Today is heart-wrenchingly bittersweet. It started out happily enough, with me getting up early, getting ready in a rush as usual, then ushering the dogs in the car. Taylor had an appointment for vaccines and to discuss his recent urinary troubles.
While I was waiting at the vet, a woman with a cute chihuahua/Shiba-looking mix asked me about my dogs. She fosters for Furry Kids Rescue in Lee's Summit, and would be delivering this little guy to his new home today! She said the family told her that they LOVE Shibas and really want one, so she lit up when she heard that I was getting my next foster Shiba TODAY. She took my card; fingers crossed that she or the family will get in touch with me. Zoey has been in foster care for over a year and needs to find her permanent family... even the possibility from this chance meeting was very exciting!
Taylor was checked by Dr. Ebeling, and fortunately it sounds like it's no big deal: just an infection causing his pH to be too high, with a few crystals forming in his bladder. Antibiotics should clear it up quickly. Relief! As I was at the counter to pay, the receptionist brought up a bag that contained Gypsy's remains. I was stunned for a second. I KNEW I was going to be picking her up today, but I was so preoccupied with Taylor that it had honestly slipped my mind. Then Lindsey came out to tell me how much everyone loved the card I had sent, and I had to catch myself to keep from crying. I've been able to control it well lately, but being back at the vet, with my baby in a box on the counter... It was almost too much.
I say today was bittersweet for another reason as well. I noticed a kitty, Francine, from Heart of America Humane Society at Petsmart last Saturday, and haven't been able to stop thinking about her. I went back to Petsmart last night with the dogs to see if she was still there. The cage was empty—I was too late! I told myself it wasn't meant to be, but felt great disappointment. When I met her a week ago, she seemed to have a personality that would fit right into our home, she wasn't the least bit afraid of the dogs, and on top of that, she was drop-dead gorgeous!
...So imagine how happy I was when I realized that she was in the NEXT cage. Still there. She leapt down from the shadowy perch and greeted me, and I held the dogs up to the cage; everyone calmly and curiously got nose-to-nose without issue... a great sign.
I spent a lot of time in the presence of those few cats; in addition to Francine, I really liked Paisley (a gorgeous dilute calico) and Hope (a cobby-bodied tailless Manx) too. I decided to contact the foster home and emailed her right from the room, with all the cats looking at me. I heard back from Jenna quickly, and we agree to meet at 10:00 this morning.
I met Jenna, and spent a lot of time with all the cats again, and decided that my initial reaction to Francine felt right. After filling out a few forms and going on a shopping spree (I had donated most of Gypsy & Atom's supplies to HSGKC), I collected my new, 10-month old cargo and headed home. It felt right.
Upon arriving home, I got Francine (new name coming soon, promise!) settled in the finished basement so she could acclimate, put all the supplies away, and then opened the envelope that was tucked in with Gypsy's box. I wasn't prepared for the contents... My vet had saved a lock of her beautiful coat, and made a paw print for me. And there was the ubiquitous postcard with the story of The Rainbow Bridge, which sends me into a blend of deep peace and deep melancholy every time I read it. I stood there and cried and cried, missing my baby who was sitting here in a box on the kitchen counter, and yet excited to get to know the new baby waiting for me downstairs. Flooded with grief but excited about new life.
This kitty could never replace Atom or Gypsy, but I like the idea of rescuing another special kitty to honor their memory. She will be unique and special, yet I hope to see in her some of the magnificent traits that I adored so much in her predecessors. I am certain that she will quickly find a special place in my heart, just as all my pets have done before her.