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Sayde, The First Of Many Small Miracles To Come by Karen A. Lynch

Having a loving relationship with a pet is one of the great pleasures in life. When we are happy, they share our joy. When we feel the need to play, they are eager participants in our games. When we need some quiet time, they are content to lie beside us and share our dreams. And, when we are sad, they seem to know how best to bring a smile back to our faces.

But of all the elements that make up the bond we have with our animal friends, none is more important then the trust that exists between us. None of the above would be possible without that underlying assurance that we can be trusted to always do what is in their best interest.

Sometimes trust comes easily, but most often it must be earned. And so it was with a cat named Sayde.

For 20 years, I have been rescuing cats. I am lucky to have a friend who is a cat vet, who assists me in placing the many kittens I have rescued. But, for the most part, I am caretaker and friend to the many adult cats not considered adoptable, and who end up living out their lives in my care.

There is one cat, a brown tabby with white markings, who chooses to live his life outdoors, but who is basically my cat. He has chosen me and my house as his permanent residence and takes all of his meals and most of his companionship from me. His name is Scooter.

Scooter has a mission in life. It is his objective to see that all of the mother cats with kittens are escorted to my door, so they may have a chance at a better life than the one living on the streets would provide.

The first I realized this was Scooter’s intention was one warm, spring day in 2002.

I had fed Scooter, and the other assorted neighborhood cats that frequented my Cat-a-teria, which is located in my front yard. Their breakfast eaten, they would go about their business of the day. Save for Scooter, who spent his afternoons lounging under the oak tree. They would not be back until the 5:00 p.m. dinner call.

I began cleaning up the flower beds and sweeping the walk. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught site of Scooter coming up the drive. In tow, were a black and white mother cat and her four kittens.

Scooter came up to me, but the mother cat remained a safe distance away, her tiny kittens keeping close to her side.

From the mode of communication that Scooter and I have developed over the years, Cat Speak, I concluded that what he had in mind was breakfast for his new found friends. So, I left them, went into the house and returned with an additional meal for Scooter, a bowl of food for mom and a saucer of milk for the kittens.

Scooter went right to eating his food, but when I approached the mother cat, she began to hiss and growl. The kittens ran for cover. I stopped in my tracks and put the food down where I was, then quietly retreated into the house. I could see from my vantage point behind the front door, mom and the kittens making short work of the meal.

^top^

And so it was, from then on, twice a day Scooter, momma cat, to whom I gave the name of Sayde, and her four kittens made their appearance at mealtimes. Over time, I thought Sayde would quit the growling and hissing, but she persisted in making it known, that though she might be grateful for the free meals, she wanted me to keep my distance.

I had hoped to make friends, so that I could tame her and the kittens and take them to the vet, where they would be cared for and with luck find good homes. Sayde’s attitude did not bode well for that happening anytime soon.

The kittens, three of which were the same black and white as their mom, and a fourth, that was a plain grey tabby, were growing quickly. I was afraid if I didn’t tame them soon, they would not find the homes I hoped to get for them.

Then one morning, Sayde showed up alone. It was clear, by her demeanor, that she was ill.

Oh, this is a good one, I thought. She is sick. I need to take her to the vet. How am I supposed to get this hissing, growling feline there?

My neighbor, Joe, who is retired and who spends a good deal of his time sitting in his front yard, was observing the goings on.

I looked over at him and said, “This is going to be interesting. Sayde is sick and needs to go to the vet. I need to get her in a carrier to take her there. What do you think the chances are I am going to get that done without losing a hand?”

He just shrugged his shoulders and laughed.

I went in the house to get a carrier thinking she would be gone by the time I got back. But, there she sat. I put the carrier down a short distance from her and walked away.

“Sayde,” I said, and she responded by looking at me.

Wow, I thought, this is seriously nuts. You don’t actually think she is going to get in that box, do you? Heck!

“Sayde,” I repeated, “You are sick. I have to take you to the vet. You have to get in the box.”

Right!

Trust is something we sometimes have to earn. Someone willing to put all their trust in you when it counts most is your reward for your efforts.

Sayde walked to the box, gave it a sniff and walked in and sat down – no lie, I promise you.

A small, but very important miracle had just occurred.

I closed the carrier door, placed her on the back seat of my truck and took her to the vet. She was sick indeed, and would require hospitalization. I left her there and returned home wondering where in the world were her kittens.

Scooter provided the answer, when he came marching up the drive followed close behind by four confused and hungry kittens. They ate and before I could round them up, he had made off with them.

The next morning, kitten sitter, Scooter, was back with his young charges. One night guarding four motherless kittens was more than even the brave hearted Scooter could take. So, discretion being the better part of valor, he left them with me.

I was able to round them up and take them to the vet. But, their mom was too sick to care for them. After determining they were old enough to make it on their own, they got weaned.

Eventually, Sayde recovered, and the two male, black and white kittens found homes. But, Sayde and her two girls came to live with me. I named the black and white one Oreo, and the grey one, Misty Mu.

Sayde staked out my office as her space of choice and moved in with her girls. They are my company and my inspiration, as I ply my trade as a writer and publisher.

Yesterday, much to our dismay, Sayde chose to move on to her heavenly home. There she will reside safe in the care of her creator, who saw fit to share her with us for much too short a time.

Trust is something we sometimes have to earn and nourish, but once achieved is rewarded with a lifetime of gratitude and love.




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