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Archive for July 23rd, 2010

A moment in Oklahoma with my ex-cat

Not that visiting my ex’s is a recurring theme here or anything, but this week we checked in on another one — a homeless cat I first encountered underneath a stairway in Baltimore, next door to a bar, took into my home after hearing she’d been kicked around some, then struggled to find a forever home for.

As it turned out, forever would be in Oklahoma, and therein lies a story.

It was January of this year, and a big snow was on the way to the northeast when Miley temporarily moved in. Word was, some of the street toughs had been kicking her, and she’d snuck into and been thrown out of the two bars on the corner before taking refuge under the stairs.

At the time I didn’t know she was a she, so I dubbed her Miles.

I didn’t want to keep the cat, but figured — with ohmidog’s vast readership — I could post a video of him (still thinking she was a he) and someone would step forward to offer a home.

For months, no one stepped forward — not the cat’s previous owner, not a future one.

But then I heard from Kitty Diacon, who saw the video, read the story and said she’d love to have Miles, who by then was Miley — renamed after a visit to the vet, where she was checked out and determined to be spayed female.

Kitty lived in Oklahoma, but as it turned out, that wasn’t too big of a problem, as she was a truck driver and was able to schedule a load that would bring her near Baltimore.

I handed Miley over to Kitty in Frederick, Maryland, back in April, and made another video about that:

Miley logged thousands of miles in the truck before she got home and began adjusting to a new family in Waynoka, Oklahoma.

This week, our “Dog’s Country” travels — which were the reason I decided I couldn’t keep Miley — were taking us to the general vicinity of Oklahoma (i.e. Texas), so we called and asked if we could stop by for a visit with Miley.

Kitty was on the road, but she called and said I should drop by and see her husband John, who, due to a job-related medical disability, is home all the time. At the time she took Miley, she said she wanted her to help keep her husband company during the day.

A few readers expressed skepticism about it — worried that, given the animals in her truck, Kitty might have been one of those nefarious sorts who take in animals, then sell them to dogfighters or for use in medical labs.

In talking with her though, and especially after meeting her, I was convinced she was a true animal lover.

Turns out John is, too.

And he seems to have no shortage of company — eight dogs and three cats (not counting those Kitty was traveling with in the truck), two turtles, an 18-month old son and three baby possums he was nursing after his older son struck the momma possum with his car.

“We’ve got a soft spot for critters,” Kitty explains.

“Miley’s pretty well adusted,” Kitty said. “She’s getting John trained pretty good.” When her water dish runs dry, Miley goes and sits in the sink until the water is turned on. Then she likes to play with stream as it flows from the faucet.

She never did that at my house, but then I yelled at her when she jumped up on the kitchen counter.

When I stepped inside the Diacon’s home, Miley seemed to remember me immediately (or maybe that’s wishful thinking). She brushed up against me and let me pick her up, something she didn’t do that often when she lived with me.

She seemed used to all the other animal life in the home — even the new possums, which John was feeding milk to through a syringe.

John, a Navy veteran who was left with disc problems from driving a fertilizer truck and who’s still fighting his workmen’s comp case, spends time tending to the animals and his son, Patrick, and working on cars and radios in his garage.

John introduced me to the rest of the animals, and I spent a few more minutes petting Miley before saying goodbye.

If I had any doubts about Miley’s new home, they were gone by then.

(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing account of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America)