Pet of the Day

March 10, 1998

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Annsa, the Pet of the Day
Name: Annsa
Age: Two years old
Gender: Female
Breed: Ragdoll mix
Home: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
 
   Four years ago this past September, I lost Prudence, the cat who had been with me since I was 10 years old. Through adolescence, on into college and adulthood, she was there for all the joys, tears, and transitions.

    I mourned the loss of my "Gumbie cat" for four years. Finally, this past fall, I was really emotionally ready to let a new friend into my life, not to replace the previous one, but to have a new niche all her own. I had decided that it was important that the new friend not look like Prudence, so I thought I might go with a breed this time if the opportunity presented itself, not that I'm breed conscious, I just wanted to be fair to her memory.

    I started looking, and looking... visited the Atlanta Humane Society repeatedly, met a lot of cats, but none that "clicked" -- they all seemed to lack personality.

    After months of searching, at the beginning of January, I decided to expand my area to surrounding shelters: Cobb, Gwinnett, and so on. I started browsing web sites, and I connected with a wonderful volunteer at the Gwinnett Animal Control Shelter, (which has one of the better sites) and told her the several breeds I was looking for. We started swapping cat stories via e-mail. I told her the several breeds I was interested in, and she promised to keep her eyes out... I didn't really expect anything to come of it for a while. We had a brief hope with a Himalayan that came through, but by the time she could get to it it already had three holds on it -- too late. Still, I told her that I wanted to come by the shelter that Saturday anyway just to finally meet her face to face and get the "grand tour."

    What I really wanted was a Ragdoll, but I could not in good conscience go to a breeder when there are so many animals who need homes, with a grandmother who founded a Humane Society, and with Ragdolls being so very expensive. Sometimes, things don't go your way, but sometimes they do. That Saturday was one of those days. :)     I walked into the Shelter around 12:45, and introduced myself to the volunteer I'd been in contact with, who had her name tag on. She was shocked to see me, and so was the other volunteer with her, which didn't make sense since she knew I was coming until I found out why:

    She had one of my e-mail messages in her hand because she was going to call me right then to come down. Why? Not 5 minutes earlier, someone had come in to give up a Ragdoll mix! She saw it and said to herself "I know somebody who wants this cat!" Now, in the years she's worked there, she's only seen one come through, so the coincidence of this was pretty amazing, but she couldn't put a hold on it because it was a give-up -- if I hadn't walked in right then (they hadn't even finished putting her name tag on her cage) she would have been gone.

    It was starting to feel like fate, but I'm cautious, and we had to do the personality test. Well, she plopped in my lap and started purring, even as stressed as she had to have been with the dogs barking nearby and the recent car ride with her previous owner to the shelter! This was a match, and I headed to the desk to sign the papers. She even snoozed in the car on the way home.

    I am not much for sentiment, I pride myself on reason and logic . . . and yet, I can't help wondering if Prudence had a paw in this from beyond the "Heaviside Layer." Don't really believe in fate, but this feels like it was meant to be. Regardless, I feel truly blessed and very grateful for having Annsa in my life -- that's her new name, by the way. It's Scottish Gaelic for "beloved," which she certainly is.

    If you want to look at Gwinnett's site for yourself, it's at Friends of the Shelter. One clarification: it's run by Friends of the Shelter, a volunteer group that helps care for the animals and assists Gwinnett Animal Control. The Friends are great -- the Animal Control part is not so great -- the process of adoption is typical bureaucracy and is not streamlined -- I have a few suggestions for 'em -- but it is worth it, and unfortunately, you'll go through the red tape anywhere. But there are many responsibilities to caring for a companion, and these little hurdles are just a few more. They're annoying, but negligible -- don't let it discourage you from finding your "true love" and giving an animal that would otherwise be killed a much-needed home.

    Through a combination of technology, a volunteer's dedication, and a lot of luck, I found mine, and hope you find yours, if you haven't already.
 

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