It is said that people come into our lives for a reason and when we most need them. I believe that the same goes for pets.
In March of 2011, a friend of mine who feeds the feral cats that hang out behind the North Miami Beach Public Works building, called to tell me that there was a new face in the crowd.
For years, Lisa has been feeding the cats daily, but one day a cat appeared who obviously didn’t live among the colony. The kitty kept trying to go with Lisa, who felt awful leaving her behind. And after a couple of weeks of hoping against hope that someone would come and claim the cat, Lisa decided to take her to the Humane Society to be spayed. I offered to take the cat in for a few days after the surgery while she recovered since Lisa’s building doesn’t allow pets.
Lisa and I were quite surprised to learn that once the doctor performed the surgery, he discovered that the cat had already been spayed. She apparently had been someone’s pet. I kept her overnight to make sure she recovered. I had no intention of taking in another cat, but Nadia had me at the first hug.
Once she was well enough to move around, Nadia jumped up on my bed, rolled over on her back, and reached her front paws up to me so I could pet her. I fell in love instantly.
The vet told Lisa that Nadia was about six to eight years old. She was the sweetest, most loving animal either of us had ever met, and we figured that her owner simply abandoned her. I couldn’t for the life of me believe that no one wanted this precious baby. The Spanish word nadie means no one, and the first name that came to mind was Nadia. (Yes, I really do think in Spanish.) Strangely, she answered to “Nadia” immediately, as if she had always had that name. It suited her.
For weeks I cried as I held her, wishing I could find the cruel humans (and I use that term loosely) who would raise an animal for so many years, only to toss her out on the street like so much trash. Luckily for them, I never found out who they were or God knows what I would have done to them. I comforted myself in the fact that Nadia was meant to be with me, and that we were meant to be together.
Nadia came into my life just when I needed her the most. I was in the process of a major life-changing transition. We obviously needed each other, and she became my constant companion.
I can’t tell you how many columns I wrote for VotersOpinion while Nadia lay stretched across my lap, occasionally reaching up to bat my arm with a paw, wanting a quick hug. Sometimes she sat on the seat next to me purring contentedly, sometimes laying across the back of my chair playing with my hair. When I came home from work, Nadia ran to the door to greet me. At night, all she wanted to do was curl up next to my legs and sleep as close to me as possible until we both awoke in the morning. There was no doubt in my mind that Nadia loved me. There was no doubt that I loved her back. We were a team.
A few days ago, Nadia started feeling poorly, and on Thursday my daughter took her to the vet where she stayed for several days until we took her home yesterday. Apparently she was sicker than either of us realized because last night she passed away in her sleep.
I am heartbroken. I miss her. I wish she were here with me on my lap, batting my hand to stroke and hug her. I’d give anything for one last chance to rub her sweet face against mine and hear her purr.
It was no coincidence that Nadia and I found each other at a time that both of us were feeling alone and unloved. Our paths crossed at the exact same moment that we both needed unconditional love. Both of our futures were uncertain, but we gave each other the strength and courage to forge on.
In the three short years that Nadia graced my life with her presence, I have learned that no matter what obstacles we face in life, there is nothing we can’t handle if only we believe in the power of love. I will always cherish those special moments I spent with Nadia.
Life is never easy. There will always be difficulties to face and new challenges to overcome.
Nadia’s love helped me through one of those trying times. Her memory will be my strength through the challenges ahead. Nadia, my Guardian Angel, will be with me, in my heart, forever.
I urge you to open your homes, your lives and your hearts to an unwanted pet. So many have been abandoned and are in need of love. You will find no greater unconditional love than in the eyes of a rescued pet.
Nothing compares to the joy an unwanted pet feels when it walks into your home for the first time and realizes that it has found a safe place.
I’m eternally grateful that my Nadia found her safe place with me.
Que sueñe con los Angelitos, Nadia. May you sleep with the Angels.
“Spreading the Wealth”