Before I was able to get away for my wonderful vacation, some events had accumulated into what felt like a sign for me to reconsider what I do. As it turns out, I was just really tired and stressed and way too negative. I actually realized that before I ever left home. But then I DID get away to my palm trees and rest and relaxation. (And I DID get a lesson in what is truly important while I was there.) You might remember that what had happened was three failed adoptions all in a matter of a few short months – Hope, Cato, and Traci Mae. I was questioning my ability to place a Wisher into a wonderful forever home. But I pulled myself together and realized that there will be failed adoptions - especially for Winnie’s Wish cats because they are not the “easy” immediately-adjusted cats that are available in most shelters. Then, as you know, I got home from vacation to the news that Cato had ended up working out after all. He has now been officially adopted into a forever home.
All the while, there was something going on that I didn’t dare put on the blog. Not long after Husband and I went to retrieve Hope from behind her adopter’s washing machine, I received a Petfinder inquiry. For Hope. I emailed back what had just happened and that I was reluctant to send her away again. But the more this woman (G) and I talked, the more I started wondering if this just might be the right home for Hope. It was an agonizing decision. And I felt like I had to be super honest with G about the distinct possibility that Hope would not adjust. We kept in touch and at some point we decided that Hope would go to G’s home as a trial adoption. The problem was that G lived two states away. But we worked out a halfway point and made our travel plans.
I already knew I really liked G just from all of the correspondence. Her situation was that she and her family had two cats and had recently lost one of them. The one that died had been the established cat and G had adopted a feral-background cat as their second one. So she had experience with this sort of thing. She wanted to give another such cat a chance. What finally sold me on the idea of letting Hope go again was when G told me that she had looked at 50 cats on Petfinder. Hope was number 48. And that’s who she felt like she was meant to adopt.
During the next many weeks Hope mostly hid. G tried everything. She would report to me how it was going and it was never going well. But G refused to give up. I did not DARE let myself “hope” that this might turn out OK. In fact, I waited (nearly daily) to get that email that would say they just couldn’t do it anymore - that Hope just wasn’t what they wanted. But every time G and I corresponded, she would tell me that although things weren’t changing much, she was not ready to give up. Still – I figured at some point Hope would end up back here. I also knew that if Hope came back a second time, it would be unlikely that she would ever end up in a home of her own. Just before vacation, I emailed G and asked how it was going. Things were pretty much the same. It had been long enough now that I knew Hope was going to be one of those who required MONTHS to adjust – maybe even a year (which happens with some feral-background cats). So I asked G if she would keep Hope through my vacation because I didn’t know how I would work in a trip to get her back with everything going on getting ready for our trip. G said she certainly would.
It took me over a week after we got home to muster up my courage and let G know we were back. I couldn’t bear to hear the final word that would seal Hope’s fate. G emailed that she was seeing Hope more lately. She said that just recently Hope was standing in the doorway to the kitchen peeking in on G while she cooked. And she said that if you sneak up on her in the middle of the night you can catch her playing with the toys. G said she still wasn’t ready to give up.
Right after that I received another email from G. She said she’d seen on my blog that I was considering Hope a “failed adoption” and she wondered if I meant her home. I emailed back immediately and explained to G how bummed I had gotten about sending Hope off to the first home, and then Cato into a home that wasn’t working out, and then topping everything off by sending Traci Mae into a failed adoption as well. I explained that I had not even written on the blog about Hope being in her second home for fear it wouldn’t work out. And here is the email I received in response:
I definitely understand your disappointment, but what you do is a great thing. I see you've decided to persevere and I hope you do not give up! All critters need a home even if they get rough starts, and there are lots of people who just don't get it. Someone told me that I should have adopted a cat here, and then I wouldn't have had to travel and could have had a cat that was immediately engaging. So wrong on so many levels. If the cats are already well adjusted, anyone can take them; it is up to those with patience to help the kitties that got off to a bad start. YOU and Winnie's Wish are important and you make a difference every day. We are pleased with Hope’s progress and think she will warm up in time. We consider Hope to be home and do not wish to send her back. She is very sweet and just needs time to adjust. Even if she doesn't become any more social than she currently is, we are happy.
I couldn’t believe it. There it was. Hope was in her forever home. And not just any home . . . a home full of the kind of people who make what I do possible. Not only did Hope get SO lucky to end up with folks like these, but these folks saved TWO cats – Hope, and the homeless kitty out there somewhere who can take Hope’s spot. Winnie’s Wish will never be full of “easy” cats. But as long as there are people willing to do what G and her family have done, Winnie’s Wish can keep saving the “tougher” cases. I am forever grateful.
And as if it was meant to be that I truly RECEIVE the message, the young woman who adopted Nisha and Yardley facebooked me at about the same time. Here is the message she sent: I am very happy that you had a great vacation and everything is good with your family. I am also very happy to hear that you are keeping Winnie's wish a sanctuary AND shelter. I say this because if you didn't stay open people like me wouldn't be able to find cats like mine. Arya and Sansa (nisha and yardley) have come a very long way. They are no longer scared around me. In fact they cuddle with me all the time. Also they are no longer hiding whenever someone new is in the house. They love attention from everyone. If you were not a shelter I would have never found my babies. I just wanted you to know that because of you and Winnie's wish my life has changed and the life of Arya and Sansa has changed. They get all the attention now and they get spoiled rotten. They are loved more than they can possibly know. Thank you so much.
Friends – the next time I start worrying out loud on this blog about failed adoptions or not enough adoptions, etc. – please remind me of times like these . . . . when Wishers end up exactly where they are supposed to be.
Have a great weekend.