Skip to content

It Takes a Village

January 1, 2014

pieceablekingdom

There can be no vulnerability without risk. There can be no community without vulnerability. There can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.  M. Scott Peck

Because this first blog post of 2014 has a happy ending, we might as well begin it with “Once upon a time.”  So, here goes.

Once upon a time, in a land not far south of Seattle, there was a handsome young cat named Gabriel.  Actually, no one knew his given name at the time he was first seen feeding with a group of feral cats behind an office building.  No one knew how he had suddenly come to be there, but the kind women who fed him did know that he was not feral, and that something was wrong with his back legs.  Terribly wrong, in fact, because Gabriel could barely move without pulling himself with his front legs.

Gabe under quilt

Gabriel snuggled under his quilt, Constance Perenyi, 2013

As it happened, the women who fed Gabriel knew an animal- loving man in the office building who agreed to take the injured tabby to his animal-loving daughter.  Enter Gabriel’s fairy godmother, a woman who has spent much of her life rescuing and caring for cats.  She took one look at this beautiful brown tabby and bestowed on him a name with dignity, hope, and wings.  Gabriel would need all three for the adventure he was about to begin.

Initial x-rays revealed bad breaks and dislocation in Gabriel’s both legs.  The veterinarian believed surgery could work, but the cost was well beyond the means of his rescuers.  His godmother refused to resign herself to the worst.  She had fallen in love with this fellow, seen the spark in his eyes, and knew there was a way to help him if she told his story.  Word spread, and within a few days, Purrfect Pals agreed to take Gabriel and provide the care he needed.

By the time Gabriel arrived at the shelter in Arlington, he had many concerned followers.  A fund was set up in his name, and donations from all over the world helped pay for his surgery.  After a long and involved procedure, the orthopedic surgeon noted he had never seen anything quite like Gabriel’s injuries.  Whatever happened had caused this young cat unthinkable pain.  His will to survive was essential to his recovery.

Back at Purrfect Pals, Gabriel amazed his caregivers.  He healed quickly, used his back legs eagerly, and was soon ready for a forever home.  His adopters, a physical therapist and a nurse, had been following his story, knowing they had the unique skills to help him fully recover.  Gabriel now has a loving family, and an opportunity to make up for a lost kittenhood.  His humans believe he is actually younger than first estimated, and his cat and dog siblings often wish he were less rambunctious.  Gabriel tears around the house with boundless energy, stopping for an occasional cuddle before he dashes up the stairs to oversee his kingdom.

Detail of Gabriel's Quilt

Detail of Gabriel’s Quilt

With the help of many caring people, this story unfolded quickly.  Gabriel was found at the end of June 2013, and was in his new home a month later.  I got to assist with his transport to Purrfect Pals, and his godmother and I watched with wonder as he intrepidly explored the shelter office despite his impaired mobility.  I knew he had to be part of the 13 Cats Project, and started to design a quilt of bright, energetic colors for him to rest on during his recovery.  But before I could even start stitching, Gabriel was well on his way.  His “healing” quilt is now a place for him to rest between his many adventures.

Gabriel got a second chance because so many people were willing to take risks on his behalf.  A fairytale ending was never guaranteed, but then, it never is.  It truly takes a village of fairy godmothers, skilled veterinarians, willing adopters, and a shelter where every cat matters.

As the New Year beckons with promise, we all have a chance to make a difference.  Please welcome 2014 with a donation to an animal shelter in your area. I plan to share part of my first paycheck of the year with Purrfect Pals, in honor of Gabriel, and all of the cats who can look forward to their happily-ever-after beginnings in the months ahead.

Portrait of Gabriel, Paper Collage, Constance Perenyi, 2013

Portrait of Gabriel, Paper Collage, Constance Perenyi, 2013

4 Comments

Post a comment
  1. January 1, 2014

    That is wonderful, Constance. I remember the online discussions about him from the beginning. His bravery and refusal to give up on himself made it impossible for people to give up on him. I was one of those who contributed and I regarded it as money well spent. My gratitude to everyone involved in helping Gabriel save himself is boundless, including but not limited to you, his rescuers, his godmother, Purrfect Pals and his furrever family. The quilt is beautiful and I’m sure Gabriel and his family will treasure it.

    • January 1, 2014

      I too have vivid memories the online urgency to get help for Gabriel, and then the wait for news after his surgery. We were all so concerned he would lose his hind legs. He is one very lucky cat, and we were all fortunate to be able to help in such a tangible way. Yes, we are a village!

  2. Claudine Erlandson #
    January 1, 2014

    Thank you dearest Constance, Purrfect Pals and many wonderful others…for beautiful Gabriel. I put the story on my FB page…Happy New Year with a Happy ending and a beautiful collage and quilt!xo

    • January 1, 2014

      And a wonderful 2014 to you, Claudine. Thanks so much for your support. May this be a year of hope and progress as we all work on behalf of our beloved animals!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: