There are few things more rewarding in life than finding or rescuing love. We find it in so many ways in life, in our partners, in our children and in our friendships. People seek it in their faith and in activities. One of the most rewarding places to find this gift is in rescuing love. I found love in one of the most simple ways; by saving Simon.
I find happiness and joy in animals. Whether it was a goldfish in a bowl or a fat, grumpy hamster, I found solace in the gift of unconditional love offered by animals. We moved often as an army family, and it was never easy to fit in as an introvert. Around animals, I never felt pressure to conform. After my parents divorced, we were forced to live in low-income housing. My address meant that I was rejected by most classmates, as status matters, even in childhood. Thankfully, my hamsters did not care where I lived, only that I was there. The same applied to our parakeets. The fact that they wanted to be with me, brought me great comfort and left a lasting impact on me.
Love When Needed
After graduation, I made many hasty decisions that lead to me being barely an adult before I was expecting my first child. I was scared and unsure and felt alone. One night, when the temperature in our tiny apartment was over 100 degrees, I heard a tiny sound at the opened front door. In walked a tiny, bedraggled, black kitten. He rubbed against my ankles and promptly moved in. Pets were against the lease, but I couldn’t turn him away. KC helped me through those long pregnancy months. He reassured me in the empty nights and played games of hide and seek during the days while I awaited the birth of my first child.
Though I was forced to part with KC when the landlord discovered the contraband cat, we moved and quickly acquired another kitten. She was the polar opposite of her black predecessor; white and standoffish. She still offered love in her own ways by lying with the baby to comfort her and curling up in my lap in the rare quiet moments.
The Right Pet at the Right Time
Over the next two decades, there was a succession of pets; feathered, furred and finned. Each one offered their unconditional love and exhibited unfettered joy for life. What always struck me, was that every companion was somehow a misfit toy. They either had a physical issue, personality quirks or were unwanted by others for some reason. It mattered little to me, they were love wrapped in fur or feathers. Almost every one came to me through adoption or by word of mouth. Though some were only in my life for a brief time, they left an indelible mark on my heart.
One of the most pathetic, but rewarding rescues, was an ugly little dog named, Baby. A cross between a cattle dog and a beagle/lab, she was so unproportionable and homely that I fell in love with her instantly. Her owner had died and she was headed for the pound. She bonded to me the night I discovered her nail had grown into her paw pad and I relieved the pain. She may have been homely on the outside, but pure adoration on the inside. That little dog reaffirmed the reward of rescuing love.
Life Changes; Love Never Does
Life held some unexpected changes. At one point, I was living in South Carolina with my sister. Though I was out of my element, I was quickly at home with her three cats. They grounded me and accepted me unconditionally once again. Back to Maryland and a new home with friends who offered me refuge. Once there, their two dogs quickly welcomed me into their pack.
When I relocated to my current state, I was again floundering. It was a huge adjustment, and for the first time, there was no furry companion to lean on. Finally, the decision was made to find a cat who might fit in with our life. I searched for days on shelter websites and thought I found a suitable candidate. However, the adoption fee was quite steep, so I kept looking. A few days later, I came across the saddest and most terrified pair of blue eyes and my heart was captivated.
Saving Simon; Rescuing Love
I called the shelter and placed a hold on the Siamese cross named Bentley. The next day, I made the 40 mile journey in unfamiliar surroundings to meet those Blue eyes. I was given paperwork and a crate with a terrified bundle of black and brown fur. The whole way home, I just reassured him that he was safe and loved. The shelter staff explained that he came from a chaotic background and he was terribly stressed. He hid in his crate for the first five hours before allowing me to pet him for a few minutes. Then, he took refuge under the bed for two days. When he finally ventured out, it became clear he wasn’t settling in well. Two weeks after joining our family, he needed a trip to the vet and $300 to treat a stress induced urinary tract infection. Sometimes, rescuing love comes with a cost.
Four months later, the renamed Simon, has come into his own. He rules all that he sees, especially my heart. Simon is forceful, demanding and beyond spoiled. No one wanted the stressed out kitty; he was rejected because he was misunderstood. Though others gave up, I found a kindred spirit in his fuzzy heart. By saving Simon, we were rescuing love…for all of us.