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The Best Christmas Gift, Ever.

My parents came from very different religious backgrounds and because of that, they decided that I should choose whether or not I wanted to be part of any faith. I attended a few different services with friends, but with my Father being a “lapsed” Catholic and my Mother, an Atheist, I didn't have much motivation to look further into the matter.

I began to realize, as an adult, that due to this, I never learned to have faith in anything. The outcome of any event was purely a matter of a number of factors interacting. I would worry about everything and how things work turn out. I'd obsess over trying to guess how a situation would resolve itself. I could never simply experience a situation and have faith that things would work out.

Later in my life I found Buddhism and it helped me begin to open up. I saw how I really suffered by being trapped in a cycle of hope and fear. That letting go of an outcome actually resulted in pleasant surprises, happiness and the seed for finding faith.

Since I began Kitten Associates in late 2009, I've had to find the faith to do what I feel is the right thing for the foster cats in my Program. It's always difficult and uncomfortable for me during the process, but in the end, I find a sense of peace and accomplishment that perhaps letting go of needing to know the outcome ahead of time would have prevented me from experiencing it at all.

I found my calling. I'm a Cat “Yenta” (matchmaker). I'm learning that although many adopters might be good pet parents, that they might not be “right” for my foster cats. I'm constantly torn between the temptation of letting the cat go to a home I don't feel 100% confident about and knowing it means, I may have that cat here for a very long time. There's a difference between being reluctant to let them go, or thinking my home is the best home for them. I don't think that. It's a blossoming seed of faith that I understand what home these cats would do best in and I will find that home for each and every cat.

Yesterday I did two home visits for potential adopters. After the first home visit, which was almost TWO HOURS long, I came home, worried, that I just couldn't move forward with the adoption. On paper they were fine. In person, they were ok, the house was big and clean, the people, polite; but something was missing. I didn't realize what it was until later that day when I did the second home visit.

The second home was small, neat and a bit worn, but there was love in that house. The couple who met us at the door, were clearly excited about getting another cat. Their cat Jasmine had died earlier this year and the woman, Debra, was deeply connected to this cat. In fact, Debra told me that while she was having a TT Touch treatment for her back pain, (her back injury is so bad she can no longer work and stays home most of the day) that the person doing the treatment told her to focus on Jasmine as she relaxed. Debra said that she strongly felt that Jasmine was going to send someone to her to help her find a new cat; that Jasmine felt it was time for Debra to move on.

Maybe it sounds corny, but that entire day I'd been thinking about Debra and how she stayed home all day. She wanted to adopt Mazie and the more I thought about it, the more I felt it wasn't a good fit for her. Mazie loves to run around, play, chat with me and get cuddles. To go to a very quiet home would be almost cruel, even if the home was very nice. I worried that I would disappoint them If I said no to them adopting Mazie, but in my heart I felt I had the answer. I just had to go with what I was feeling. It was weird. In my mind's eye I could see a path unfolding of just what to do. I followed my instincts and had faith it was the right thing.

After we toured the home, I told the couple why Mazie wasn't their cat, but the good news was that I had a cat who was right for them. They weren't insulted, in fact they were intrigued. It wasn't even a cat in my Program, but one located with my sister-shelter, Animals in Distress, about a 45 minute drive away. I told them I had already had it set up for them to meet the cat if they wanted to leave right then and there.

I showed them a photo of the cat. They both had the same reaction and Debra spoke for herself and her husband as she declared; “OH, I LOVE HIM!”

I knew this was the right thing to do. Faith, heart, good judgement, whatever it was, this was their cat.

This was also one of my rescues from Georgia.

It was Rocco.

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©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Rocco at AID last year.

Some of you may remember Rocco. He was a big lug. A sweet orange tabby who'd been dumped at Henry County Care & Control in Georgia. He had no hope of getting out alive, but there was something about his face that made me fight for him. Rocco is no baby. He's 7 or 8 years old, at least. I was lucky that AID would take him once I got him to Connecticut.

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©2010 Betsy Merchant. One look and I knew I had to rescue this big boy.

He was in the shelter for a month or so, then found, what we thought, was the perfect family. After less than a year, a peeing problem started up. Rocco was with 3 other male cats. He liked them well enough, but there was some sort of stressor causing him to urinate inappropriately and I bet it wasn't just him doing the deed. They took him to the Vet and did lots of tests. He was very healthy, no problems. The family gave up on him and returned him to AID about 6 weeks ago. Connie didn't even want to tell me he was back, knowing I'd be heartbroken.

After everything he'd been through, Rocco deserved a good home. He is a sweet, affectionate cat. You can tell he just wants to be loved and given a chance. At his age, the number of chances he'll get are growling slimmer.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Getting acquainted.

This couple, who have two lovely, older daughters at 16 and 21, only have one other cat who is very shy and a 14 year old female. I think Rocco would be fine with her and not be stressed. He wouldn't have to share the bed with anyone other than the couple. Maybe this was IT. Maybe this was what was meant to be, all along?

The couple agreed to follow Sam and I to the shelter. We drove through crazy holiday traffic, but it didn't matter. My heart was soaring, I was so hopeful. The second we arrived, Connie took the couple to meet Rocco. I hadn't seen him for a year. He was sitting on top of a small fridge that was on the countertop. He looked thinner and sad. The couple came over to him and he sat up. Debra began to pet him and talk to him. He arched his back. We encouraged him to come down on the counter and he did so. He got more pets and love. Debra stayed with Rocco as we let her have some private time with him. She kept asking him if he wanted to go home with her, if he wanted some love. She'd call out, giving us a play-by-play; “He's purring now!...He gave me a head butt!”

Her husband, Ed, chatted with us, but was clearly happy about Rocoo. His wife spends the day resting and wanted a cat to cuddle up with. Rocco loved to sleep on the bed when he was in his last home. Rocco loves belly rubs, but would this couple take Rocco home?

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Is it a love-match?

We moved Rocco into the foyer so he could be alone with the four of us. We didn't want another cat to cause any issues or distractions. Rocco walked around the room and said hello to each of us. He laid down on the only rug, a small doormat near a cat scratcher. Rocco rolled over with his belly up and rubbed his face onto the scratcher. Debra kept talking to him or about him. He would come over to her, then to her husband. I could tell she was falling for him and knew that if he was this calm and friendly with her at a shelter, he would be even better in her home.

©2010 Robin A.F. Olson. Love-bug.

It was a done deal, probably from the moment I showed the couple Rocco's photo. As they filled out the paperwork, Rocco jumped onto the table, went over to Debra's winter coat and laid on it, making himself nice and comfortable. We all took it as a sign that Rocco agreed with the new arrangement.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Making friends.

They had a flimsy old cat carrier. Rocco didn't want to get into it. I didn't blame him. I wish I could have told him it was a good thing this time, but with some coaxing he made it just fine. I hugged the couple and congratulated them. Debra was beaming, excited and so happy. For her, the message from Jasmine was heard, loud and clear. Someone would come to her and help her find a new cat. For me, my own faith in doing the right thing, not trying to second guess what to do, lead me in the right direction.

As the couple left, I felt the dam burst. Tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. This adoption felt so right. It gave everyone what they needed. The couple was willing to take a chance on an older cat and to begin again after suffering the loss of their dear Jasmine. Rocco has a wonderful new home. Maybe this one will be what he's been dreaming of, all along-a true forever home.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. This is my new Mama's coat.

There's one less cat at the shelter tonight and room for another. Even if one of "my" cats didn't get adopted, it's a WIN for all of us. I've felt like Rocco's Guardian Angel since I first saw his photo. Maybe I'm starting to understand my place in the world and with an open heart, I can find my way, too.

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©2011 Robin A.F. Olson. Rocco gets the best Christmas gift, ever—a new home!

Merry Christmas Rocco! Thank you for giving me the Best Christmas Gift, ever!


A beautiful, amazing story. Merry Christmas!

Christmas miracles do indeed happen!!!  I feel that Rocco wil be eternally happy in his new home!!! 

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