The woman was crying outside the shelter’s cat room.
About a month earlier, she’d given up her cat, Missy, to Anne Arundel County Animal Control, in Maryland.
The woman — whose name hasn’t been revealed, to protect her privacy — was undergoing surgery.
The cat has health trouble of her own. The woman hadn’t been able to take care of Missy during her treatments — and so she’d made this heartbreaking decision.
Last Thursday, the woman came back to the shelter, to see if Missy was still there. The surgeries weren’t through; she just wanted to check on her companion. But she couldn’t bring herself to go inside the cat room.
“That is when the staffer found her crying in the hallway,” says Chris Collins Weinstein, a board member with Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Control — a nonprofit associated with the county shelter — who was there that day.
Folks at the shelter decided then and there they would do what it took to make sure that Missy and her person could be together again.
They got their happy reunion. And now, instead of being up for adoption, Missy is trading off time living with two shelter volunteers, who have offered to keep Missy until her owner is well enough again — likely, in early October.
Then, Missy will go home.
Weinstein tells Shelter Me she considers this act part of the shelter’s mission to keep animals and their people together.
“Missy’s owner essentially had ‘lost’ her, and with the approval of the shelter we volunteers are helping to reunite them,” she says. “It was the right and compassionate thing to do.”
Your local shelter may have an emergency foster program, so others like Missy and her person can stay together through tough times — or volunteers may be willing to start one.
Reach out and ask, and offer to help — and then let us know what you find!
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an animal story to share.
All photos via Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Control