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Winter at the Center

There is something quite magical about the drive to With A Little Help From My Friends no matter the time of year. Always as I turn from Ritt Road onto the path that leads to the Center, I anticipate the greeting I will receive: hugs (literally) from our beloved Vinney, a fabulous mix of Lab and Pitty, Vinney has been blessed with the very best traits of both breeds. A manageable size and a truly wonderful disposition would make Vinney the best companion imaginable. I can truly say that there is no one who knows Vinney who would disagree—he is a dog in a million. A gentle nose bump is a must greeting from Summer, a beautiful and gentle Mountain Cur with a luxurious coat and sweet brown eyes. She is a great size for active walking and is good with people once she gets to know them. Since he has become accustomed to our nurturing ways, I can always count on a sweet greeting from Buddy the Beagle II. Buddy is a classic Beagle in both appearance and temperament—funny, engaging, eager to engage in activities. He would make a grand addition to any family.

Next I always hope to hear Mona or Jenna’s “guess who got adopted”…and since January 1st, I am so happy to report that there have been multiple adoptions among our resident dogs and cats. Just today we said a fond and joyful goodbye to two of our “older” kittens. Six-month-old Roman and gentle DeeDee went to their forever home without a backward glance. It was a gratifying moment for all concerned since that is our overarching goal—to place our charges, feline and canine, into loving forever homes. The center is, however, remarkably quiet. Ten cats, three dogs, deep snow, few birds…quite the contrast to late summer and early fall. It is lovely to be able to spend more than just the odd few minutes stolen from cleaning duties to cuddle a cat or fondle a pair of doggy ears. But somehow I miss the chaos of knee-deep kittens and careening dogs. I know that in the blink of an eye, I will be mourning the loss of quiet times, but for now I am trying to just enjoy spending a few minutes cuddling Star or playing chase with Vinney. It amazes me to see the changing dynamics when an adoption takes place.

The communal cat room is especially sensitive to the changes wrought by adoptions in the community. Two of our longer-term residents, longhaired black beauties Stevie and Sassy become much more social when the rowdy baby-cats move on to new homes. Just today I was able to spend 10 productive minutes administering some essential grooming to Stevie. We both enjoyed a thorough comb through and the result was an impressive handful of hair and a much improved and sleeker coat. Sweet Star, a lithe and elegant Siamese mix (black and white, but clearly with Siamese genes) is happy to spend time on my lap, unbothered by youngsters whose manners (according to Star) could use some refinement. Max, another longhaired black beauty, is perennially social with the humans who come to visit. A gentle natured soul, I fantasize about an adoption, which provides him with the kind of environment where he can bask in the attention he so loves.

Max and Wink make quite a pair—one jet black and fluffy, one ebony and sleek as a panther. What a duo they would make! I do not suggest adoptions based on interior decoration, however, these two would class up any living room couch and lend a sophisticated touch to any décor! Fiona—what a beauty she is! A true tortoise shell, she has eyes that reflect the light and hint at the unknowable interior life of the cat (thanks T.S. Eliot for that lovely phrase). She would be a fine “only cat”, but could, I believe, with patience and gentle care, accustom herself to a kitty companion. Whoever adopts her will be rewarded with an impressive purr and many kitty kisses. I admit to a bias toward tortie cats, but she is indeed special.

There is not much to say about our wild-child bottle baby, Sheba, except that she has calendar-cat looks, a long and luxurious tail and the personality of a movie star! I could easily see this tabby Maine Coon mix starring in a cat food commercial…she loves her treats and uses her rather large front paws to pick them up from under the noses of less agile companions. Having a Maine Coon companion myself (Rocky, age 13) I am familiar with the Maine Coon style and would happily talk to anyone who would like this high spirited, but loving and gentle girl as a fur-baby. She is truly a beauty and quite young—about five months. You would be rewarded with kitten-like behavior just long enough to appreciate the more sedate ways of the adult Maine Coon. Any takers?

And then there is Buddy. What a love bug he is! A “big-boned” tabby and white gentleman, he is in love with kittens. Older cats, not so much, but kittens…Oh my goodness! When I was a child, we liked to “play mother”—pouring tea and offering small sandwiches to captive pets, dolls or aunties. That is what Buddy is built for—nurturing. I have watched several groups of kittens move through the center and always Buddy’s patient “mothering” amazes me. Yes, he is a neutered male—but he would make a great Nanny! On his own, he is loving and gentle—gives kisses and enjoys the occasional ear scratch. A one cat home would be fine by Buddy (maybe with the occasional visit from a borrowed kitten). Come and see for yourself! Already is has been quite the year, here at the Center—come and be part of the fun! We love visits and hope for forever homes for our amazing residents. PS…Juno and Pooh, our permanent resident office cats, would like a visit too—just be prepared for kisses and hugs from Vinney!

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