Where Souls ConnectPosted by Joyce Tischler, ALDF's Founder and General Counsel on October 22nd, 2007
I’m still amazed when I think about it—my daughter, Maggie, falling madly in love with a cat. People assume that she’s a clone of me, possessing all of my passions and interests. But, she is her own person, with her own set of interests and joys.
Of course, Maggie was raised with dogs and cats. There are the dogs and cats who have lived with our family over the years; they were there before she was born and their status as revered family members was taught to her from the start. And, then, there were the temporary visitors-- dogs I found running loose on the street and cats who somehow landed on our doorstep. We would take them in, try to find their original homes, get them medical care, and find a new home, if needed. Maggie accepted all of this gracefully and was always respectful and loving, but it was “her nutty Mom’s thing,” not hers.
Yet, that changed in the blink of an eye. A very tiny blue eye, that is. On a Tuesday afternoon with a deadline looming, I answered my office phone and heard Maggie’s voice, trembling with excitement and nervousness.
“Mom, a man in front of the grocery store was giving away kittens and I took one.” What? Had she learned nothing from me in 16 years?
“He’s really tiny, Mom.”
I moaned, thinking that we might be dealing with a newborn.
“How tiny, Maggz? Describe him to me in inches.”
“Are his eyes open?”
“Yes.” (Whew; he’s not a newborn).
“Are they blue?”
“Yes.” “What do I feed him?”
“Go to the pet food store, get some canned kitten formula and some kitten food.” “Mom?”
“I love him and I want to keep him.”
“Maggie, see if he will eat the food. I’m on a deadline; we’ll talk about with this when I get home.”
Deadline met, I drove home to find Maggie standing in the kitchen cuddling a scrawny, undersized five week old orange tabby kitten. She looked at me with imploring eyes. “Can I keep him? I named him Marley.” She had never gotten so attached to an animal before and I was curious—what was so special about this little guy? He was cute, sure, but all kittens are cute. And, I really didn’t need another animal to care for. You’ll notice that I said “I,” because in our household, guess who gets stuck with the feeding, the cleaning, the trips to the vet? And, with two dogs and three cats already, my dance card is full.
Then, my tough soccer playing teenager did something even more unusual—she cried and begged me to let her keep Marley. I was taken aback; this was serious. I made her promise that she would take responsibility for feeding him and cleaning his litter and, with a sigh and a smile, I welcomed the newest member of our family.
And, each day, I watch in awe, as Maggie walks into the house and Marley runs as fast as he can to greet her. She picks him up and holds him close to her chest. She kisses his head and he licks her nose. His purr is so loud that I can hear it from across the room. She tells him how much she loves him and that she missed him while she was at school. And, when she finally does stop holding him, he follows her all around the house.
They were meant for each other, those two, in ways that are unspoken and wondrous. I know the feelings she is feeling; I have felt them myself. Theirs is a strong and powerful bond that will last for a lifetime and hurt like hell when it’s over. They have discovered that magical place where two souls connect.