I’ll start with the story of Silver. To many, “silver” sounds like this must be a rescue for senior dogs and cats. I’ve cared for many seniors over the years, but in fact the rescue is named for a special individual. His name is Silver, and he is the one who led me into animal rescue. This is Silver’s story.
In September 1998, I was visiting a friend who asked me to look under her deck at one of her stray cats who seemed to be seriously injured. I glimpsed a pretty gray cat, terrified and in pain, dragging his hind legs as he tried to get away from us. He had been missing for two weeks and I could only imagine his suffering as he had inched his way through the woods to reach home. When I reached for him he tried to intimidate me with the meanest, most ferocious hiss he could muster. I was naïve enough not to even consider that he might bite and scratch me, and for some reason he didn’t. Instead, once in my lap, he looked at me with his big round eyes, silently pleading for help. At that moment I fell in love, and my adventure with animals began.
Both of his hind legs had been broken in several places and by the time he made his way back to the human who fed him, the breaks had begun to knit crookedly back together. The repair called for surgically rebreaking and inserting pins into the tiny bones. Months of rehab followed, but he was a little trooper, and eventually was able to walk, run, jump and groom himself like any other cat.
My new little companion was the prettiest kitten in the world, and I knew his name had to be as beautiful and special as he was. One afternoon as he lay in my lap, the sun shone through his gray coat and turned it to silver. I had found the perfect name. Years later when I started the rescue, I thought that an animal who had endured so much suffering with so much spirit and grace was the perfect symbol. I named Silver Rescue in honor and appreciation of my beautiful friend.
I expected Silver to survive maybe five years before arthritis pain in the old injuries would make euthanasia inevitable. Fast forward - Silver is still going strong! His hind legs are a little shorter and he walks with a bit of a limp. He has a slight heart murmur and the condition of his coat signals that he is getting on in years, but our love affair continues, complete with nightly conversations and head butts.
Saving that little life lit a fire in me that has never been extinguished. A lot – happy and sad – has transpired since then and I have learned so much. I hope this column offers amusement and encouragement in your own animal ventures with assurance that you’re not alone. Here’s to the joy of loving and living with animals!