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Nearly 15 years ago, a stray came to the kitchen window begging for food and attention during the harshest winter cold. I didn't want a cat and wasn’t willing to make a commitment to take in a permanent resident, but it was impossible not to fall for that face and her insistence that she lived in our house. My thoughts were consumed with worry and I openly cried when discussing adoption or if it was best to find another home for her, however I realized she had chosen me. That New Year’s Eve I opened the door and she came inside to live with me.

It was Christmas time when my kitty came to me, so I named her Christina. She was scrawny and emaciated with a thin boney tail and ribs you could count. My concerns about having a cat faded as her body grew and her personality sprouted. During that first summer she bounded about the yard, exploring a new domain and the critters who shared it with her. She got as much joy from stalking the chipmunks (unsuccessfully) as I got from watching her run through the grass.

She grew out of her rebellious “teenager” phase and matured over the years with me to become one of the most important beings in my life—loving, polite, and as willing to give attention as she was to receive it. She gave every day meaning when she would run to greet me at the door and to see her visible excitement when I came home from work each day. I’ll never forget the stupid songs I would make up and sing to her—Little Pink Feet, Rub That Kitty Ear (the medicine song), and Breakfast Time for Kitties.

I never thought when we met those many years ago that I could love my little Christina so much. She was my constant companion, muse, emotional partner and best friend. Sleep tight, Sweet Pea, I love you.

Thank you, Dr. Rikh, for making this process easier for me, and most importantly her.


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