Late last week a young man came to us to register as a client. His friend drove him nearly 30 miles so he could take care of his cat, Jasmine. I'll call the client "J".
J had lost his job, he'd lost his apartment, his car, spent his savings and was couch surfing. This kind friend took him in and told him about PAW Team when Jasmine, a lovely marmalade cat, started getting sick. "I don't take people in" she told me. "But J deserves a break and there's something about Jasmine..."
J told me: "I've had her ten years. I rescued her, and I think she was about four then. Until last week, you would have thought she was a kitten. She was always jumping, playing, running around. Then she stopped playing. Then she stopped eating. I knew something was wrong, I knew I had to do something. She's my world. She kept me sane when the world got insane. Please do something for her, she's all I've got".
It's almost two weeks until our March clinic and Jasmine is very frail. She couldn't wait for the clinic and at our recommendation, J took her to a Banfield hospital where they did a complimentary first exam and made test recommendations and gave him prescriptions for Jasmine. He brought her straight back to PAW Team - he didn't know what else to do.
J was shaking he was so upset. He sat in the lobby for hours cradling his beloved Jasmine and whispering comfort to her. It was clear to all of us that there was, indeed, something special about Jasmine. We've all had pets we've loved but there are some animals that just are different - they wrap themselves around your heart unlike anything else. In my circle of rabbit rescue friends, we call these special creatures "Heart Bunnies". They come along once in a life time. It was clear Jasmine was a Heart Kitty for J.
"Call K", Maria, our office manager whispered. She doesn't do that - Maria's about as by-the-book as it gets. We don't have medical staff on week days and we don't call people in when they've clearly got things scheduled elsewhere. Maria had lost her own marmalade Heart Kitty a year before. I saw the same look in her eyes that J had. So I called K.
K rearranged her entire day to come in and look at Jasmine. She filled the prescription for appetite stimulants and ordered the tests Jasmine needs for a complete diagnosis. J will pay us back $5 at a time for the tests. Five bucks is all he's got, except for Jasmine, who is priceless.
Then K picked up her phone and made a series of calls imploring PAW Team friendly places to see Jasmine. She got Dr. Becky to agree to see the cat. Oh, we don't do that either - pull vets off of their regular jobs. Becky is a regular PAW Team volunteer and extremely busy in her own practice but she answered the call, looked at Jasmine and confirmed what K had thought - that Jasmine needed to be hospitalized. She took Jasmine in for overnight observation and care, at no charge to J. Oh yeah, they don't do that, either.
That was yesterday. Right now I don't know how this story is going to end.
I do know that everyone is working outside of every box there is, doing all they can for Jasmine. I imagine J is frantic for his cat. But no matter how this real life story turns out, thanks to Jasmine, J is alive and well despite the world giving him an incredibly bad hand Jasmine has helped him make friends who are helping him as best they can. Jasmine is his life line, his world and his hope.
I meet every client personally. I see first-hand the tragic stories our clients have to deal with. And I see the bond, that incredible, powerful bond of love and trust and life-sustaining hope the animals have with their humans. And sometimes I see a Heart Kitty. And I can't stop thinking about that cat.
Send good thoughts to Jasmine and her J, please.
There's just something about Jasmine.