By Vickie Byard, CVT, VTS (Dentistry), CVJ
How do you know when something is just right? What does that feel like for you? For me, it feels like a deep sigh of relief. It is the feeling of being home. I personally experienced this recently.
As of September, I bought a new home and was excited not only about new beginnings but also about the prospect of adding a new pet to my living situation. Sassy, my last cat, passed away a while ago but life has been very crazy and I wasn’t ready to take on a new pet adventure until things settled down.
By December, living alone in this new home was growing increasingly uncomfortable. I finally announced to friends and colleagues that I would soon be adopting a cat. When questioned as to what I was looking for, I confidently responded that, “she would find ME.”
I only knew two things. First; I knew I wanted a female. I travel a lot and didn’t want to have to worry about a male and the possibility of a urinary blockage. Secondly; I knew that I would name her Margo.
Margo was the name of my Aunt, my Mother’s sister. She was and will always be my most favorite person. I always felt that I would be well if I could sparkle half as much as this woman’s Soul. She was beautiful, compassionate, loving, strong, vulnerable and very, very funny. Everyone loved her and she always cared for the underdog.
Margo was 10 years younger than my Mother and 10 years older than I. She was born in 1948, so she was of age smack dab in the middle of the sixties. To me she was so cool. Her home was filled with love, cats, live plants and Cat Stevens music frequently played in the background. She held close to her heart that all people were one; regardless of race, religion or background. She never judged. She loved deeply. Her door was always open and friends were always around. Unfortunately, I lost my Aunt Margo in 2001. There is not one day that I don’t think of her or opine what she would do or say about any challenge with which I find myself struggling.
So, this new Spirit I would add to my life, in the form of a cat, was to be named Margo. I loved the idea of having the Spirit of my Aunt transplanted back into my life.
Recently, I was cruising Facebook, and this beautiful, fuzzy, orange striped head shot peered back at me through my computer screen. Christina Lunski, CVT*, a veterinary technician acquaintance had posted images of this kitty as a means of finding her a forever home. Those golden eyes looked right through the monitor into the part of my heart where the river of love runs deepest. In that moment, I knew that Margo had found me.
I inquired as to if she was still available and this amazing foster mom responded that she was. Without meeting this kitten, I knew she was mine. Minutes after saying that I would adopt this cat, I noticed that there were other photos. I began to skip through other images only to notice that she was a recent amputee. Upon inquiring, as to her injury, I found out that the Philadelphia police found and captured her. Her hind leg had been badly broken. Having been a street kitty, she never received veterinary care and it healed poorly. The cost of surgery to correct this would be very high, so she was brought to ACCT Philly (Animal Care and Control Team) and her cage bore a card with a date for humane euthanasia.
Christina has a unique position at the Matthew J Ryan School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. One of her tasks is to find surgical opportunities for the veterinary students. She asked around and found a couple students willing to work with an experienced surgeon to perform this much-needed amputation. The surgery was successfully rendered and Christina, vet tech angel, took this kitten to rehab in her home until a new home was found, as she has with countless others.
It just happened that I had committed to watching a friend’s cat in my home over the Christmas holiday while they vacationed in Ireland. I did not want to introduce Margo to my home while there was another cat occupying it. I was hoping for a smooth transition. I asked Christina if she could hold Margo until after the first of the year. Graciously, she said, “of course”.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, I planned to have brunch with a vet tech classmate, Bethanne Moore Walters, CVT, VTS (Anesthesia). She had witnessed all this unfold on Facebook and she happens to have worked with Christina, so she knows her well.
The day I was to travel to Bethanne’s for brunch, she texted me and asked if I would like to visit Margo. She said that Christina lived close and she could see if she would be available.
Before brunch, Bethanne and I piled in my car and Bethanne directed me through unfamiliar streets to Christina and Margo’s residence. After a few minutes, I began to get a strange feeling. Streets started to look familiar. I began to recognize landmarks and my heart began to beat wildly. I asked Bethanne how much further and she replied, “just around the corner.”
That was the moment that I knew all was just right. I knew in that moment that this was all meant to be. That “ahhhh” feeling arose because the reason I knew this neighborhood was because it was also my Aunt Margo’s neighborhood. And, that, is how God winks at me!
Margo is the purr-fect addition to my home and life. Just like my Aunt Margo, she is beautiful, loving, strong and very, very funny. Sometimes, I swear, when she looks at me, it is like my Aunt is looking and smiling back at me. Maybe she is!
*Side note: Christina Lunski, our vet tech angel, is currently experiencing some medical and financial issues. If you would like to help her, please visit her GoFundMe page.
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