I write this column with some trepidation, since many times after I write a something of this sort, I am “gifted” with a new pet, or pets, something which I now, more than ever, don’t need.
So, please, after you read this, don’t drop an unwanted or stray pet in your care off on a roadside somewhere (and please don’t drop it off with me) – be responsible enough, and kind enough, to at least take it to our local animal shelter.
Anyway, back to my story. Christmas Eve last week was like most any other at our house; my family and I were getting ready for our usual quiet Christmas Eve supper and gift-opening. I was cooking up a big pot of chili and cleaning up the house, while Charles ran some last minute errands.
Just before supper, Charles came walking into the house and presented me with my first Christmas “present.”
Anyone who knows me knows I have what many (myself included) would call a mental illness. I love animals of all kinds, but all my life I’ve had a particular weakness for cats – kittens in particular.
When Charles and I served on the original board of the Madison-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter and saw it become a reality six years ago, we thought it would help us personally, in that we’d have somewhere to take the strays that came our way. Well, it has been a help in that department, but there are some of these little creatures that just “get us” with one little look, one tiny whine or meow. In other words, they aren’t going to the shelter – they aren’t going anywhere.
Charles held such an example in his arms Christmas Eve. The little creature appeared to be little more than a bedraggled, somewhat confused little bag of bones and profuse, tangled fur.
Seems that on his way home he passed something half way lying, half way sitting, in the middle of the highway’s centerline. Being the man I love with all my heart, and my companion on many rescue missions over the years, he turned around at the first opportunity and headed back to investigate. The “something” turned out to be what he expected – a tiny fluff ball of a kitten, which almost got run over by a passing truck as he watched. He jumped out of his truck, dread in his heart, thinking that here was an injured animal on Christmas Eve, that he (we) would now have to care for, or, in the worst case scenario, end the suffering of.
The kitten, now standing, but still dead center of the highway, didn’t run, or appear hurt, but instead came toward him when he called. He scooped the little thing up and brought it home before it’s luck ran out.
It appeared a little stunned (probably from the glancing blow of a passing automobile), but besides being very underweight with a general appearance of unkemptness, he seemed otherwise unfazed by his ordeal.
He took immediately to our dogs, to the other cats and most of all to all the fawning people he met - “his public” if you will.
He slept in our daughter Miranda’s arms and then got down to walk over his new domain, carrying his enormously long, fluffy tail as gracefully as he could, tossing it from side to side, or allowing it to drag when it became just too heavy for his weak little body to balance. He was shown the basics – the food bowl, the water dish, the cat door to the laundry room where the litter boxes are. He only needed to see them once to understand the essentials of his new life – particularly the food bowl. Let’s suffice it to say he is quickly losing his undernourished appearance.
I don’t know why yet another cat has joined our already overloaded household, but I do know that there is a God, and that He cares not only for his human creations, but for the “beasts of the field and the fowl of the air,” and yes, even for little kittens.
Call it silly, call it childish, naïve, call it whatever you wish – but it is these “little things” that strengthen my faith, that make me know that God is real and that the story of Jesus is true, in every aspect. God knows how I love a little kitten and He also knew that through some act of unkindness and/or neglect, “Nicholas Claws,” as he’s come to be known, needed a rescuer.
It was no coincidence that Charles came along that stretch of road at that particular time. Something that someone else meant for evil, God meant for good. What better time to teach such a lesson than on the eve of the greatest gift He ever gave.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal.