A Paws For Pets — What it means to volunteer at York Adopt A Pet

By LaMoine Roth, York Adopt A Pet

In December of 2010, we received a small, big-eyed, black and white little cat. This was another little soul brought to York Adopt aA Pet, but he wasn’t just any cat. We named him Gary and this is his story, as if these were his words:   

A young mother originally from York, now living in Arizona, was visiting relatives west of York when saw me alone and very hungry. She didn’t want to leave me alone so she called YAAP to see if they had room for just one more. Somehow they squeezed me in and immediately my life changed. I now had enough food, water and most importantly, I had people who really cared whether I lived or died. I felt better than I ever had in my short life.

One day one of the volunteers was paying more attention to me than normal. I was taken to York Animal Clinic and heard words like esophagus, genetic and life threatening. I chose to ignore the sad look on the volunteers’ faces. I overheard the volunteers saying I was not suffering but I probably wouldn’t have a long life. I had to disagree. Gee, I felt fine. Why the concern? Then I realized maybe no one would want me. How cruel could that be, to be rescued and then no one want to adopt me? I sat quietly in my kennel and volunteers would put sad or lonely cats with me and I always made friends with them. I, too, was lonely and sad. I had been planning on writing a letter to Santa to see if he could send a family to adopt me. I promised I was not sick and need no medication. I just had this birth defect which kept me from being the perfect cat.

And then Santa granted my wish. Charleen Kimberly, one of my favorite volunteers who had been taking care of me, decided to take me home as her foster cat. She knew my life may be short, but she said she would keep me and love me for as long as I could stay. So thank you Santa for granting my Christmas wish.

I had 137 days in my forever home before I crossed the Rainbow Bridge.  I was loved and pampered for 137 days.

Gary did not realize he was born with a genetic hole in his esophagus. He was the only one who didn’t know he had a limited time to be with us.  He was loved and cared for. He was fed carefully so as not to choke on his food. He was with us for several months when Charleen announced right before Christmas she was going to take him home and foster him for however long he had. With her care and attention, we didn’t think he would go this quickly. He flourished in her care and except for the expanding in his throat when he breathed, you never would have known little Gary had a terminal defect. 

Charleen brought little Gary with her to our cat information meeting. He was passed from one to the next to get as much attention as possible.  As you can see from the picture, he loved Charleen and spent his time cuddling close to her. He was the most amazing little guy. This is what makes YAAP. We take in the healthy, the adoptable and the not so adoptable. With our network of volunteers we are able to give special needs cats and kittens the chance they normally wouldn’t have.   


I Am Always With Them

And God asked the feline spirit

Are you ready to come home?

“Oh yes quite so,” replied the precious soul.

And, as a cat, you know I am most able to decide anything for myself.

“Are you coming then?” asked God.

“Soon,” replied the whiskered angel.

But I must come slowly for my human friends are troubled

For you see, they need me, quite certainly.”

“But don’t they understand?” asked God.  “That you’ll never leave them?

That your souls are intertwined. For all eternity?

That nothing is created or destroyed? It just is…forever and ever and ever.

“Eventually they will understand,” replied the glorious cat.

“For I will whisper into their hearts that I am always with them.

I just am…forever and ever and ever.”


Charleen said later that day, “You know as hard as this has been and knowing his time was limited, I would do it all again. He was worth every day I was able to spend with him.”

The cats and kittens are so fortunate to have volunteers like Charleen. We know we can’t save every cat or kitten, but those we have saved and given a second chance truly make it all worthwhile, even if it only lasts 137 days. 

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