Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Tribute

I asked Stephanie if it would be okay for me to share this on my blog today. She agreed that it would be alright. Today is a sad day. Stephanie's dear cat Rita has been ill for some time, and returned to Heaven this afternoon. Just days before her wedding, Stephanie has been tirelessly caring for Rita and trying to save her from this illness. She has learned to give Kitty IV's, shots, medicine, you name it. She loves Rita deeply and has taken such good care of her.

Rita was quite the cat. She had a unique history, and if she could talk, I'm sure she would have had quite the stories to tell. Stephanie adopted her as an adult cat. Rita was found climbing out of the rubble of the Oklahoma City Bombing and sent to a shelter. She was a little survivor. She was adopted and later returned because the owner couldn't afford her anymore. Somehow she made her way to the Salt Lake City Humane Society at age seven. One of the lovely caretakers there, Barbara fostered her for some time. She went up for adoption at the same time that Stephanie was looking for a pet to love and care for. She was scared and afraid and stayed in the back of the cage. Stephanie has always sought out the lonely and abandoned. It is only fitting that she chose Rita above all of the playful kittens.

I still remember when Steph called and told me she had adopted Rita. My dad and I drove up to Salt Lake that very night to meet her. That poor scared baby was cowering in a corner under Stephanie's bed, so afraid and unsure of her new surroundings. She spent several months in hiding. Slowly she learned that she was safe and could trust Stephanie to care for her. The two of them needed each other. They've been through a lot together over many years.

I am certain that the animals we care for and love in this life will be ours again someday. I believe Heavenly Father blesses us with pets who enrich our lives, and that the connection we make with them is eternal. They are part of our families here, so why wouldn't they be part of our families in the hear-after? Letting go of my cat Mingtoy was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced. My grief was real and deep, yet some diminished it saying he was 'just a cat.' I still miss him terribly. He was a dear friend and companion. I wish I could take away the pain that I know Stephanie is experiencing from her loss. I just want her to know that I understand. I love little Rita too. She has been such a good companion to Stephanie and she will be missed by our entire family. We love you Miss Rita Marie.

With Love,

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