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††††† It was a frosty night. Charlie
shivered and huddled up closer to his brother and father in the bushes
that did little to protect them from the cold wind. Where was she? He
knew she would come. She had come every day of his young life but where
was she. It was cold and his stomach was empty. Suddenly he spotted the
headlights of her car. He went rushing over. He chattered with relief as
he curled in and out of her legs. Where were you? We got worried. We
thought you would never come. She spoke soothingly to Charlie in a soft
voice as she passed the food around. Suddenly, she picked him up and put
him in her car. What was going on? This had never happened before. He
was anxious but he wasnít afraid. She would never hurt him. She had
never hurt him in all the years she had come faithfully every day to
feed him and his family, despite complaints from the owners of the
property where he lived.
††††† The next day he found himself in a place
with lots of lights and strange smells. Now he was afraid. Where was he?
What was going to happen to him? Charlie had been taken to a vetís
office for neutering and vet care by his feral caretaker. After the
colony of cats had begun to grow out of control, the owners of the
building decided that they would pay to have all the cats fixed and
vaccinated in order to maintain the colony at a manageable level. The
caretaker was very relieved. In the past, they had spoken about trapping
and arbitrarily disposing of these poor creatures. Now they were willing
to work with her to solve the problem in a humane manner.
††††† However, upon arriving home, the
caretaker received a call from the vetís office. There was a problem.
Charlie had tested positive for Feline Aids. He could not be released
back to the colony. They were also not willing to release him to her
custody because they were afraid that she would put him in another of
her colonies. She was absolutely devastated. Although FIV is contagious,
it is primarily passed by biting and Charlie was simply not an
aggressive cat. With good care he could live a long and healthy life but
he had just been given an immediate death sentence. She pleaded with the
office to give her a little time to locate a haven that could take him.
As she was not paying the bill, she was not in a good bargaining
position. However, she had fed Charlie every day for the four years of
his life. She could not bear to have this happen to him. She would not
allow this to happen to him. He was such a sweet and loving boy. He
truly did not deserve this. She felt as if she had betrayed his trust in
her. She had taken him from the only home he had ever known only to have
his life end in such a sad way. She begged them to give her a chance to
find someone who would be willing to take him. They finally agreed to
wait until the afternoon.
††††† This is where we came
into the picture. We have a soft spot for feral cats who have so few
opportunities in life and who have to fight every day for their very
survival. Even though we did not have room, we can always make room for
sweet little boys who need second chances! And so, in February 1998,
Charlie came to live here with us. He remains fat, healthy and very happy.
He is such a special boy and we look forward to having him here with us
for many years to come.
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