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Friday, April 15, 2016

Finding the Meaning of Life

Such a bold title for a simply story about something fun and rewarding Brandon and I started this week, but that I just can't help but sharing!!!

Last year, on Labor Day weekend, Brandon and I decided that we were going to go to a shelter and see about adopting a cat. Now, I grew up with dogs, big dogs, German Shepherds. I had no experience with cats except the occasional visit to a friend's house who had one. Brandon grew up with no pets in the house so basically we were flying blind.

We happened upon a shelter that was fairly new and close to our house. So, on a Wednesday night we drove over to Barb's Precious Rescue and Adoption Center to visit some cats.

(CHECK THEM OUT!!! http://barbspreciousrescue.org/)

The shelter is an old house that was refinished inside to serve as a home for over 100 cats. Each room is designated for a different age group of cats. Included is the preschool, kitten room, toddler room, teenage room, and adult room. Also adorning the hallways are even more cats. The rooms are full of trees and beds and blankets and toys.

Barb, the owner, knew every cats name and story. It was one of the most amazing places I had ever been, truly a save haven for homeless cats while they wait to be adopted. Two cats from the kitten room ended up choosing us. I say they chose us because I truly believe they did.

I wanted one that would curl up on my lap to read so I sat down in a big arm chair in the room and waited. Almost instantly I had a cat in my lap, tail wagging, and softly purring. "This one," I told Brandon. While he was standing there another cat had peeked her head out from one of the cat trees and gently licked his fingers. She was so timid, but felt compelled to make the connection. When Barb confirmed they would get along in our house together we were sold!

This coming Labor Day will mark our one year anniversary with Scout and Tigress and we couldn't be more happy. They have become part of our family and while I used to identify as a dog person, when people ask now I'm not quite sure what to say. It is undeniable that the way the cats cuddle with me might have swayed my decision.

 Tigress (aka "Lil Baby" because she hasn't grown since the day we got her)
Scout (My Cuddle Buddy from day one!)

Anyway, Brandon and I recently attended an Open House supply drive and benefit for the shelter and afterward decided that we wanted to give back in more than just a monetary way. This Wednesday was our first time volunteering and it was such a great experience!!!

Ironically enough (or perhaps Barb planned things this way) we were in charge of cleaning the kitten and toddler rooms. We did things like sweep the floor, clean off their beds and trees, but we were also instructed to "just spend time with the cats." They didn't have to tell us twice!

We spent about two and a half hours there not only cleaning the rooms, but also visiting the other rooms to socialize the cats. Aside from the fact that we could spend time with the animals, it was nice to feel like we were part of a team doing something meaningful for these cats. While it broke my heart that there were so many there, it felt nice to know that we were helping them have somewhere clean and kept to live in until they found their forever home.

The moral of the story, and the reason for the bold title is that cleaning those rooms and sitting with a lap full of cats made me think, maybe the meaning of life is to continuously do something meaningful with your life. I am a teacher. That is the main way I identify myself, but I am also a volunteer and that has added so much meaning into my week.

Can't say enough good things about Barb's Precious Rescue. Seriously, check them out!

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