Will you be my valentine?
We weren’t looking for another companion animal (how many times have you heard that at the start of an adoption story?) when Valentine’s Day 2012 rolled around. My fiance and I had recently moved to California and were living in an extremely cramped apartment while renting out our now albatross-of-a-condo back in Chicago. But I logged onto Facebook and there was this Best Friends post in my news feed… it read “Will you be my valentine?” and featured the sweetest looking little kitty I’d seen in a long time. (Yup, they know how to market over there.) The post explained that Shauna Rose was about 13 and looking for a forever home. We needed a cat about as much as we needed the proverbial hole in the head, but once your heart melts, you may as well start writing the application because resistance is futile. Look, I rationalized to my skeptical fiance, how much room does a 13-yr-old cat need anyway? We sit home and watch TV at night, so she’ll be a couch potato with us.
The rest, as they say, is history. Well, ok, at least personal family history. We drove three hours north into the central California desert to meet Shauna’s foster parents at a halfway point to their Northern California home. (Thank you again, Diane, for putting us together!) There, at a dust-blown rest stop in Kettleman City, they handed off the cat, carrier, litterbox, dishes and favorite blanket and toys. Drug runners got nothin’ on us…
Shauna was pretty quiet on the ride back home, taking it all in. But she never complained or lashed out. Over the next few months, we could tell that she was getting a comfort level with us, that this was home, and that she was a big part of it. Now, Shauna undeniably runs the house. She taps us on the arm when she wants to be petted and – especially in the mornings – taps us on the mouth when it’s time for us to get up and give her breakfast. She runs into the kitchen and lobbies for snack if I even look at the fridge, and if you hold out her brush, she’ll actually show you how she likes to be brushed. Shauna will sit on our computers when she’s decided we’re done working and curl up to sleep with us at night.
I’ve had senior animals before – kittens and puppies that thankfully lived into old age – but I couldn’t love Shauna more if we had been together her whole life. Thank you, Shauna Rose, for being our valentine.Amy Breyer
Founder & Executive Director Animal History Museum