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Ginger's Paw Prints

Kami Thomas, Manitoba, Canada
April 2005

It was the middle of summer and boiling hot. We have a Huge backyard, house, and we have a lot of use for it. At this time, we had a small shed in the corner of the yard close to the house. And in the corner near the fence, there was the falling apart shed. We were taking it down. I was about 5 at this time. We took down the last part and I saw a crate. It was one of those little wooden storage crates. I called to my parents, who immediately came running. There were cats in the crate. 3 kittens and their mother. The dad was on the fence. There were 2 grey kittens and one sandy/ginger kitten. Their mom and dad picked up the grey kittens but left the third. As they jumped out, the crate tipped and the ginger cat was trapped underneath. My mom picked up the crate and set the kitten free, but he did not run. Instead he hissed, arched his back, and stood in that place. We convinced my dad to let us keep him. When we were bringing him inside, my mom told us that we would name him Ginger.

He was my first pet. He was the BEST pet. He bit and scratched, and was pretty wild. But we loved him.

Towards my 10th christmas, my mom let him out in the morning like we usually did. But when it started to get dark, we called him, and looked for him, but he was gone. We could not find him. I continued the search until next Christmas. By this time I was certain that I would not find him. On Christmas morning, I awoke to the purring of a cat. The seemed to be an indent the size of a cat. It looked as though there had been someone there. I just figured I made it when I was sleeping. For several weeks afterwards it was the same thing.

Ginger had injured his paw in a fight with a dog once. The dogs claws had ripped the bottom of his paw so that he had an almost triangle shaped deep scar in his right paw. One morning, when I was getting ready for school, I was leaving the house and I heard the jingling of his collar. I ran after it.I chased it to Dalhousie forest. When I got to the deep snow, I found red snow. It was the same area where he had fought with the dog. I saw his paw prints in the snow. I heard the jingling. I followed the red, the sound, and the paw prints. I found a fence with little tufts of short fur. The fur was ginger coloured. I called his name. I found more fur and prints and red, but not my cat. I saw a form lying in snow. As I approached, I realised it was a cat. At first I thought it was Ginger, but it was light grey and had several scars and was bleeding. It was breathing so I took out my cellphone and phoned my mom. She came to find me and together we took the cat the the vet. I believe that it was the dog that injured Ginger, that nearly killed that cat. I found long, course, black hairs. The same that the dog that hurt my old cat had.

Even to this day, I sometimes hear the jingle and see the marks in the snow and on my bed. Maybe it was just my imagination, but I truly believe that he still cares about me. We saved him, and in turn he saved another cat. That cat maybe saved another. Maybe, it will continue forever. This endless bond between these cats. I passed on hope to these cats.

I hope that you too will pass on hope to some one.
And maybe, you will find help from some one you helped.

Kami Thomas, Manitoba, Canada
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