Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What's in a name?

Starlight is a Calliope Cat.

But Starlight is gone now, his suffering over. "Starlight was, but is no more." Wouldn't this be more correct, then? Your sixth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Stickler, would probably say yes. "Present tense is used to describe actions or events that are occurring now," you recall her droning, as Billy O'Sullivan did impersonations from the back row.

Rules may guide grammarians, but they often blur or disappear altogether for those of us rescuing homeless animals. Rarely do we have time for rigid rules or fancy protocols or preconceived notions about the future when a cat like Starlight comes to our attention. A declawed senior who eventually tested positive for FIV, Starlight was dumped just as winter was setting in. With coyotes active at night, a terrified and ill Starlight made his way to a nearby home, where a loving person cared for him until Calliope Rescue could foster him.

Starlight spent the last three weeks of his life warm and safe and loved. He ate what he could, rolled over for tummy rubs, and purred at the gentle strokes his now-relaxed face received from his foster mom. They napped together in the afternoons and snuggled every evening while she read the newspaper. Every small gesture he made while in her company signaled his gratitude. And when he was ready to leave what he believed was his forever home, he stopped eating. Although it broke the heart of every rescuer who had met him, we all knew he trusted us enough to understand what to do next.

Starlight's story is the story of every homeless animal who suffers and every rescuer who tries to help. He teaches us many things, even now.

Starlight is a Calliope Cat.

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