Have you any idea how you changed my life? You, an abandoned young cat, who somehow got to the Humane Society. Soon after putting our 21-year-old calico to sleep, I looked on-line for another calico cat to adopt. Your little blurry face in the photo caught my eye and I printed the information about you. A month later we were ready to see if you were still available for adoption, and there you were in a cage, waiting for a forever home. We held you and you hugged and snuggled us. We thought we were adopting a sweet cat, but little did we know that you needed a job in addition to being a house-cat.
A few years later I took you to see Grandpa in a skilled nursing facility. You had to wear a harness and leash to make this visit. Surprisingly, you were fairly comfortable with this restraint and Grandpa was happy to see you. Many cat-lover-patients were happy to see you, too. You had so many requests to visit other rooms! I was about to retire from teaching and wondered how I would spend my time, then YOU taught me a new passion – doing pet-therapy with you.
You and I were certified as a Love on a Leash pet-therapy team and also trained to volunteer as pet-therapists with The Elizabeth Hospice. Your work as a cat-therapist was amazing from the start! You were so protective and snuggly with your very first hospice patient. You sat on the chest of a woman who called you “my constant friend” and spoke German to you in her final weeks. I know you understood her perfectly; if not her German, then the language of her Soul. I had no idea you had healing skills until one day you began heading toward knees or hips of patients recuperating from replacement surgery.
Moorea, your sweet spirit has lead us to volunteer at a local hospital, nursing homes, veteran recuperative apartments, a brain trauma and spinal cord facility, and so many more locations where petting a cat is just what is needed. How do you know exactly what to do at the perfect time? After eight years chauffeuring you to your visit appointments, you never cease to amaze me.
This Halloween is 14-years since we adopted you. You have arthritis and the start of renal failure, yet you continue to visit people at least 2-days per week, gently stepping out of your pet-stroller and finding the perfect place to snuggle with each person. You will always be our “Cat That Flew” on a plane to San Francisco to be inducted as the 2010 California Veterinary Medical Association’s Pet of the Year. Very few felines can claim this honor.
One day you will need to retire from your therapy-work. I’m crying as I type this because I can’t even fathom my life once your work is done. What will we do without this mission you have taught us? We cannot give to others the way you do so unconditionally.
Thankfully that day is not today nor tomorrow; you still have time to bask in the sunshine under the palm tree, chase lizards in the garden, and travel with us to Zion National Park. Daddy will feed you little pieces of bacon and a fingertip of cream cheese off his bagel. And I will continue to learn from you. I will be faithful in my service to others. I will attempt to open my ears & heart to listen to those I visit. I will practice living in the moment. I will embrace each new adventure with confidence.
Precious Moorea, I thank God for bringing us together. I love the life you gave me in my retirement years.
Written by Nancy Denen