In 2006, I was absent from my home in Norwich Connecticut for 51 days, due to complicated abdominal surgical operations. My two cats were being cared for, first by friends, and eventually by Karen, a professional “cat sitter”, recommended by a local veterinarian. When I finally came home, still healing, I felt like a stranger in my own home, and very alone. I asked Karen to continue to come until I was stronger and able to manage their care myself. Missy and Jack were strangers to me, as I was to them.
It took a bit of time for Missy to come to me, but Jack would have nothing to do with me. In fact, he acted as if he didn’t like me, and paid no attention to me, even though I tried to reconnect with him. I mentioned this to Karen on the fifth day I had been home, and she said she would try to find out why. She took a picture of Jack on her smart phone and said she would send it to Barbara in California to find out what was going on.
The next morning at 11 AM, I was sitting on the couch and Jack jumped up on the ottoman and looked right into my eyes, and let me pet him and listened while I talked to him. I was dumb-founded by this complete reversal of his behavior, and mentioned it to Karen when she came to care for the cats and change the litter. She replied that she had not talked to Barbara yet, but would talk with her later that day. Karen called me later and this is what she told me:
At 8 AM Saturday morning, California time, Barbara “spoke” with Jack and asked him what was bothering him and why he was behaving like that with me. Jack’s reply was that he was scared, and didn’t know what was going to happen to him. He felt abandoned by me, and didn’t trust me. Barbara assured him that I wasn’t going to go anywhere, and that he didn’t need to be afraid anymore, and that he would be safe.
When Karen told me the time Barbara had contacted Jack, I realized that it was that moment when he jumped on the ottoman, since Connecticut is 3 hours ahead of California.
I had never met Barbara; I had never experienced something like this before; and yet it clicked, and I totally believe his complete turnaround could not have occurred without her intervention. Jack and I have bonded. He trusts that I have his best interests at heart, and he knows that I love him, and he loves me. I have never forgotten this and continue to abide by her ability to learn what Jack needs for his “quality of life”.
Since then, if I am confounded, Barbara has been able to tell me what Jack is trying to convey to me, and what his digestive needs are while we are on the phone (and her diagnoses are “on the money”), and all from the other side of the continent from us. I don’t question: I know she is telling me what Jack is telling her, or even what Jack’s physical needs are; and my implementing her suggestions regarding his diet, or his discontent, makes him a happy healthy member of my family.