterflies and unsuspecting birds (sniff) in our yard in her youth. She started taking care of Lilly too, grooming her head and face when the mood struck her, as if Lilly needed more help taking care of herself – after all she was only a dog…
Anyway, all this began 14 years ago. Wow I can’t believe it. 14 years.
Since then Jason and I got married, adopted Comet (stay tuned for Comet – he’s a hoot), moved to NC, had two beautiful boys, lost Lilly (to cancer), quit my full time job, got Dixie, our second Golden Retriever, and continue to follow our life’s path wherever it takes us.
14 years ago when I picked Daisy however, I had no idea I’d have a bouncy baby boy named Jack, who for some reason Daisy just adored from the second he came to our home. And it was so fun and heart warming to see.
When he was a baby, Daisy would lay close by Jack and keep watch. He’d coo at her and reach for her soft fur, her flicking tail, her marble-like, sea-green, eyes. And, nothing he did turned her away. Naturally a gentle child, Jack would stroke her, play with her tail and ears, rub her caramel colored, speckled belly, and she’d purr so loudly I could hear her across the room.
When he was home sick, she was instantly on his lap or by his side, purring and offering her kitty comfort for hours on end. She came to him when he called. When he ran towards her she didn’t shy away – instead she’d lay down where she was, and brace herself for the onslaught of pets and snuggles and wet, sticky, baby juice kisses.
She found a favorite hole under a large tree root out back in our woods that is situated right by the swing set and sandbox where she watched him play. And, while a friendly and gentle cat, she was always a bit timid and shy with everyone – except Jack. He was her boy to the fullest and he adored her right back for nine years.
Until last Monday. Feb 2nd. Groundhog Day. When we suddenly and unexpectedly found we had to say goodbye.
We found her curled up in her bed and thought she was sleeping, but sadly it was more than that. There was shock, sadness, disbelief, tears as there always is when you suffer the loss of a beloved furry friend.
To ease the pain, we found a picture, which Jack quietly carried around with him all day. It is now framed and sitting on the shelf next to his bed.
We remembered the tale of the Water Bug and the Dragonfly. Do you know that one? Where the water bugs are happy living under the water together until one of them mysteriously swims to the top, pierces through, and never returns? Where did he go? Why did he leave they all wondered? Until one by one they were all gone, and the last one finds himself too, compelled to swim to the top of the pond, and break through the water to surprisingly discover he’s become a happily soaring Dragonfly, along with all the friends he thought he ‘lost’.
And we talked of how happy Daisy must be in her new home. And we pondered her being back with Lilly who left our ‘pond’ seven years ago, and how nice it will be, to one day perhaps, see them again.
And we buried her gently in her bed, in her favorite hole, under the tree root in our woods, where she can still watch over the boys as they play and grow. And we fashioned a cross out of sticks. And tied pansies to its center because we wanted her to have flowers (pansies are the one flower that grows through the winter here in sunny NC – how I love this place).
And we said our last goodbyes and a little prayer asking for her to be happy and for help with our hurt.
And now it is finished. And we’re moving on. Enjoying memories and thinking fondly of our little, furry, dragonfly who has flown on ahead of us. And who we know, continues to want her Jack and all of us, to look in the direction her pretty little orange triangle was always pointing and…live happy.