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Her Daughter’s Cat

She called about her daughter’s cat. Her daughter died 15 years ago.

She got the cat after her daughter died. But to her, it was still her daughter’s cat. Because it was.

Her daughter had just graduated from college. Getting the cat was the first adult thing she said she was going to do. Her Mom asked her to not get the cat. She said she would not have time to take care of her while she was out living her life. Her daughter disagreed.

Now her Mom is thankful her daughter got the cat. Because all these years later, she still has this piece of her daughter.

The past couple of years things have gotten harder, especially after the woman’s husband passed away. Life got harder, money got tighter. And she never imagined she’d be calling a total stranger to ask for help paying to put her cat to sleep. Those were her words. But we’ve heard them before.

She said the emotional part was hard enough. But the financial part. Even harder.

We talked for a few minutes. She said it wasn’t time, but she knew it would be soon. The cat had been battling some ongoing health issues and nothing seemed to help. She shared several details but all that mattered is she knew she would soon be saying goodbye to her daughter’s cat and it made her feel like she was losing her daughter all over again.

A few weeks later she called again. It was time. She said it was a beautiful day outside, and not the kind of day you’d expect to be thinking about saying goodbye. On a lark, I asked her what the cat was doing? I expected her to say she was sunning in the window or napping on the bed. Something like that.

She said she was licking the bottom of the couch again. And then she said she already knew a little bit later the vomiting and seizures would start, just like always.

Those words that she said, again and always.

What did she mean when she said again? And what did she mean when she said always?

And with those questions came another question. What was she licking exactly?

Turned out to be the leg of the couch. One of four old wooden legs that had been painted sometime earlier by her husband, one of his weekend projects. One day the cat decided to begin licking them. And then we asked her one more question.

Could there be any connection between the licking and the vomiting and seizures? She did not know. She said the bloodwork had some small concerns but nothing completely out of whack.

Of course it was a silly question. The cat was older, it could be any number of things. Sometimes we just never know.

Then she found the paint her husband had used.

The next step was removing the legs from the bottom of the couch. No more legs meant no more legs to lick. And over the next few weeks there was no more vomiting and no more seizures.

The woman said she never thought about the painted legs. We told her it was a total lark to even ask about them.

She said we saw her words.

That we did not just hear them, but we saw them.

Because sometimes listening is with both ears and eyes. And if we’re lucky, sometimes we remember to do that.

Time has gone by and both the woman and the cat are doing well. Good health is their friend and for that we are grateful.

The Pongo Fund is a port in a storm. Sometimes the storm is a sick cat. And sometimes the cure has to do with the legs on a couch.

She called for help to say goodbye. Instead we found another way to say hello.

And a woman and her daughter’s cat are enjoying all the days because of it.

Thank you to everyone who joins with me on this journey called The Pongo Fund. It is moments like these that mean so much. I can’t really put it into words. And maybe it wouldn’t even make sense if I could.

But I thank you for always being here too.

Because everything we do, we do together.

And this is why we Pongo.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

The Pongo Fund / Portland, OR