Spring is typically associated with blooming flowers, baby chicks, and changing weather. Many people tend to gravitate towards family outings such as picnics, ballgames, and fishing. The world seems bright and exciting after winter’s chill.
But for some, spring is just another season to spend contemplating on how to cope with life’s latest challenge, either as a family or alone. The sounds of happy birds and children playing outside can sometimes reinforce loneliness or loss – both material and physical.
Sitting on my back porch looking out on my pond, I reflected on how I dealt with my own issues these past two years, especially during the spring. What had I done that had enabled me to handle each new dilemma? Why had I survived a situation that my coworkers said they couldn’t or wouldn’t even consider?
A thump on the door opening onto the back porch provided me with the answer. Staring at me were my two feline friends. They were the answer I had been searching for just now.
Each of my cats entered my life at a time when it seemed that I was being overwhelmed with challenges. Two years ago my husband took a job across the state. I agreed to stay behind so that my youngest daughter, Rae, could finish her junior and senior years in her current high school. I would continue to teach fourth grade just in case the job did not work out.
A few days before the new school year began, I was feeling blue. I decided I needed mall therapy and took my two daughters to the new outdoor mall in town. I was headed for Talbots, Rae to Claire's, and my oldest daughter, Leigh, to the new SPCA mall adoption center.
Unable to find anything of interest in Talbots, I meandered down to the SPCA mall adoption center. It was there that I found the cure for my feelings of sadness, loneliness, and fear.
The moment I entered the adoption center, Leigh grabbed my arm and dragged me over to a cage holding a small grey ball of fur. The SPCA volunteer handed the grey ball of fur to me, and my heart melted. I didn't put the little kitten named Gracie down until it was time to load her into a carrier for the car ride home. It was Gracie's companionship that helped me manage the loneliness I felt that year with my husband so far away and Leigh's impending college graduation just around the corner.
Benjamin Bunny entered my life in a similar fashion. My husband surprised me with a rare weekend visit about a year after Gracie became a member of the family. We were walking through the same outdoor mall, and I convinced him to let me stop in at the SPCA store so I could get Gracie a toy and make a donation to the SPCA.
Within minutes of entering, I spotted Ben. He was so adorable with his big ears, quizzical expression, and huge paws. As soon as I held him, I knew that he was the perfect addition to our growing feline family.
And, I was right. From the moment Benjamin Bunny entered our lives he brought laughter, love, and a sparkle to our family. Whenever I was down, Benjamin always managed to get me to giggle with his humorous antics.
Adopting or rescuing Gracie and Ben was the solution to surviving a difficult time in my life. Focusing on someone other than myself helped melt away my loneliness and fear. It provided me with a distraction from the daily dilemmas that were becoming overwhelming at times.
It is this realization that forces me to ask "who really rescued who"? I may have freed Gracie and Ben from a life within a cage, but they have given me companionship and laughter. Gracie and Ben helped me find a positive side to an otherwise challenging two years.
Until another thought blooms,
Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.
– George Elliot