A Very Special Pumpkin...

Posted by Pia

Today’s post is dedicated to my human friend Dave and his cat Roger. Dave and Roger rescued each other on a windy winter day 16 years ago. Roger passed away this week-after a long happy life, in the care of a human who loved him deeply- and who I'm certain he loved back.

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Roger was a regal fellow.  He would wait patiently to greet Dave at the top of the stairs.

1 Roger was a regal fellow. He would wait patiently to greet Dave at the top of the stairs.

Dave would then bend down so Roger could climb up on his shoulder... Roger had a calm and loving demeanor.

2 Dave would then bend down so Roger could climb up on his shoulder... Roger had a calm and loving demeanor.

Roger enjoyed sitting in high places and watching the antics of those around him.

3 Roger enjoyed sitting in high places and watching the antics of those around him.

Just after Dave brought Roger home for the first time, he settled in as if he’d been there all along. Fortunately he was accepted by the rest of his furry family immediately and without incident.

4 Just after Dave brought Roger home for the first time, he settled in as if he’d been there all along. Fortunately he was accepted by the rest of his furry family immediately and without incident.

Roger was content just to be with Dave.  He knew he was loved.

5 Roger was content just to be with Dave. He knew he was loved.

Pine
Hallandale, Fla.
Playful Pine here is neutered, box trained and had his shots. He'd love to be your little pumpkin!
See link to his info. at bottom of post.

6 Pine Hallandale, Fla. Playful Pine here is neutered, box trained and had his shots. He'd love to be your little pumpkin! See link to his info. at bottom of post.

Twinkle
Brookfield, Wi.
Twinkle here is truly wishing upon a star.  This loyal, shy guy is super smart and will always have your back.  He wants to love a human of his very own but needs a safe forever home to do so!  See link to his info. at bottom of post.

7 Twinkle Brookfield, Wi. Twinkle here is truly wishing upon a star. This loyal, shy guy is super smart and will always have your back. He wants to love a human of his very own but needs a safe forever home to do so! See link to his info. at bottom of post.

Archy
San Diego/North County, Ca.
Archy is a sweet guy who had a tough beginning.  He is the perfect mixture of strong and sweet.  He'd prefer a home without dogs but is good with kids and other cats. Don't you have a nice cozy blanket upon which he can nap and purr?
See link to his info. at bottom of post.

8 Archy San Diego/North County, Ca. Archy is a sweet guy who had a tough beginning. He is the perfect mixture of strong and sweet. He'd prefer a home without dogs but is good with kids and other cats. Don't you have a nice cozy blanket upon which he can nap and purr? See link to his info. at bottom of post.

Doc
Westville, In.
Sweet Doc (above) and his pal Larry were adopted into a loving home but when the caregiver became ill, they were returned to the rescue group :(  This bonded pair needs a new forever home together.  Can you help heal their broken hearts?  See link to their info. at bottom of post.

9 Doc Westville, In. Sweet Doc (above) and his pal Larry were adopted into a loving home but when the caregiver became ill, they were returned to the rescue group :( This bonded pair needs a new forever home together. Can you help heal their broken hearts? See link to their info. at bottom of post.

Peaches
Naples, Fla.
Most orange tabby cats are male- so sweet Peaches is quite unique!  She is a young little lady and is part American Bobtail.  She's is super friendly and good with kids, dogs and other cats! See link to her info. at bottom of post.

10 Peaches Naples, Fla. Most orange tabby cats are male- so sweet Peaches is quite unique! She is a young little lady and is part American Bobtail. She's is super friendly and good with kids, dogs and other cats! See link to her info. at bottom of post.

Ginger Man
Chicago, Il.
Ginger Man is a playful and outgoing little guy.  Be sure to inquire about his sister Ms. Butterworth too!
See link to their info. at bottom of post.

11 Ginger Man Chicago, Il. Ginger Man is a playful and outgoing little guy. Be sure to inquire about his sister Ms. Butterworth too! See link to their info. at bottom of post.

Roger and Dave...

Roger- a tiny orange kitten- scared and hungry- somehow found himself stuck high in a tree on a blustery winter day many years ago. The skies were growing darker and there was not a home for miles… other than Dave’s.

For Dave, the tumultuous weather on that day seemed calm in comparison to the storm inside his head and heart. He was in the midst of a painful divorce, working long hours and managing feelings of distrust and disillusionment.

There is little explanation for how the tiny meow, of a then nameless kitten, made its way to Dave's ears that day- but it did.

From that day forward, the little feline- soon to be known as Roger- took a place in Dave's home where he remained a calming force in an otherwise busy life.

Roger was an old soul of sorts. He was calm and wise- but certainly not meek or timid. He seemed to embody the kind of balance many of us seek in life.

For the years that followed, Roger and Dave provided a touchstone to one another. Roger called on Dave in gentle ways and enrolled Dave’s nurturing at times when Dave needed connection most. One might say they were very much in 'sync.'

Fortunately Roger had a long happy life. But as so many of us know first hand, the grief of a companion animal's passing is often complicated and hard to bare. There are few, if any, relationships as unique as those we have with our animal companions.

We love these little souls with a depth that is hard to quantify or explain. As a predominantly verbal species, we humans tend to connect with others through words. In fact, many find it uncomfortable to remain silent in the company of another human. But with our non-human animal friends, we connect in more intuitive ways. We depend on our other senses and nothing needs explanation or justification. We quietly connect, co-exist, and exchange bids for affection. We still communicate and seek to understand one another, but we do most of it non-verbally.

In many ways our animal companions access a part of us that is not limited by what words seek to define. And as such- our feelings upon their passing also cannot be contained by, or expressed in, words.

We FEEL their absence in the truest sense. Literally experiencing a void by our feet or where they used to nap. We take pause when reflex has us breaking off a piece of toast to share with our now absent furry friend. We still open that shade to let the sun shine on their favorite napping spot....

And we miss the similar offerings they made to us... rubbing up against our leg when we felt alone, curling up in the nook of our elbow when we felt under the weather- poking us on the head when we were meant to wake up... and often reminding us to be present and take stock of life’s simple pleasures.

Dave reflected on many such moments in which Roger would call his attention to a slower pace, a moment in time- a patch of sun. He recalled offering himself as a bridge for Roger- Dave would lower his shoulder for Roger to step up on and transport him from one high perch to another. Sometimes this was to help Roger avoid a rambunctious foster kitty who was visiting. Other times it was simply to help Roger take in another view. They were bonded and they conversed with one another- intuitively. Their connection was a strong and enduring one.

Dave and Roger were good to each other and I have to believe that nature has a way of preserving such a deep connection in ways we may not yet understand.

Here’s hoping all of our companions who have passed away are enjoying peace from their new perch.

In kinship,
Dr. Pia Salk

Today’s gallery includes photos of the regal Roger and those of some other wise and lovable pumpkin kitties in need of adoption. They too, long for a safe place in someone’s home and heart- the kind that Roger was fortunate enough to find 16 years ago.

Pine
Twinkle
Archy
Doc
Peaches
Ginger Man

Comments (6)

  • Good morning Dr. Pia,
    Well, that Roger fellow sure had a good life and the best is that he was very much loved. I hope the other cats find homes also.
    I looked back at yesterday's blog and Basil did not give a report on his check up. I know your dad is having his retirement party but maybe your mom could let you on the computer long enough to let us know how it went. You know we all worry about you and we want you to get a good report. Happy Retirement Day Basil's Daddy.
    Raining here. Crap. I don't like getting my feet wet. Well, I guess I will go back to bed then I won't have to go out to do my business, at least not now.
    Have a good day everyone,
    Maddox

  • Dr.Pia I'm sorry for the passing of Roger and I hope that Dave will find peace in his heart...your wonderful post is written with so much feeling. Yes "We love these little souls with a depth that is hard to quantify or explain"

    delia & Kitty

  • Hello Dr. Pia,
    Your blog on Roger and Dave is a very special one, and I wish Dave peace although I know he feels empty right now without Roger. This cat I could have liked!!! Thank you Maddox for worrying about me and my appointment with the specialist.It was Mom's fault I didn't get back on the computer. Well kind of her fault. She couldn't get Xcel to fix our power quick enough. We spent 3 hours between getting to the doc's and my visit there. We got 8 inches of snow yesterday and I got to have a fire last night. Well, anyhow back to the appointment. I didn't like how everyone from the tech to the doctor was preoccupied with my butt. Internal swabs and tests and yucko city!!!! Well, I guess with this Crohn's Disease thing I have, my stomach lining is hardening and that is why I have been on special meds to help with motility, but everyone else usually has natural antibodies in their system to combat infection--I don't anymore, so I had a little blood they were checking out about and now I am on some special stuff to help with this bacterial infection and help my stomach enzymes. Anyway you look at it, it is just another stage of this disease, but I felt better and more better after the first treatment last night. So I will be in good form for Dad retiring. They told Mom at the doc's that only a small percentage of dogs can survive this and it depends on their human caretakers a lot and that Mom and I were doing a great job together. I think Dr. Westfall is the best too!! Mom and Dad have been talking a lot about some prize thing Dad might get at his retirement today. I am keeping my fingers crossed for my Dad---he is the best.Thanks everyone for helping me through this appointment again. You are all the best buddies a guy could have--have a great Thursday.
    Love & licks,
    Basil

  • Hello ladies, Kirby here.
    And hello to you too Dr. Pia. As I’ve said many time, “Cats are for chasing.” But after reading the story about Roger, some cats could use a ‘pass’ from that saying. Roger was not for chasing, just plain ole loving; rest in peace Roger. It’s not raining here as yet but we do expect some later on today or tonight. Better get the outdoors thingy done before it rains. I don’t like to get my feet wet; same as Maddox. Had my morning walk, breakfast and now nap time.
    Catch you later, Kirby.

  • Hi Dr. Pia, You certainly are a heart warming animal lover and sharing these beautiful photos and stories about people and animals who love one another is wonderful! Yes, it is very sad to lose a loved one, but it's also easy to remember the wonderful times you've had with your own delightful little creatures. Dave and Roger were very special and I think God brought them together-16 years, FANTASTIC! Thanks so much for sharing this! Hey Basil, so happy you are doing as well as you are! My heart goes out to you and my prayers are with you forever! Hope your Dad has a great retirement party! Sure hope everyone has a great day and see you next week Dr. Pia! Love, Jan and DDR

  • Yes, there are good kitty-bears and Roger was one of them and so is my Pal, Kit-Bang, who like our buddy Basil has to take lots of meds and a special diet..Basil, the fire sounds good, but the snow I can live without..hope your person gets a good retirement gift and not some dumb cheap watch!..The county has its big brush cutter coming up our road..Lucinda is going to try to entice them down our driveway since it was deeded to the county years ago but they seem to forget..so where is Zoe today? we have camp robbers snatching the feral cat food ( have to feed the poor starving guys) so I better get out there and patrol..later dog buddies...Cora-belle

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