29: Our Own Incredible Journey

29: Our Own Incredible Journey

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Did What?

Our Own Incredible Journey

The language of friendship is not words but meanings.

~Henry David Thoreau

Soon after we moved to a remote parcel of land in the Sierra foothills that hadn’t been built on for miles around, we brought in two feral cats, Nosey and Quincy, to keep down the critter population. We had never been cat owners before, and I feared it would be a challenge for our aging Terrier, Lacy, but she became their best friend right from the start. She let them drink from her water bowl, sleep on her dog bed, and I even watched her licking cat food from their fur a time or two. The three amigos formed quite a bond.

As Lacy continued to age, her cat friends stayed close. When we drove up our long driveway coming home from work, Lacy would hobble to greet us, trailed by the cats, even when her arthritis made it hard for her to get off the porch. As her condition worsened, we spent a lot of time at the vet’s office trying to find the right medication to ease her pain.

On one of those visits, I questioned the doc. “There are times now when our dog seems disoriented. I know she has suffered some hearing loss, but there seems to be more to her behavior than just that. Am I imagining things?”

“No, you’re not.” Her reply was unexpected. “Dogs can get a form of dementia,” she continued. “It’s hard to know if that’s happening, but I would suggest that you keep her in for the most part. She could wander off and forget how to come home, especially on all that land around your house, Linda.”

I recruited the help of my three teenagers to keep an eye on Lacy. With a house full of teenagers, things tended to get pretty chaotic, but I encouraged them. “We can’t let the dog go outside unless somebody goes with her.”

They all agreed to keep watch, and they did until one bustling Thursday night. The house was full of their friends, who were hanging out until Youth Group started at church later that night. There were kids coming and going from every door. Just as the last kid left I realized that Lacy was nowhere in the house to be found. By then it was dark, so my husband and I grabbed flashlights and looked all over the hillside. We called for her for hours even though I doubted that she could hear us. We didn’t see the cats either, but we figured they were on their nightly prowl around the property. At midnight we gave up our search and decided to we would have better odds during the light of day.

The next morning the entire family joined in the search. We combed the countryside until the kids had to be at school and we had to be at work. That night was a usual busy Friday night, but I kept checking the porch, hoping to see Lacy resting there on her doggie bed, curled up with her cat buddies.

Saturday brought more busyness. My oldest had to be dropped off at work while my son was heading for music practice, and my youngest needed me to pick up a friend who was spending the day with her. As I went out to start the car, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Walking up the long driveway was Lacy, alive and well, with Nosey on one side and Quincy guarding the other! The two cats nudged and rubbed against her, guiding her up the driveway.

“Kids come quickly. You have to see this!” I needed witnesses. I wasn’t sure I believed what I was seeing!

One by one my children lined up behind me wide-eyed and slack-jawed. We stood there silently until the three animals had made their way onto the porch and were fiercely lapping up water. “They had their own personal Incredible Journey,” my son commented, remembering an old Disney movie we watched over and over when he was younger.

“I needed you to see this because I knew you wouldn’t believe me if I told you what I saw,” I agreed.

~Linda Newton

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