From the Desk of the Federation Executive Director: With gratitude 5/7/21

By Shelley Hubal

Back in early February I received a call from a friend. An acquaintance of hers went into the hospital and would, most likely, not be returning home. She wanted to know if I would take in Rosie, her acquaintance’s cat. I could not say no. Our other cat, Jojo, is about 11 years old and is happy enough to spend his days, as most elderly cats do, taking long naps and searching for a warm lap to occupy. 

What we did not know is that Rosie is fearful of just about everything: noises, new people, another cat. All of these things sent Rosie straight under the bed to hide. Anyone who has ever trained a fearful animal will tell you, you need lots of patience to slowly earn their trust. So, after months of moving Rosie’s food bowl downstairs one step at a time and spending countless hours on the bedroom floor brushing her, a small breakthrough happened last week. Rosie came down the stairs and climbed on the couch. Looking back at where she started, spending days under the bed with little contact, it is a joy to see her begin to trust her new home and its occupants. I believe with a little more patience we will have a happy, fully integrated cat.

Originally, I thought I would comment on learning patience from Rosie, but reflecting on the last few months, what stands out most is not that I mustered a large sum of patience I never thought I had, but that I have simply taken great pleasure in becoming connected to Rosie. Each quiet moment we have spent together, every step we have taken to building mutual trust has fed my soul. That may sound a bit melodramatic, but don’t we all have something that makes us feel connected to our purpose? For some, it might be writing or playing an instrument or participating in sports. I can recall as a child feeling completely at home on my grandparents’ farm. I would beg to spend time with the animals, be they cats, dogs, horses or cows. I seemed to understand them and they made me feel connected to something greater than myself. 

I hope all of you are finding a way to stay connected to what feeds your soul during this challenging time. It does not have to be grand: any simple pleasure will do. For my part, I say thank you to Rosie for helping me to reconnect with one of my soul’s purposes.