The Kindness of Strangers
The heart of my heart. Even if you’ve never heard me say that, it only takes a few minutes to realize how important my cat, Maggie, is to me. For nearly 11 years, she has been my joy, my frustration, my solace.
She is as great a part of my online presence as she is my real life. So, when I realized she was missing a week ago, it was to social media that I turned. And I learned…
My friends are amazing, beautiful, compassionate people. I don’t know the full reach of posts, but here are some things I do know:
- Two Facebook/Twitter posts were shared more than 200 times, often by people I’ve never met.
- She was posted to at least four Birmingham area neighborhood and animal rescue groups.
- Her HomeAgain email alert was forwarded to my entire neighborhood association email by a complete stranger.
- My veterinary technician saw Maggie’s poster in a hairdresser’s in Homewood.
- Untold number of good wishes, prayers, offers of support.
In the end, Maggie sought her own help this Friday, quite literally knocking on the window of a man who lives just a block away. This Good Samaritan, John, lacking any pets of his own, opened his door, invited her in, let her wander all over his home, sleep where she wanted, and called me immediately. Even though I was in between flights home from Canada, he said she could stay as long as needed until I arrived home. After almost two weeks outside, she is completely uninjured, unfazed, not even a little dirty.
In the process of looking for my troublemaker, I discovered something else. While many of us were looking for Maggie, there are countless animals with no one loving them, looking for them. A visit to Animal Care and Control, a division of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, drove this lesson home. As I toured the rooms of cages, I saw newly born and world-weary cats, without collars or microchips, ragged, scared, alone. The people that run this service are kind, compassionate, patient. They take pictures of every animal (not in an animal abuse case) and post descriptions to a searchable website. They provide medical care, food and protection. If not claimed, these pets are transferred to the Humane Society’s primary location for adoption evaluation.
Maggie found protection. But not all animals are so fortunate. A donation has been made to Animal Care and Control in honor of John, whose open heart helped bring the heart of mine home. At this moment, Maggie is licking my arm and purring. All because of the kindness of friends and strangers.