All year long, we bear witness to the miracle of the human-animal bond. During the holiday season, some moments can feel even more meaningful. In a year that has been so challenging, the things that touch our hearts also help to reinforce the true spirit of the holidays– joy and hope.
In our work, some of the most joyful moments are when we can reunite a lost pet safely with their worried families. Last week, we helped an elderly black cat named Benny find his way back to his family.
What is so extraordinary about this is that Benny had been missing for over seven years! Years ago, he had gotten out and vanished without a trace. His family hoped he’d find his way home, but after a few weeks with no sightings, they feared the worst. Living near the woods, they thought he might have been the victim of a wild animal. They were devastated.
But Benny had survived. Somehow, someway he managed to live, for years. Until last week when a good Samaritan discovered him and brought him to their local vet. It turns out Benny had a micro-chip, and he was 14 years old! He was transferred to our shelter for safe keeping while we tracked down his adoptive family. It took some time because the micro-chip info was not kept up to date. When we finally made contact, his family was surprised and delighted! The very next morning, they picked him up to bring him back home.
Judging by Benny’s reaction to his mom, we think it’s fair to say that he felt happy to be with his people again. This photo was taken moments after being reunited. We later learned that Benny’s mom held him in her arms the entire ride home, singing him the same lullaby she’d sing to her grandbabies until he fell peacefully asleep.
We called a few days after they settled at home to see how they were doing. Through tears, Benny’s mom told us how incredible it was to have Benny back at home. She choked up, thinking about where he had been and what he had been through. He’s been super snuggly and loving, and she’s unsure if it was because he recognized her or that he’s been through something terrible and was just so grateful to feel safe and loved again. Either way, she is so thankful for this holiday miracle and will make up for lost time by treasuring every moment with him.
They now call Benny, St. Nick- in recognition of the wonderful holiday gift of a second chance they have been given.