I Picked Up A Stray


I walked down the hall slowly, step by step. I watched her in front of me, and as she turned to look at me. I knew she was anticipating my next move. She waited, and turned into the room and jumped on the bed, and I was glad I picked up a stray seven years ago.
Chloe, or Clover (for luck), as we often call her, has been a blessing in disguise. As I heal from a total hip replacement, this furry, feline friend has never left my side. Do cats have healing powers? I believe they have the power to heal, and soothe the soul. 
Chloe was tossed to the streets seven years ago, on a cold winter night. I watched her daily, roaming the streets and sidewalk in my neighborhood. At the time, I already had a cat and dog, so taking in another animal was not in my dream package of the purrfect home. 
As two days turned into three, Chloe wandered the streets eating trash and hanging out on the porch where my neighbors had recently moved away. On a snowy evening after I returned from work, Chloe got up her nerve and introduced herself. As I was standing outside, this long haired, gray and white feline proceeded to wind around my legs, and within five minutes she wound around my heart. As her soft, tiny meow echoed through the dark evening, it all became crystal clear, my old neighbors had thrown this cat to the curb, as they loaded their belongings into their car.

How people can leave their pets behind is beyond me. When I take in an animal, it’s a lifetime commitment, and Chloe has become a part of my family. Chloe has been by my side for the past three weeks as I have laid in bed, some nights in agony and pain. She serenades me with an enchanting, calming purr that is quite loud for such a tiny creature. I often wonder how long she would have survived on those cold, wintry nights. I wonder too, how many litters of kittens she would have added to the cat population of feral, roaming, meowing creatures that lurked in the shadows at night.

Our animals are our family. When you adopt a pet, you make a life long commitment to this tiny creatures, to care for it, feed it and keep it from illness and harms way. I’ve noticed far too many animals that roam freely in my neighborhood, and I have to wonder how many do not have homes.
I understand that sometime a job change or even a move to another home, may require a family to make a gut wrenching decision to not bring the family pet along. It is our responsibility as pet owners to find appropriate housing or even surrender at a shelter, if the need be. My hope is all animals stay in their fur ever homes, but I do know some circumstances are beyond our control.

If you are seeking a new pet friend for your home, please make sure you are willing to make the life long commitment to a furry friend. Check with your local shelter to see if they have a pet compatible for your home. Adopt from a local shelter to help reduce the pet population in your area. Always spay or neuter your pet, as it is best for their health and well being. If you must surrender a pet, find a friend who is willing to take on the responsibility of pet ownership, or find a no- kill shelter to leave your beloved family member. On one last note, please do not toss your pet to the curb, they loved you unconditionally and deserve a second chance at love. 

Chloe is laying by my side as I type this story, and my hope she will continue to be my sidekick for many more years to come. I believe we healed each other’s hearts, and their aren’t a lot of friends out there that I can say that about. 

Sandie Heckman


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