About five or six years ago, I walked into the Broad Channel VFW to meet up with Grace (aka she who must be obeyed) and was met with a chorus of giggles from the assembled crowd at the canteen bar. Not knowing what was so funny I simply sidled up next to my beloved and queried, "What's so funny?" Grace pointed behind me and I spied a cage containing a motley-looking, long-haired feline within, all curled up and shaking nervously. Grace, matter-of-factly announced, "Meet Sasha and she is coming to live with us."
Now Grace is one of those individuals who never met an animal in need that she didn't immediately scoop up and take home to our zoo down at the end of West 12th Road. Turned out Sasha was an abused rescue cat who was missing most of her teeth and had been cruelly declawed. Our home was already populated with two other cats, two dogs, two turtles, two guinea pigs, a bearded dragon, two white lab rats and a rabbit (all rescues) so my initial thought was that perhaps adding another cat might be somewhat of an overkill, but as it was quite clear that Grace was not seeking my approval to adopt this cat, I wisely sauntered over to the cage and introduced myself stating, "Welcome to the clan...you don't realize it yet but you have hit the cat lottery!"
Later that day, Sasha arrived home and upon meeting the other members of our menagerie she started hissing and spitting at the other cats and dogs who made the mistake of trying to check out this new-arrival making it very apparent that this was not going to be the most sociable of cats.
Surprisingly, Sasha ultimately decided to take up residency in our bedroom, which was already occupied by a large white rabbit named, "Velle." Our oldest daughter had brought the rabbit home, stating that she had found her in Forest Park. Initially, Velle resided in Amy's bedroom until she left to go to college upstate and I had to relocate her to our bedroom to more easily clean and feed her.
To my surprise, both Sasha and Velle hit it off almost immediately, becoming inseparable as they roamed the second floor at their leisure and then returned to the bedroom where they would both either hide under the bed or sleep on it. It got to the point that whenever any other animal (cat or dog) entered the bedroom to check things out, Velle would immediately stand in front of Sasha and rear up on her hind legs and hop about making all sorts of unpleasant noises, scaring the bejesus out of whatever animal had foolishly trespassed onto their turf. As life would have it, Velle passed on and Sasha went into a funk, refusing to leave the bedroom for any reason. The only human she would interact with was Grace and every night when Grace would get into bed, Sasha curled up right next to her and would not move until she arose the next morning.
A few weeks ago, Sasha starting acting funny and a trip to the vet diagnosed her with advanced cancer. She didn't appear to be in pain so we brought her home. Last week she curled up with Grace for the final time and when we awoke the next morning we discovered that she had peacefully passed away during the night.
In hindsight, my initial reaction to Sasha's rescue "adoption" was most assuredly shortsighted as, grouchy as she was, she gave our family much more than we provided her in the short six years she was with us. Additionally, while she was with us, our rabbit Velle got a new best friend out of the deal. What could be better than that?
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