I will hug him and pet him…


Dad was feeling tired and out of breath for a few weeks, so our family decided it was time to seek out the medical profession once again. The news was grim. Dad’s cancer had spread to his lungs and was now past the point of no return. He was given a few months to live and the doctor suggested he clean up any lose ends in his life, as this would be the end. He was placed on oxygen, which he pulled along with him at all times. Mom was in a fog. There was nothing I could do or say to her. She was losing her life partner, her soul mate, and her best friend. To say we, as a family, were angry would be an understatement. The anger was directed towards the doctors, Dad, and inevitably ourselves. Nothing could have prepared us for the death sentence. I truly believed there was no book that existed to take us through each step without going insane. Dad was 62 and he would be lucky to reach 63 years of age.

I was lost as I am sure we all were at the time. I decided I needed something and that something turned out to be a 6-week-old kitten, I named Buggs.

I walked into the Humane Society in downtown Toronto with one thing on my mind; I needed a furry friend. Who knew that the staff would interrogate me on my expertise with cats or lack thereof? Really? It’s a cat, I thought, not a child. I was escorted into a room piled to the ceiling with cages filled with cats. I couldn’t hear myself think with the meow’s that engulfed the room. I slowly bent down to see a small kitten alone cowering in the back of his cage. Yes! This would be the one. I pointed to the kitten and the staff member said,

‘Yes, he’s a cutie for sure. His sister was adopted out yesterday, so he seems to be missing her’.

My heart sank. Oh the poor little thing, I thought. I wanted him!

Following the interrogation regarding the care of cats, they graciously allowed me to adopt him. Did I have food? Did I have a crate to take him home in? Did I have a litter box? Did I have litter? Huh? Of course I said, although I didn’t have any of the items except for a cat toy. Oh boy, I wasn’t prepared, but lied and said I had it all, but forgot the crate. That was fine; they would supply a box I could take him home in. Whew. Did I want to hold him, the interrogator asked? Sure, I said, not knowing exactly how to hold him, as I had never had a cat because Mom couldn’t handle pets, we were the petless family. He was handed over to me and immediately cuddled in my arms.

‘Hi Buggs’, I said quietly. ‘You and I are going to be best friends’. It was exactly reminiscent of the Looney Tunes classic ‘I will name him George’*.

So there we were; Buggs and I on our way home together and forever. My life was changing so quickly that I believed I needed him, and was hoping he needed me.


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