Carolyn Niehaus: Farewell for now, from Rafael | TheUnion.com
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Carolyn Niehaus: Farewell for now, from Rafael

Moonlight and Rafael enjoy each other's company at AnimalSave.
Submitted photo |

Editor’s note: Our community’s efforts to rescue “Rafael” and so many other animals in western Nevada County are not taken for granted, as this submitted Other Voices from AnimalSave Director Carolyn Niehaus shares, from the perspective of Rafael.

Boy, did I get lucky! Several months ago I got separated (not so lucky) from my family and was wandering the streets near Humpty Dumpty in Grass Valley. Then a very compassionate person saw I was in trouble, picked me up and took me to AnimalSave.

Because I was so skinny, they fed me great stuff to fatten me up. Lots of caring folks were there holding me, loving me, doting on me — see, I told you I was lucky.



Because I wasn’t a kitten, they couldn’t put me in the kitty suite but, because I was so petite, they didn’t want to put me with the big adult cats, so they let me roam around the reception area. That was great! I got so much attention — I loved it! These nice folks determined that I was a domestic short hair, cream tabby about one year old. They named me Rafael — sounded good to me.

I feel good here, I’m happy here, I run and play in the beautiful meadows and one day I’ll see my Moonlight and all my AnimalSave friends in the distance and I’ll run to guide them over the Rainbow Bridge where we will be together forever.

Because I was able to run and play, jump and hide anywhere I wanted in the reception area, someone noticed that sometimes I lost my balance and I faltered somewhat. So off to the vet I went. AnimalSave has all the furry critters examined by a staff of professionals, so now it was my turn.




Thanks to the generosity of Bob and Carol Hamilton, my visit to the ophthalmologist (whatever that is) and to the lab for special blood testing (ouch) was paid for by these very nice people. I told you I was a lucky guy. It was determined that I am a “special needs” cat with compromised vision but able to function amazingly well. I didn’t think I had a problem since I was probably born that way and didn’t know any better. Because of this vision thing, I was given my own private suite. Wait a minute — where did everyone go? I wasn’t having fun at all and started to get somewhat anxious, then depressed.

Didn’t I tell you I was lucky? The nice AnimalSave people saw that my temperament had changed and thought I needed a companion, a “seeing eye” cat possibly, so they brought Moonlight into my suite. She was a little, black, 3-month-old domestic shorthaired gal who stole my heart. We’d run, we’d play, we’d cuddle on the green frog bed, and we took care of each other. Truly, it was a match made in heaven!

So, even though I had this vision inconvenience, I felt great, was extremely happy and I got along just fine especially once I had my Moonlight in my life. I was happy to stay at AnimalSave forever, but they wanted to find the perfect “forever-home” where my people would love me just the way I was because I was special! Of course the plan was that Moonlight would have to be adopted with me since we had bonded together so beautifully.

About a week ago, I started not feeling so well. I didn’t really want to eat – but I tried just to make those nice volunteers smile. Then I had to have more lab work and when it came back, everyone was very sad. It turned out I was really sick and there were lots of lots of conversations with Dr. Julie and everyone else involved.

Finally those people, who truly loved me and did not want me to suffer, decided to take me to the Rainbow Bridge. While I was held in gentle, loving hands I started purring. Then I saw the Rainbow Bridge. I walked across it and suddenly I could see forever — the mountain tops, flowers, birds, a slow moving creek loaded with fish. I started running to meet old chums I hadn’t seen in a long time.

I feel good here, I’m happy here, I run and play in the beautiful meadows and one day I’ll see my Moonlight and all my AnimalSave friends in the distance and I’ll run to guide them over the Rainbow Bridge where we will be together forever.

Rafael (May 1, 2014 — August 7, 2015)

P.S. My Moonlight is still looking for her forever home. See her in the Cat Adoption Room at the AnimalSave Center, 520 East Main St., Grass Valley, 530-271-7071 x 204.


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