“Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord;
(Daniel 3.57, 81)
I think most of you are aware that both Fr. Mike and I are real animal lovers. We have two black labs, named Bubba and Fenway (both 2 ½ years old – they were actually born during Game 7 of the Yankees-Red Sox AL East Championship game, Oct. 20, 2004), and I have a six year old cat named Lucky. For eight days last week, Lucky was missing and then, wonderfully, was found. But, it really got me thinking about how important these simple pets of ours can become in our lives, or as one person commented to me, how they “wrap their paws around our hearts.”
Lucky is quite a cat. In my former parish, one of our staff members also worked in a vets office. One day she came into the parish office with a sad story. They had treated a months-old kitten who had gotten out of its owners home and was run over by a car. They did a fantastic job of saving the life of this beautiful, tiny, kitten. However, the kitten’s tail had been too badly damaged and had to be amputated. Once its owners saw that it no longer had a tail, they said they no longer wanted the kitten. If the vets office was unable to find a placement, they would have to put the kitten to sleep. So, being the good Franciscan that I am, how could I say anything other than, “I’ll take him” after hearing that story.
This was a beautiful kitten. Long black hair with white paws, a white nose and white chest – and a little pom-pom of hair on the inch of tail remaining. I let my young niece name him and she came up with “Lucky” because she said, “He’s lucky to be alive.”
Today, Lucky is a very cuddly cat. He loves to snuggle up to anyone and can sit and let you pet him for hours. He’s also the only cat I’ve ever encountered who loves to play fetch. We can’t even get our dogs to do that.
Now, I like to fashion myself as a rather stoic individual, but I have to tell you, I was pretty devastated while he was missing. The first day wasn’t too bad as it isn’t all that unusual for Lucky to sometimes hide out somewhere in the house. But after a few days, then the suggestion by someone that “maybe the coyotes got him,” I was a regular mess. And, I kept thinking I can’t believe that I’m so effected by my cat – and yet, those paws I guess were wrapped tightly around my heart. So, you can imagine my reaction when he was found (hiding in a crawl space under the friary).
This week, Lucky has been very hungry and thirsty, but is otherwise in good shape. And, now that he’s back, I’m doing okay too! So, thank God for the blessing that can be these small, furry companions – and thank all of you who were praying to St. Anthony and St. Francis for his return! Lucky was lost, but my now is found!
Love, Fr. Tom