The next few years were filled the many good things. After a short time at a bad job, I landed a job that I loved - good work, good coworkers, good pay. I continued my volunteer work at the cat shelter, first on the cleaning crew, then on the vet crew where I learned a tremendous amount about health care for cats, and finally, more by accident, discovering where my real talent was, working with scared and depressed cats.
I started doing this informally, going into the shelter during the quiet times to visit with the cats who needed special attention. Other volunteers were doing the same thing and in time we became the "socializing" team. We would compare notes on the different cats, trying to identify which needed help and what worked best for each individual cat. A depressed cat that stops eating can start to go into liver failure in as short as three days, and it was not uncommon for the stress of being in a shelter to make a cat scared and depressed. We were all aware of the importance of what we were doing.
I met some tremendous people and many unforgettable spirit cats during this time. Luckily my job was close to the shelter which made mid-day visits possible, when the shelter was the most peaceful. Sometimes I would sit next to a cat that didn't want to be handled and read poetry, thinking that a soft musical voice would be soothing. From time to time, the cats would peek over my shoulders at the pictures on the pages of the books from which I was reading. I pretended not to notice as I would read on.
Its been many years since I was a volunteer at that shelter but I remember fondly many of the cats I met there. I may share some of their stories from time to time, but as my grandfather spirit cat is reminding me tonight as I try and wrestle keyboard access from him, right now its the story of our family I need to tell.