This cat took an interest in me while I was visiting Whatcom Humane Society. I have more than a dozen photos of her in different poses sticking her paws out of the cage.
One of the reasons people get upset visiting shelters is the sad sight of animals pushing their paws out from behind the bars seeking affection.
But these aren’t the animals most deserving of pity.
Their demeanor—begging to be chosen—helps sell their strengths to potential adopters.
While shelter workers and volunteers do their best to keep all the animals in their care balanced, happy and comforted, there will always be those claimed by kennel stress. Pushed into the back of their cages, looking terrified, perhaps even hissing or growling as people walk by.
Only a handful of human beings would choose these animals instead of a friendly, outgoing one. Not many will step up and see past perceived imperfection to select a companion who will need some extra love, affection and attention to trust again.
These rare few have learned a secret that keeps rescuers going. An animal’s issues don’t have to be just an inconvenient hassle. By giving them a chance, we stretch ourselves. Our patience, our ability to love unconditionally, to accept things as they are.
The resulting bond between animal and guardian is strengthened because of the journey the two have taken together to get there. And the joy and satisfaction that comes from saving is reward enough.
Because by saving them, we also save ourselves.