Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Old friends need to be together

Maida Genser's grassroots group,
Citizens for Pets in Condos, has been knocking.
The doors to the State Capital have opened.

IMPORTANT: Read previous entry, "Old Friends" first - this is a three-part story

Old friends need to be together

When the manager told Beetie about the new pet policy and that she'd have to find Buster a new home or face eviction from her condo, he couldn't look her in the eye. Just as well, thought Beetie, because her tears came fast and she'd always looked a fright when she cried and that would make her mad and then she'd talk too loud...

Beetie couldn't eat supper that evening. She just sat in the dark, petting Buster, wondering why the thought of living without a black cat with a white chin was just as sad as living without Leon. She decided to call the minister of her new church. Beetie wasn't an overly religious person but she liked the tidy little white building that housed the local Methodists. It was within walking distance, so when she moved to Florida she'd decided to make the effort and see how things developed.

The gentleman answered on the first ring, and said he was glad Beetie called and yes, he certainly did have a few moments for her. He insisted she call him Don. That seemed a bit informal to Beetie, but this was a new time, a new generation, and Beetie could go with the flow. As she sat there in the dark, talking to a man whose hand she had shaken no more than three times, to whom she'd never said more than hello, Beetie realized she just couldn't bear living without Buster. She was the only surviving daughter of four children born to parents long deceased. Her daughter, Kayla, was so far away and so very busy. Leo was probably looking down from Heaven with that look he'd get when someone said Buster was old or ugly. He would not have liked this mess, no, not one bit.

After listening to Beetie a bit, Don said she might be able to keep Buster and not have to move from her condo after all. Was he pulling her leg? No, he said, he'd heard of a law someone was trying to get passed that dealt with this very topic. He told her he'd make a couple of calls and ring her right back with some information.

As Beetie waited, Buster purred his way to sleep on her lap. Stroking her cat's soft fur, Beetie's heart felt heavy. She knew her heart was pumping OK because she'd just had a check up. It wasn't that kind of heavy anyway. Beetie suddenly realized it felt heavy because it was breaking. Without Buster, she would be totally alone and the sadness from before would return.

Don told her to get a pad and pencil and write down what he was about to tell her. House Bill 1373 was the bill he'd been talking about, he said. If passed, it would provide condominium residents - like Beetie - the right to have a companion animal (dog, cat, bird, etc.) live with them in their home, if a health professional stated the animal was helpful to the person’s physical or psychological well-being.

Beetie knew having Buster felt good. But the cat was also providing her with physical and psychological benefit because he was her only constant companion and petting him and playing an occasional game of twine chase did them both good. Beetie felt sure her heart doctor, Dr. Nehman, would write a letter for her and Don told her he'd write one for her too. Even though he wasn't a health professional, he was a soul professional, he said, and he could vouch for Buster being good for Beetie's soul. She thanked him profusely and hung up the phone, causing Buster to leap from her lap and head to the kitchen.

As Beetie fed Buster his supper, her heart didn't feel as heavy as before. She sighed. She knew she'd have to do a bit of leg work to make it all come together, but she did have 30 days, so she didn't have to be frantic. The force is with us, she told the cat whose head was hidden in his food bowl.
After all, the two loves of Leo's life had come this far together...

No comments: