It was May 2015 when we heard the crying. My brother Steve rushed out the gate, frantically searching for what sounded like the yelps of a kitten. My brother’s search almost ended fruitlessly until he spotted a tiny golden patch of fur.
The young kitten was sprawled on the ground, unmoving, its mouth barely mouthing meows of help with a voice fading like the dimming light in its eyes. Little did we know that God sent us an Angel.
Many resist rescuing animals because they only think about the costs of the medical treatment or vetting and the scratches on their furniture. They see saving animals as an extra chore, an added burden on the mind and wallet.
But caring for an animal is more than cleaning the litter box, more than stocking up on cans of food, and little toy mice tied to a stick on a string. Hercules heals my family.
My family is introverted and private. We are not the kind of family who is used to hugging each other or saying “I love you.” There are rifts between family members, and many words left unsaid, many emotions kept suppressed.
Hercules was a bridge, he opened our hearts.
Caring for him enabled full participation of the family whether it was playing with him together, sharing photos and memories of him, bringing him with us on our trips, and even the cleaning of the litter and feeding became a bonding activity.
Hercules is so unconditionally loving. Even though my dad isn’t particularly fond of cats, Hercules still has the audacity to approach my dad and sometimes I can catch dad’s smile.
When there would be fights in the household, he would cuddle up to those feeling angry or sit radiating peace and love, reminding us that there are more important things than our resentments.
During my lowest times when I would feel too ashamed or too lonely to reach out for help and a hug, without asking, Hercules would make his way up to my bed on his own or cuddle my back or my lap, or be so insistently clingy as if to remind me, “I love you. I’m always here for you.”
Animals open our hearts. They teach us how to love and offer love unconditionally, without reason or condition. The least we can do is to be kind to them, to offer our shelter and care, because the value they give in our lives far outweighs the labor of love needed to care for them.
It is sad though that Hercules has a condition: seizures due to extreme malnutrition during his developing weeks.
My family and I know that Hercules’ time is limited, but rather than seeing it as a curse, we see it is a gift.
It means that there is more need for love more than ever, for peace more than strife, for kindness more than hatred.
More memory-making and appreciating. More faith than fear.
Don’t think there’s a stray animal at your door. Think: there’s a miracle at my door.
About the author: Therese Castro is a BA International Studies major in Development Studies and minor in Gender from Miriam College. She is also an Intuitive Life Coach and guest-starred in Rx. 93.1 discussing healing with the Angels, perception, and life guidance through Tarot and Oracle readings. She is a metaphysical educator, empath, and mama to four (4) cats and one dog. She loves to write and blog about self-help and wellness at http://www.facebook.com/guidedbywings
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