There’s a new girl in the house. Her name is Charlotte, but we call her Charlie. I was going to introduce her in one of Patches’ pirate tales, but Charlie is a special girl and I want to take a chance to shed some light on her, her story, and why she breaks my heart.
Here are the straight stats: Charlie is a Bombay mix (mostly Bombay), two years old, barely a foot in length (not including her tail), and roughly five pounds in weight. She is tiny.
I brought her home from the awesome people at Happy Tails since she was bonded with her buddy Billy who fell in mutual love with my mother. Charlie and Billy were a package set, and that was fine with me. You see . . . Charlie needs me.
According to HT folks, Charlie originally belonged to a mentally unstable woman who was prone to fits of violence and would take them out on her easiest target: the tiny black kitty. A HT worker convinced the woman to surrender Charlie (PROPS TO YOU, Anon!) and brought her to their shelter. When I met Charlie, she was hiding in the very darkest corner of the very lowest point where she could not be seen or found easily. Some workers at HT hadn’t even seen her because she hid. She came out of her shell a bit for Billy, but when Billy got quarantined for ringworm, she went right back into her comfort zone.
From the moment I knelt down and looked under the cat condo at her . . . I just knew she needed me. I am jokingly called the Cat Whisperer by my friends and family. I have an affinity for them, and even the most feral or fractious of cats will often let me pet them or pick them up. Maybe because I love them unconditionally. I honestly don’t know. I do know that the tiny scrap of black fur and gold eyes looked at me in return and I swear I saw a trace of hope be born. I held out my hand and she immediately moved closer. She let me pet her, pick her up. I stood there and held her shaking form, and she flinched at every noise or movement of a body.
Have you ever seen an abused child? An abused animal is not much different. Worse, perhaps, because there is no language we both speak that I can give her to tell her how it was not her fault, how humans are not supposed to be her abusers. I brought her home with me, and she immediately found a corner to hide in. Any dark spot would work. Anywhere she could not be seen. I sat down with her, and she let me pet her and she even purred. The next day, she found another spot to hide. I found her, held her, cuddled her, and tried to show her without words that she was safe. The next two days were the same. She found a new hiding spot, I found her, I cuddled her, I talked to her, and I watched her slowly start to believe. She stopped trembling or flinching at a raised hand. Hands were becoming her friend, not her enemy.
This morning, I discovered that she had not left her hiding spot overnight. She was still in my closet when I got up. I went in and sat down next to her. She immediately lifted her head and got up . . . and she crawled in my lap of her own will. She turned her belly up for rubs, and she purred and licked my fingers. Even teethed on them as if she was a baby. While I was getting my clothes out of the closet, she wound around my ankles and rubbed against me. She wasn’t brave enough to follow me out of the closet when I stepped outside, but she mewed for me to come back.
I can and will heal this little girl and show her that humans = love, and that as long as she’s in my house, she will never have to be afraid again.
To the Happy Tails person who saved Charlie so that I could heal her, you have my utmost thanks and never-ending support.
To my readers, if you are thinking about a pet, PLEASE visit a shelter. There could be another Charlie out there who desperately needs you and you alone. Sacramento-area folks can visit Happy Tails at their website, FB, or even in person on Folsom Blvd (Not far from 65th St. Lightrail, next to The Ballroom).
You might just be the guardian angel a lost fur baby needs.