We had done it a million times before; leaving the front door open for JUST a second. But she usually didn’t care. We would run in to grab ‘one more thing,’ and then scoot out the door, firmly locking it behind us. And she really didn’t care. Sure, she might come and investigate, but she had food, water, a comfy blankie - she had it made on the ‘inside.’ What was so much better for her on the ‘outside?’
But then, one day, the unthinkable happened.
She got out.
Sam, the indoor-only, seven-year old, collar-less kitty, was gone.
Like GONE GONE - that kind of gone.
She had only ever been outside once before, and at that time she had barely got past our front yard, so stiff with fear she was of the great outdoors. But this time, fear meant nothing to her. There was no finding her.
We searched high and low – under neighbours’ decks, in bushes, in garages – everywhere. Not a fuzzy kitty in sight.
With heavy hearts, my three men slouched around the house. Every sound outside had them running to the windows, scanning the grounds with hope. Every time we drove through our parking lot, all eyes scanned the bushes for a fuzzy little kitty.
I know everyone was thinking the worst, not daring to speak dreadful thoughts. I tried to keep their hopes up and thoughts positive, but it was hard.
Sam came to us from a local pet store, Pets West. As she came to the pet store via Victoria Animal Control (rescue) one of my sons wondered – did she have a chip or tattoo that we didn’t know about?
So as requested, and only on faint-hope whim, I hustled to the pet store. Maybe they did, by chance, have a record of her being chipped or tattooed. A chip or tattoo wouldn’t find her, but if someone took her to the animal shelter, it might be easy to identify her. I secretly hoped they had implanted a microscopic GPS somewhere on our feline friend.
Meghan, sales clerk of Pets West, said they didn’t have any record of such on our kitty, but told me to call animal control to see what they knew. I later did check, but with no luck....
Meghan gave us something more.
A bit of hope.
After handing me Sam’s file number and the phone number for animal control, she gave me a few pointers. She suggested I send her a photo and details of our lost kitty, and not only would she set up a ‘lost kitty’ notification of Facebook – lots of ‘shares’ of lost pets has helped in the past – but she would also post an ad on the stores’ website. AND she would post a ‘lost kitty’ poster in their store.
I raced home and shared the news with my heartbroken men. I recanted the ‘Find Lost Kitty’ plan, but sprinkled it with ‘no promises.’ But it gave them hope. The thought that someone was doing SOMETHING lifted their spirits. They were most, most surprised that someone would go out of their way to do all that.
So with details sent to Meghan, and ‘lost kitty’ posters around our neighborhood, all we could do was wait. And hope. And keep our paws crossed.
Two days later, I had two emails. One was from Meghan confirming her facebook/website work, and the other from a concerned animal lover - a total stranger - who saw the advertisements. Not only did she express her concern for our family, but she also gave a few tips to enhance our ‘Find Lost Kitty’ plan. Facebook was full of ‘shares’ and comments from other concerned folks – folks we didn’t know.
When I shared these emails with my family they, too, were overwhelmed. It amazed us that so much was being done for us, and by people we didn’t know.
It was a lesson in community. In folks lookin’ out for other folks. It gave us all a bit of hope, that maybe, MAYBE someone would see some trace of our furry Sam. We weren’t paying anyone to do this, we didn’t know any of these people. Everyone’s actions and concerns overwhelmed us.
Days went by and not a tuft of hair was to be seen. At the recommendation of many, I left her favorite blankie outside, in the hope that her smell/homing beacon would kick-in. Nothing.
A week and 17 hours later, there she was. Sitting in our parking stall when my one of my son’s and husband came home after a Slurpee run (not that Slurpees have anything to do with it, but I felt it should be noted here.)
Without barely any coaxing, Sam willingly came to my husband, and silently, and without excitement for fear of scaring her, we carried her in the house.
And locked the door – double checking it five times over.
As I write this, Sam is happy and healthy and is wearing her first collar ever, complete with engraved tag and a bell – just in case.
And the way she is sulking around with the unfamiliar ‘noose’ around her neck, the bell and tag tinkling with every step, I suspect she’s thinking –
“And I came home for THIS?”
A special shout-out and thanks goes to Meghan and other supportive staff at Pets West, as well as all the folks on facebook who lifted us up when we needed it!