Nadia, Que Sueñe Con Los Angelitos

Nadia March 2011

March, 2011 – Nadia’s first night home

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.

Nadia on my bed

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.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

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  1. Karin Kimball says:

    I was afraid to read the article when I saw the title. I am so very sorry for your loss. How beautiful that you found each other! Our pets love us no matter what…..there is nothing like the love of a pet.


    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Thank you, Karin. I will miss her dearly.


  2. Julie Lidberg says:

    God put you two together for a reason. There is nothing like the unconditional love of a pet. You will see Nadia again at the Rainbow Bridge!


    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Thank you, Julie. That is a comfort.


  3. Lisa says:

    I must admit I felt a little guilty when you ended up keeping Nadia after that first night, as you already had your hands full. But I came to realize pretty quickly that you and Miss Nads were indeed meant to be together. I was merely a conduit. (Regardless that a certain person periodically told me I should come and get “my” cat LOL.) Nadia may have been “nadie” for a few weeks when she was abandoned at the office. But she was certainly someone once she found her way to you. I’m grateful you took her in, and that you shared so much love with one another, at a time, as you pointed out, when you both really needed it. And while I know you will (and already do) miss her terribly, I also know that the last three years of her life were most certainly the best, because of you, Steph. Because of you. Thank you.


    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Thank you for being that conduit, Lisa. I’m convinced that was only one of the reasons you were put in my life, and I love you for that! You are such a good friend and so important to me.

      It’s funny how the one who kept telling you to pick up “your” cat didn’t realize that he was the one who needed to be put out. I’m glad I kept Miss Nads instead. 🙂


  4. Jerry says:

    Non-human animals, both domesticated and wild, don’t carry the burden of artifice that repulses us so much with humans. They don’t try to impress — just to take each day as it comes.

    Nadia’s misfortunate offers a opportunity to press home an important lesson. Pets should have regular check-ups because it’s their instinct not to showcase their pain or discomfort; in nature, that’s a tip-off to weakness.

    People usually take their pets to vets on an annual basis, if at all. But that’s too infrequent for older animals. A middle-aged or older cat or dog ought to be checked at least twice annually.

    And the vet should do full blood work-ups to find developing and early-stage disorders.

    Take Nadia’s cousins, for example. Chronic renal (kidney) failure kills one-third of domestic cats, vets tell us. But symptoms don’t kick in until kidney function is about 3/4 gone because of the cat’s excess capacity. Reduce kidney function just a few more percent — less than 5 — and the cat dies.

    Blood tests will give early warning of renal failure and allow measures to slow the onset, such as changing the cat’s diet.

    Vets don’t ordinarily push for more than annual checkups for fear of appearing to opportunistic.

    There’s more the pet owner can do to safeguard his or her companion. An example is regularly measuring and recording weight, pulse rate and respiration rate. That will both provide a possible window into developing problems and also provide a baseline for determining how dramatic a physical change is taking place.

    There are plenty of Web sites that provide insight into monitoring pets.

    A personal tip: You can pay over $100 for a professional veterinary scale for small animals. You can get the exact same instrument for $20-25 (unless the price is jumped in recent years) in the form of a baby scale.

    Weight decline is a strong indicator of health problems in pets. I speak from experience, having used that metric to extend pets’ lives for years.

    It doesn’t sound like there was a solid diagnosis on Nadia. This is purely speculative, but there’s been a lot of attention lately to toxic substances in petfood imported from China — a replay of pet deaths caused by that forsaken pit of a country not that many years ago.

    At least two store chains — Petco and PetSmart, I believe — have announced they won’t stock any more petfood made in China. What I don’t know is if they’ll continue to peddle kibbles and bits made outside of China but containing ingredients imported from that place.

    One more thought: Though we’re bonded so much more closely with pets, they’re no better or worse than wild creatures or livestock. They all have the capacity to suffer the same and to love the same.

    Eating meat, in the final analysis, is like eating someone else’s pet.


  5. carol says:

    Very sorry about your loss. It is sooo hard to lose a beloved pet. We rescued a puppy this weekend, who had been under a car, all night and during a rain storm at about 7 weeks old. He is the sweetest and under my desk sleeping, right now.


  6. Caitlin Kienzle says:

    Great blog mom. Love you.


    1. Stephanie Kienzle says:

      Love you, too!


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