A wise person once said, “Take a chance. You never know how perfect something might turn out to be.”
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially as we approach Thanksgiving, a time when gratitude is on the minds of so many of us.
Right now, our house is a cornucopia of nuggets. We have Mama Maggie, a beautiful Tuxedo — hardly more than a kitten herself — and her six sweet and squirmy babies. And then there’s Princess Fiona, an elegant adult who’ll be on her way home next week. And baby Turkey, a little demon if ever there was one, who’ll come to us in just a few days. And of course we have our lovable permanent tribe to keep us busy: Walter, Leon Bear, Charley Boy, Bella, Yoda, and Sophia.
Last week was a busy one for adoptions. I delivered Trixie and Trinket (now Trixie and Norton!) to their new home, as well as “supermodel” Zoey to her beautiful new mom. And what a treat to take sweet Sugar to her adoring new family. I love and miss them all.
I also had the extraordinary gift of delivering a dog named Gidget, who was rescued by Animal League America from the brutal meat trade in Thailand, to her new home with my friends David and Neil and their beautiful children. What a moving experience.
I also want to share some good news about former fosters like River, who was found starving just a month ago. He spent much-needed TLC time at my house before heading to his new home, where he’s settled in beautifully. And remember Tiki, who was found with a rope around her neck tied to a tree? She’s now completely in charge of her new home — happy, safe, and loved!
And Milo! Three months ago Animal League America saved him from euthanasia. Since then, he’s been medically treated, nurtured, and loved. Next week surgeons will remove one of his eyes — it turns out he can see a little out of his other — and he’ll be in his home for Thanksgiving!
And then, three weeks ago, I undertook one of my biggest foster challenges ever: two beautiful feral brothers, Fig and Dumpling, about 5 months old. Howard and I spotted them frolicking near a busy road. I called my rescue friend, who has expertise trapping ferals, and she caught them. They were neutered, tested, declared 100 percent healthy, and vaccinated. We didn’t have the heart to release them with winter on the way, so we decided to take a chance.
Despite one scratch on my face when I got a little too confident, Fig and Dumpling are coming around just fine — and so, I must confess, am I. Taming ferals is a learning experience. For instance, thanks to the wise counsel of the feline experts at Animal League America, I’m discovering a deeper kind of patience — and what it means to take baby steps. I’m also learning to recognize and celebrate tiny moments of progress — and it’s paying off.
Fig and Dumpling now let me pet them — even while they’re eating! — and they love their feather toys. Howard and I are happy we took a chance on these two — and the magical part is that they’re opening up and taking a chance on us, too, and on the human species in general. Someday, when they’re ready to “fly,” they’ll be perfect companions, because we all took a chance on each other.
And I want to thank all the people who recently took a chance on Elsa, a 7-week old black kitten. A woman found this stray nugget at a construction site and brought her home to keep her. When she took her to a veterinarian, the doctor diagnosed poor little Elsa’s grim condition: a diaphragmatic hernia, which was causing many life-threatening problems. The doctor said Elsa needed surgery immediately. Unfortunately the woman could not afford the surgery and felt she had no option but euthanasia. Meanwhile, the veterinary technicians at this local hospital had fallen in love with Elsa and were devastated. So they contacted me and I contacted my wonderful friends at Animal League America — and just like that Elsa was on her way to surgery and good health. When the staff at the animal hospital learned this sweetie would finally be safe, they cried!
But sometimes the chances we take in life seem to have minds of their own. About a month ago, our beautiful, green-eyed foster Echo entered the hospital for heart surgery. We fully expected a successful recovery, but Echo’s beautiful heart wasn’t strong enough. We lost him. This was a shock, not only to us but also to a lovely woman named Suzanne who’d already been approved to adopt Echo.
Suzanne had waited patiently to love and care for Echo, and to her great credit, she didn’t give up. Just last week Suzanne visited Animal League America and adopted Leeza, who’d spent a whole year patiently waiting for Suzanne. I believe this match is the blessing Echo left all of us in thanks for taking a chance on him. I’m so happy for Leeza and Suzanne, and Echo, we’ll love you forever.
I urge you to visit your local shelter and take a chance on life. In all the most important ways, adopting a homeless dog or cat will turn out to be perfect. And you’ll always be grateful for having a chance to save a precious life.
Thank you for supporting North Shore Animal League America’s lifesaving, no-kill mission.
And Happy Thanksgiving to all.