A Labor of Love
By Shireen Haynes
Cary LaForce moved to the City of Rochester about three years ago. Everywhere she went, they heard nothing but great things about Rochester Animal Services (RAS) and Verona Street Animal Society (VSAS). At that time, Cary’s little family consisted of a 20 lb purebred beagle named Gypsie, a one-eyed solid black cat named Dinah and her two-legged daughter, Luna.
Cary had always had a pair of cats but after she adopted Dinah, life got in the way and it was nearly three years before she became serious about adopting a second cat. Her first stop was at RAS. No sooner had she walked into the cat room when a young cat by the name of Betty batted her paws through the bars and started yowling at Cary. Cary immediately fell in love and brought Betty, now renamed Beauty, home. The perfect fairy tale ending wasn’t meant to be. Cary quickly learned that Beauty was a little bit of a bully. She not only began to beat up Dinah but the dog as well. Luna refused to pet her. It was with sad hearts that Cary and Luna brought Beauty back.
“I can’t tell you enough how shameful and embarrassing it is to have to return a pet. But, this is where everyone at RAS shined. There was no judgement. Everyone was so kind and understanding. It was that difficult time that sealed the deal – I would only adopt from Rochester Animal Services from here on out,” said Cary.
A few weeks after returning Beauty, Cary thought she would try again. “I was a little gun shy, understandably, but the Black Friday Special was going on and I thought I would swing by and take a look.” Cary was shocked at the size of the crowd of people who were waiting outside and nearly turned around in the parking lot to go back home. She sat in her truck for a moment and thought, “Why not?” and headed in. She learned that most of the people were in line to adopt dogs and so luckily, she was one of the first people in the cat room.
As a rule, Cary never adopted kittens. She always tried to look at the adult cats first. As Cary made her way down the row of cat cages, none of the cats really stood out to her. Until she got to “Stacey”, that is. Stacey was curled as tightly as she could possibly be, trying to be invisible. Cary kept walking but something drew her back. She turned to look at Stacey and as she did the prettiest set of blue eyes peered back at her. “It wasn’t the color of the eyes, though, that drew me back. They were the most exhausted looking eyes I have ever seen, on an animal or human. A bone deep weariness. I just put my back to the wall and slumped down. I didn’t try to coax her or baby talk to her. I didn’t do anything. I just sat there and looked at her half-open eyes. She finally closed her eyes and I grabbed her cage card and went to find a volunteer.”
Fast forward a year and that tired little stray is a beautiful tabby Siamese mix named Cora. Cora is sweet and kind and goofy, always willing to fall down in front of Cary or Luna’s path in hopes of a good petting.
It started to get close to Cora’s adoption day anniversary and Cary really wanted to do something in return for Rochester Animal Services. A random conversation with Cary’s aunt and the idea was born. Cary was now the proud owner of a dozen bags of fleece. Cary had a long weekend off of work during Thanksgiving and got started on her labor of love. “Two pairs of scissors, a few blisters, and a crick in my neck turned out just over a hundred blankets of different sizes for cats and kittens waiting for their forever homes,” said Cary.
“I wish I could bring them all home. But that’s just not realistic. What is realistic is that RAS and VSAS found and took care of my Cora until I could find her. And there are not enough blankets in the world to express how thankful I am. Please don’t thank me for the blankets. From the bottom of the LaForces’ hearts, we thank you.”
Disclaimer of Liability and Endorsement: The views expressed in the Verona Street News are those of its authors and do not constitute the views of the City of Rochester, Friends of Verona Street Animal Shelter, Inc. or their Agents. The content herein is provided for informational purposes only. Dissemination by the City of Rochester and Friends of Verona Street Animal Shelter, Inc. does not constitute an endorsement of the author’s views, products or services..