By Patricia Dugan
Life is good! The old house has been sold and a new adventure begins in Aiken. Retirement is freeing. A time for adventures, wonderful new neighbors, traveling, and a new home. With less responsibilities and all the time in the world to get busy on my bucket list, I should be quite happy.
But upon returning from a month in France, I realized something was missing as I sat in the overwhelming silence of my new life. My furry companions had both gone on to cross The Rainbow Bridge and I was missing the jingle of Merlin’s collar and the soft footfalls of Nimmy when I came through the door. There was a hole in my heart.
“I’ll just look,” I told myself. The little voice inside my head echoed the naysayers. Why would you tie yourself down, you’re getting older, do you really want to start over with a new pet? And so I went to look.
My first journey to the Aiken County Animal Shelter was an adventure. I was thinking maybe a cat as I reminded myself that I was just looking!! So many to choose from – old, young, big, small, active, sleepy, black, white, and orange. Just looking. Driving home empty handed, I said to myself that I would never find another Nimmy and that I shouldn’t even try.
The following week I checked the FOTAS Facebook page and saw a photo of a litter of the most adorable tuxedo kittens in all of South Carolina. Instant love for the sweet little girl with the pink collar called “Desiree”. I’ll just go look. Of course I thought about it all day and waited until just about closing time to go to the shelter on Wire Road.
There she was. She came right to the window of her cat condo to check me out. And oh, that face! Love at first sight. I had forgotten how that felt.
“May I hold her?” I asked the staff member assisting me. And there it began. She cuddled into my neck and her soft and steady purring told me she had found her new home, too.
It has been more than a week now and Desiree aka “Pip Squeak” and I have grown quite fond of each other.
Her sweetness has reminded me of so many things that I had forgotten and that go unnoticed each day. The shadow cast by the window in the early morning sun makes a perfect maze for hopscotch. A pencil rolling on the floor makes a sound that brings squeals of joy. The computer screen is the best place for hide and seek. A kitchen is a jungle of sights, sounds and smells to be explored. A bed and cozy down comforter is a refuge from a busy day of joy and play. It’s all about how you see the world. Pip Squeak teaches me to tackle each day with a smile and cherish the joy of living. I had forgotten that. She is so much more than just a cat.
Go to the shelter and take a look. You may find just what you are looking for! The adoption fee for all cats and kittens is just $15 through Sept. 3 – includes spay/neutering, all vaccines and microchip.
Their lives are in our hands.