My New Friend, El Gato

The last thing I wanted in this world was a cat.

The picture you see here is my family’s new cat. I named him “El Gato.” My youngest daughter asked me if we could adopt a cat from the Delaware County Animal Shelter. She said she wanted to adopt “some old boy that nobody wants.” How could I say no? She found an 8-year old cat named Blaze, and we went and visited him.

My little one liked old Blaze, so I filled out the paperwork. But when I handed in the paperwork, the volunteer’s face told me something was wrong. Someone had filled out paperwork and claimed Blaze 15 minutes earlier. So my little girl looked around and found this kitten. He was too old to get the attention of the young kids who were interested in the smaller kittens, all of whom were gone almost immediately. El Gato was aloof, asleep, and not happy about her pulling him out of the big cage where he lived alone.

So we sprung El Gato.

There were six or seven dogs locked up at the shelter. One was a two-year old terrier-lab mix named Boo. He was a sweet and very sad dog. I would have brought him home with me if I could have, but that wasn’t a possibility. So as I paid for El Gato, I asked to pay for Boo, too. The volunteer thanked me for paying for Boo, and she confirmed my assumption that my having paid for him would make it easier and faster for him to find a home. I checked the website, and it looks Boo found a home, too.

Last night, El Gato jumped on my chest at 4:00 AM and started purring like a machine. I swear he was trying to steal my breath. Then, he walked across my pillow and onto my bedside table. His fur is very black, but I could make out his head stuffed into my glass of water. Then he came back and licked my head. I pushed him away and he slept on my wife’s pillow for awhile. Then he went back to my glass of water, and as he was finishing his second drink, he knocked the glass over, drenching the books on my table.

I woke up to El Gato wrapped around my arm, playfully biting me. Yeah, that’s the kitten, El Gato.

It’s the Holiday season. You are going to be giving and receiving gifts. You are going to be celebrating with the people you love. But there are souls that are less fortunate than we are.

The charity of my choice here in Columbus is called Faith Mission. They feed and give shelter to as many as 400 homeless families every night. It costs them a couple bucks per person to feed each person a meal. I also help a program here in our school district that feeds kids whose families don’t have enough food to feed them over the weekends (Share BacAPac).

I also support Ohio Rottweiler Rescue. I don’t own Rottweilers and never have. But Gayla, the proprietor, literally goes out and rescues abused dogs, often releasing them from the trees that they have been chained to for years. One dog she rescued just had to have a bullet removed from its neck. The bullet was put there by the owner who left him chained up to a tree for his entire life. Gayla has 15 or 16 dogs she cares for now.

You and I can’t do as much to help as we wish we could. But each of us can do something. No matter how small, we can make a difference. Even if we don’t believe that what we have to offer is enough to make the difference, it does.

Practice gratitude this holiday season. Be charitable. Know that what you do makes a difference.

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