Rosie Beats the Odds

By A.G. Moore

RosieWe knew Rosie’d found her niche when we heard her growl.  Ordinarily, a growl is ominous, a sign of aggression and an indication that maybe it’s time to call in a  trainer.  However, in Rosie’s case the growl didn’t upset anyone – it merely gave us all a chuckle.   For, you see, Rosie is a cat – a most remarkable cat, who found her way under the hood of a car and stayed there for about ten miles until her distressed cries attracted attention.According to the vet who checked her out after that harrowing ride, Rosie’s chances for survival were not good.  For one thing, she was young, too young; she was malnourished, infested with worms and suffering from a variety of infections.  Added to the mix was an old injury which had left her with a useless leg. The vet said that if Rosie lived, and became stronger, the leg would have to be amputated.Fortunately for Rosie, the person who rescued her from the car was more compassionate than practical.  The decision was made to fight for Rosie’s life as long as Rosie carried on that fight herself. The decision was not an easy one:  the household in which the frail kitten would reside was already providing a home for two shelter dogs –  dogs who were adjusting poorly to their new accommodations.  These dogs – one a Shepherd mix and the other a beagle – did not receive Rosie with the best of manners.  There was a real concern that the beagle especially might dispatch the kitten in a hunting exercise. So Rosie and the dogs had to be separated.That was about ten months ago.  Since then, another cat, Eli was rescued – also, incredibly,  from a car engine. He too was brought into the household. Happily, Eli escaped his automotive adventure with nary a scratch.Rosie eventually recovered from her many health problems, though the leg, as the vet predicted, never healed. But neither was it amputated.  Rosie liked her insensate paw and it didn’t seem right to take that appendage away from her.  She used it as a kind of paddle  –   leaning on it when she walked, pushing and poking with it at things she wanted to moved around.  Since only the lowest part of her leg was affected by nerve damage, the rest of the limb was able to direct the paddle’s activities.After Rosie overcame her physical obstacles, she had to meet the challenge of learning to live with Kiara and Tabitha, the two dogs.  Eli had not yet joined the family, so Rosie’s only chance at socialization – outside of human companionship – was with the dogs. Which, I suppose, is how she learned to growl.Rosie showed a particular interest in Kiara, the Shepherd mix. On more than one occasion disaster seemed imminent as Rosie pressed her attentions and pounced on Kiara’s tail.  Maybe Rosie’s quest for Kiara’s friendship succeeded because Kiara is a frustrated mother.   Or maybe it succeeded because Kiara is a gentle dog. Whatever the reason, Rosie won her over.  Now the two animals are often found lying next to each other and jousting playfully; Rosie bats with her paddle leg and Kiara responds with exquisite restraint.  At other times, the two chums exchange tokens of affection by grooming each other – or nuzzling.The most fascinating part about Rosie and her adaptation to a multi species environment is not her relationship with Kiara – although it still stops me in my tracks when I see Rosie lying still as Kiara cleans her face. The really amazing thing about Rosie’s socialization is that, though she is the smallest and weakest of the lot, every one of the animals defers to her.  Eli, Kiara and Tabitha may face off against each other from time to time, but nobody fights with RosieIf there is a lesson in all of this, I’m sure it is not that the meek will inherit the earth.  The only lesson  I take from the short and fascinating history of Rosie the cat is the following:  no matter how long the odds, don’t give up on something or someone. You really never can tell how things are going to turn out.
Kiara and Eli, who are more competitors than friends,enjoying a restful truce on the bed
Rosie Getting Ready to Jump

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