- [res-kyoo] verb
“All I want for my birthday is a cat.” That’s how it all started. So simple, yet so complicated.
We spent the weeks leading up to his birthday visiting pet stores, animal shelters and various rescue sites. He wanted them all. He loved them all. He explored aisle after aisle, inspecting cage after cage with mixed emotions: excitement to find the perfect companion, mixed with the weighty sadness of looking into the eyes of caged, abandoned animals. Some knew no other life. They had been born into bondage. Others had been helpless victims of life situations they didn’t understand: health crisis, death, family move, divorce, new relationship, tiredness, or simply inconvenience and lack of commitment.
Then he saw her.
She was a skinny, sad looking ball of uneven, not-sure-what-color fur. The hand-scribbled tag attached to her cage listed her color as “diluted” but I thought she just looked tired and faded..worn and sad, maybe even hopeless; but he reached down and chose her, lifting her out of her caged despair, abandonment, and neglect and into a new world of light and love and life. She leaned into his chest and enfolded herself in his arms and held on. Very close. Very still. She could hear his heartbeat and he could hear the revving of her hope and contentment as she purred like the sound of a thousand well-tuned engines. That’s all it took: leaning in, hearing his heartbeat, trusting his hold and his love for her.
Why did he choose her? Nothing special, she did nothing to earn his love. There were more attractive, well-groomed cats. Cats who jumped, played, made noise, and vied for attention. She was sick, imperfect: fleas, watery eyes, and a little off balance…not very pretty or desired by most standards, but he loved her. He reached in and pulled her close. He wiped her eyes, held her tight, and took her home. She was perfect.
I won’t suggest that animal neglect or abandonment should be weighed on the same scale as human suffering. There are greater, more urgent crises: orphans, slavery, addiction, oppression, starvation, victimization. I won’t offer suggestions or supposed remedies. I will just simply reflect on how one small act can make a difference in a very small corner of a great big world. One choice, one rescue at a time.
I will also remember what it means to be chosen: to be set free, to be held, nurtured, and loved. To be fed, provided for, trained. I will remember that regardless of the situation, the bondage, or the cage, I can lean in, be still, and be rescued. And for that, I am thankful.