Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on November 22, 2011. Enjoy!
Written By Erin Conley of New York
In November of 2006, I went for a run through a nearby local park. It was a bitterly cold and rainy day; the winds were harsh and felt like they were going right through me. Running through the park wasn’t initially part of my planned route that day, but due to the weather, I thought it would be best to run in an area closer to home.
As I ran through a wooded part of the park, I happened to glance to my left. If I hadn’t looked in that direction at that moment in time, I would have missed him entirely. There he was, a small brown tabby cat, huddled up in a ball; he wasn’t even attempting to find shelter from the elements. As I slowed to a walk and moved toward the cat, I saw what was next to him: a handful of crackers and a half-filled paper cup of water. He had no identification on him, simply a cheap blue flea collar around his neck. He was very calm as I approached him and did not exhibit any signs of being feral. By all appearances, he had been dumped in that park. As he looked up at me with his big, caramel-colored eyes, I realized I couldn’t just leave him there. And as the rain started to come down even harder, I made the decision to bring him back home.
Tucked inside my jacket…
I carefully picked the cat up and tucked him inside my running jacket. Then I gently walked him the mile back to my house. Because my family had other pets in the house at that time — an older cat, a young dog and a ferret — I couldn’t bring the cat into my house in case he had parasites. Instead I got a blanket out of the trunk of my car and set the cat on it in the front passenger seat. Since he did have a collar on, and since he might have gotten lost from his owner, I decided to take him to the local SPCA in case his owner came looking for him. As I drove to the SPCA, the cat sat quietly in the car, his big eyes watching the windshield wipers go back and forth. I think that was when I first started to fall in love with this little guy.
When we got there, I took him in and explained the situation to the SPCA receptionists, and as I looked around at all the other cats there who were waiting to be adopted, I was suddenly afraid that this guy might not make it. Despite the fact that I hadn’t consulted with my family yet, I found myself opening my mouth to say,” If the owner doesn’t come for him, I’ll adopt him.”
It Was Meant to Be
Three days later, I was contacted and told that no owner had shown up for the cat, and he was waiting for me to come and adopt him. Thankfully, my wonderful family agreed to take him in, and on November 21, 2006, we picked up our new cat. Due to the color of his eyes, we called him Bailey (like Bailey’s Irish Creme), and that “little guy” is now a hulking, lanky, 5-year-old cat who is the “ambassador” of our household. He is a wonderfully loving animal who gets along with each member of our family, both human and animal. We will be forever thankful for the love and laughter Bailey brings to our household, and I will be forever thankful that I ran through the park that day and happened to look in the right direction. (More photos of Bailey at home)
Do You Have X-Ray Vision?
No, you don’t need super powers to save a life. It doesn’t take arms of steel or eyes that can see through buildings. All you need is a compassionate heart and a willing spirit.
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