Little Guy with a Big Heart
painting of Strider Some lessons I learned from Strider:

Kind words cost nothing. Spend them freely.

A taste of the bitter intensifies all that is sweet.

Say it now. Do it now. Life is short.
Photo of Strider Strider's story, as told by his Mom, Heather:

"I heard a sad meow from beneath a neighbor's car, and closer inspection revealed a very malnourished young grey tomcat with a short, crooked tail. Unable to ignore a cat in need, I offered him food. He ate ravenously, but departed when the bowl was empty. I am a technician at a local veterinary hospital, and I decided that if the little grey kitty remained in our neighborhood, I would take him to work, test him for FeLV/FIV and have him neutered. After that, my husband and I would attempt to find him a good home. Needless to say, he showed up again a few days later and allowed me to put him in a carrier. All tests were negative, and he was vaccinated and neutered.

Our small abode was already bursting at the seams with four indoor cats; nevertheless, we took Strider home to 'live in the garage' for a few days while we attempted to hook him up with a perfect new family. However, I just couldn't put him in the garage (so dark!), and instead he took up residence under the dining room table, not really caring what the other cats were up to. He was happy just to hang out indoors. Another week passed, and our temporary boarder now had a name. My husband christened him Strider, after the character in Lord of the Rings.

One night after a spirited play session, Strider assumed an odd body posture and hunkered down with his neck stretched out as though he was having trouble breathing. Thinking perhaps he might have a diaphragmatic hernia, I took him to work with me the following day. Unfortunately, Strider's X-rays showed a severely enlarged heart. Further testing revealed a hole between two chambers, and the prognosis was grave. Medications could prolong his life, but there was no way to surgically repair this problem. It was agreed that Strider would spend his remaining time with us.

Strider takes medicine twice daily, and we've worked out a routine greatly aided by the fact that he's extremely food motivated. With nose kisses and a special reward of rotisserie chicken after each pill, medication time is a breeze. He still loves to play, and in between furry mouse captures, he rests inside his quilt fort.

We've learned to take each day as it comes and appreciate all our special moments with him. We are truly blessed to have Strider in our lives as our soul mate and our teacher."


Prints and greeting cards of this painting can be purchased
on my Artwork for Sale page.

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All images © Alison Whalen