The Gift – Recent adoption story of Lucky the kitten.
as written by his owner – Jo
While scrolling through Facebook, a post from my friend caught my eye. It was the photo of an adorable little kitten, aptly named Lucky, who was up for adoption at the Salmon Animal Shelter (Idaho). I was astonished to read how he was found, practically frozen to the ground and barely alive along with his perished siblings. Bringing him to the shelter saved his life.
I wasn’t looking to adopt a kitten, I just wanted to know more about this miraculous little survivor. I clicked the link and saw the photo of him perched on a piece of driftwood. He was polydactyl and his cute little paws looked just like mittens. He stole my heart. I submitted the application at 1:30 AM.
I woke up thinking about the kitten; reality rapidly sinking in. I started wondering what was I thinking? This little kitten was a thousand miles away from me, and over 200 miles from any of my Idaho friends. How on earth would I get him out of the shelter before someone else claimed him; how would I get him to California? There was no doubt in my mind that this little cutie would not stay long at the shelter, and for all I knew, he might have already been adopted. That thought upset me; I simply had to have that kitten! I needed to come up with some sort of a plan quickly.
It occurred to me to ask my friend, Steve, a private pilot, who occasionally flies to southern California, if he could possibly fly the kitten down. I sent him a private message on Facebook; but what were the odds?
At this point, before I got my hopes up any further, I really needed to confirm that Lucky was still available and thankfully, he was. Tony, the manager at the Salmon Animal Shelter, reached out to me after receiving and reviewing my application. They were getting lots of inquiries about Lucky, but I was the only one who actually filled out an application. Anyone who has ever adopted from a shelter or rescue knows the process can be daunting, and I get it, animal rescues have seen plenty of bad pet parenting. I was surprised when Tony said he approved my application. As exciting as that was, he then informs me that he can’t put a hold on the kitten. Suffice it to say, there was still a real danger of losing him. However, Tony was actually planning a trip to Hailey the following week, offering to bring Lucky down himself. I had the perfect foster parent in mind. I called my friend Sara. I was so excited when she offered to take him in and even drive him all the way down to me, but she wasn’t available to take him for a month.
Five days had now passed since I first saw Lucky on Facebook, and I still had no plan in place. I woke up feeling sad and teary eyed. It was my mom’s heavenly birthday, the first since passing away in July. I had been struggling emotionally for months. Isolated and alone without my “pandemic partner,” I felt disconnected from the world around me. I wondered how I’d get through this day. It’s hard to move forward with your life when your best friend, your biggest cheerleader, and your wellspring of love is gone. I needed to focus on something else, so I focused on Lucky.
I thought how strange it was that I hadn’t heard back from Steven; it was so out of character for him. It finally dawned on me that perhaps the message was never seen. I immediately sent Steven a text message and to my surprise, here was the reply I received almost immediately; “Can you get him to me tomorrow, we’re flying Sun Valley to Burbank.” I was momentarily stunned, saying out loud THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING! Immediately followed by, “ohmygosh, this is *actually* happening.” Then I started scrambling. I needed to get that cat to Hailey, pronto. First call was to Tony to tell him the exciting news. He was speechless! Then I called just about everyone I knew in Hailey but to no avail. I left lots of urgent messages. Tony made some calls on my behalf, with the same results. He was now totally invested in my adoption drama. He saw how much effort I was putting into this and was just as determined to make this happen. Going above and beyond the call, he said “Jo, I will drive that kitten all the way to Hailey myself if I have to.” As incredible an offer as that was, I thought I would try to find someone who could meet him halfway in the little town of Mackay, so it would be much less of a drive for Tony.
My friend Karen was the first one to return my call. She offered to call her friend Margaret who lived in Mackay. Margaret kindly agreed to help us! What started out as a sad day for me, turned out being celebratory. We finally had a plan in place. My mother’s birthday officially became Lucky’s adoption day!
On Saturday, at 6:30 AM., Tony drove 115 miles to Margaret’s house in Mackay. Margaret then drove the kitten another 70 miles to Mountain Humane in Hailey, where he was warmly received by the shelter staff. At 3:45 PM., Steven picked up Lucky and by 5:30 PM., this little miracle landed in grand style, on a Learjet, just 34 miles away from home. I went on board to meet the kitten, I put my hand inside his kennel to introduce myself and he began purring and rubbing his face on my hand as if he was accepting me.
I started writing Lucky’s story to honor those who helped him get here. I thought this was about giving the kitten a better chance to heal in the warm California sunshine. What I know now is Lucky was exactly what I needed to *heal* (this broken heart*) He is very demanding so there is little time for sadness. Waking me every morning at 4AM, he is a holy terror, and annoying as hell, but entertaining too. Later, when he comes snuggle with me, so warm and comforting, his company always makes me feel less alone. I miss my mom every day, and sometimes I still shed tears, but the burden of my grief has lessened because of him. This is why he is here. A kitten truly heaven sent.
What do you get when serendipity, tenacity and timing combine, and your friends step up? You get “Lucky”!