Are we home yet?:

It was a normal day at the clinic – surgeries and office appointments filled the morning. During all the hustle and bustle in came the Animal Control lady with a small kitten.

“We found this kitten in a storm drain,” she said. “Do you think anyone would want her?”  The kitten just fit in her hand.

I stopped working and said, “Let me take a look at her.”

As I examined her, I noticed the usual stray kitten problems- goopy eyes, discharge from the nose, and frightened. This little girl also has fly larvae in her back end area. This is a big problem and sometimes too advanced to save a pet.

“I’ll take her,” I said. I knew if someone did not, the animal control folks would not care for her and adopt her to a family. I named her Harriet.

I started her on antibiotics and began treating her fly larvae by flushing the area with hydrogen peroxide several times a day. Each time I did, more larvae were killed. This procedure was slightly uncomfortable. I knew this because Harriet would allow me to flush, but she complained with short little ‘mews’ – not a full meow sound- each time I flushed. I like to think she knew I was helping and I loved her and that’s why she let me treat her.

After several days of treatments, she was cleared of her fly larvae. Next I treated intestinal parasites causing diarrhea. After treating all that and her eyes and nose, eventually she was healthy.

When Harriet was young, we lived alone on my farm. This resulted in her not being properly socialized, so she was frightened of other people. She and I played all the time, but whenever we had company she hid until they left.

A few years ago, family needs took me to Florida. I asked my brother to care for her thinking I would only be gone for 5 months. I am still there. When I left her, Harriet was inside my brother’s home, but a few weeks after later, she darted out an open door and refused to come to him or back into the house. I was devastated when told. She spent the entire harsh winter outside that year. My brother assured me he put food out for her and it was eaten, but we did not know if other animals ate it or she did. I was afraid she would be harmed or lost in the mountains around his home. 

After ten very long months of separation, my brother brought her to me in Florida. We both agreed it was a miracle he was able to catch her, put her in a carrier, and bring her to me.

When she arrived, Harriet I took her into my bedroom, and when I began talking to her, the look on her face was priceless. She perked up and began talking her kitten talk. I took her out of the carrier and as I held her, She curled up in my arms and many months of separation came to an end. My heart broke again and again as I imagined her outside wondering if I was coming back or what happened to me. Wondering if we were ever going to be together again or if she was going home. I think our pets know us and miss us very much when separated from us.

Harriet has convinced me of this because every day since she and I have been reunited- 2years now, when I come home from anywhere, she greets me and snuggles close to my neck on my chest. She does not seem concerned whether I have work to do or not. She does not care if I need to make phone calls, clean the room, or anything. She just wants to be close. In her mind she owns me and never wants to be separated again.

When I sleep on my side, she rests on my shoulder. I squint when she does this and I see her watching to see if my eyes are open. If I open my eyes, she kisses my face or touches me with her paw. She sits on my shoulder until I wake in the morning.

Harriet was neglected as a kitten before I rescued her which resulted in her teeth decaying. When I did dental care, I discovered almost all her teeth needed removed-all but the front teeth. What I find funny is that she has recovered well from the extractions, however, she loves to play and when she does, she bites me playfully – with her only remaining front teeth.

I made a promise to Harriet that I would never leave her again. I know pets are attached to the ones who own them. I see it with each pet I treat in the offices I work in. 

Share your stories with us about pets that show you how attached they are to you!


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