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Yesterday was a very special anniversary; it was two years ago that this meeting happened:
If this image looks like I’m in an odd place, I was. Sadly, on April 25, 2011, a tornado ripped through the small town of Vilonia, Arkansas killing four people and causing incredible damage. There’s a local news piece about the storms and their aftermath here: http://www.fox16.com/news/story/Vilonia-clean-up-continues/6o4Dx9mSy0ivjXiRiVBsIg.cspx. I was a volunteer with a group assisting the local ASPCA with housing animals in the aftermath of the storms. The animals were being housed, and we were supposed to stay, here :
this is rural Arkansas. a llama. a llama. as someone suggested. a beautiful Golden Retriever and its Great Pyrenees housemates (their owner was killed in the storm) and one set of crates with lots of dogs and puppies: . and most cats would be in hiding and fending for themselves. Not a single cat in the bunch! But. about 100 dogs. a pig and. if memory serves. Here are a few other pictures I took shortly after we arrived.There were about 26 horses. one of the many horses. whereas the dogs would need more care.
We managed to make it through Thursday with the of us from our group and two ASPCA workers caring for all the animals. Hey. it’s a sh*tty job. I’m not as familiar with dogs as I am with cats. so I took the role of cleaning the cages out as the dogs were walked. but it .
greatest job. except my husband and I had. Ever. They’d been nearly 19 years old when they’d died the year before about six months apart.needed to be done. but I was completely unprepared for what I saw. they’d been found with their momma who was dead. The rest of Friday and Saturday are a bit of a blur.’ We were told late in the day that we were going to have to move all of the animals because the owner of the facility we were in didn’t want the dogs to disturb the people who would be there Sunday morning for what they called ‘Cowboy Church’. reunited animals with their owners. or in two cases the owner’s next of kin. We got up Friday morning. set up the new location. on the Sunday before I left. and the process of getting all the animals ready to move was well under way when I suddenly heard lots of voices saying. . ‘Awwwww…’ I KNEW that meant someone had brought in something cute. I heard what sounded like very loud purring coming from the carrier the kittens had been in and when I peeked inside there was this teeny little black and tan face looking back at me. and were thanked profusely by the local residents. took in animals people were rounding up that were loose and lost. An ASPCA volunteer was standing there. We learned that the three babies had been given to the ASPCA worker in a box. Again hardest but best job ever. continued to care for the animals. The picture of me and the kittens was quickly taken and the job at hand resumed. <big grin> And I took this picture and tweeted. finally scattered some of the ashes of our beloved kittehs: beige boys. Fortunately. holding a tiny beige kitten in each hand. ‘This is the hardest. a new location was negotiated and preparations began for moving. We moved all the animals. This wouldn’t normally have meant anything.
one of the lead volunteers came up to me and said. decided the worst that could happen was my husband wouldn’t agree to take them in and we’d have to find homes for them.Then. and it wasn’t until I was about 2 hours from home that I sent him this picture by text with the message: Look what I got while I was in Arkansas! He sent me a message back saying something to the effect that he wasn’t surprised and alluding to the fact that he couldn’t believe how much they looked like our two beloved boys. I waited for a bit. and then sent another message: ‘But wait! There’s more…’ The sweet little purring Torty. AR. It seemed that finding them a good home would be far easier in the suburbs of Chicago than in Conway. was every bit the doting momma. ‘do you want to take the kittens home with you?’ I was a little surprised. . but after talking about it for a bit. constantly making sure that her little brothers were OK. late on Saturday. I honestly wasn’t sure what my husband was going to say.
after a few nights (and a really good bath): It took us a while to decide what to call them. But. I mean. I thought it was important to consider how they’d come to us. Here they are.I can’t begin to describe how challenging the last two years have been. so we named the little girl Vilonia (Villy). Rock just didn’t *quite* fit. does this look like a Rock to you? . he’s the one on the left) and Little Rock. which frankly fit pretty well. the most often suggested names were from the Three Stooges. While the Villy and Conway grew into their names. But those three little kittehs were just exactly what we needed in our lives. and the boys were named Conway (in the picture above.
Siblings. even the vet couldn’t tell them apart. He’s built like a pit bull and weighs nearly 15 lbs. They may spit and hiss at one another one moment and be peacefully sleeping in a mass of furry paws and tails the next. though. She is the Big Sis. And then there’s Villy. tiny little roundish kibble). purrs that loud purr and is just the sweetest little girl. if they had to be separated. weighing between 12 – 15 lbs. He hates being held by anyone. I can’t imagine how these three orphans would fare. these siblings. He freaks out at the slightest noise. I’ve come to appreciate the love/hate relationship that so many siblings share. Our favorite is that they have learned how to use they’re ‘hands’ to eat their food (they get Science Diet Ultimate. She has the loudest purr. I often wonder if they remember their kitty-mama. We call her our ‘bonus’ kitteh. They chase each other around the house leaving a trail of chaos behind them and then settling down looking all innocent. the one who may have lost her life protecting them from the storm. but I can ‘throw’ him over my shoulder and he’ll just drape himself there. touched some more. smelled. She comes up. We have no way of knowing whether our kitteh’s parents were indoor or outdoor cat or a combination of the two. and then out of the blue. and she doesn’t let the boys forget it. They are quite incredible. She toys with them. He had a litany of questions for the guy and was incredibly happy to share all of our secrets with a complete stranger. Yeah. Out. They’re all big. and uses it often. sits on my lap. many of the things they do seem unusual. everyday thing. She’ll fight falling asleep.’ She has this way of egging the boys on until they start really tussling around. Solid. and that’s not just a grateful adoptees’ parent talking. Freaks. the other day someone came to the door and rang the bell and Connie started ‘talking’ to the guy from his vantage point in our front window. They scoop it up and pop it in their mouths like it’s a normal. she loves my lap. And I am incredibly grateful for what these siblings have brought into our lives and will continue to give to us for what I hope will be a very. Conway is the gregarious one of the bunch. just *barely* tasted. Heh. she rouses and looks up at me and cries and if I don’t respond to her in a timely fashion. he won’t eat food that he hasn’t touched. even though they’re bigger than her. elbow or hand. Because they lost their mom so early. ‘Cause he’s just a big tub o’ goo. touched some more and smelled some more. very long time. BAM! they get smacked with the Ninja Paw. left. The boys looked nearly identical when they were kittens.He has since been dubbed Goober. In the picture of me holding the three of them you can see that she has one black paw: we’ve dubbed that the ‘Ninja paw. he is. she’s been known to remind me who’s boss by ‘gnawing’ on my arm. He has a very whiny kind of voice. . She has gargantuan Tortitude and she’s not afraid to use it. Best of all.