• Kadiri Praveen Kumar

A Paws for Pets

(Roth, 2019)

These are just a few of the pronouns to describe Gail Nordlund and her sister Judi Nordlund.

Everyone knows that they made a dream come true for the citizens of York and the surrounding county and towns, by their compassion dedication and persistence to the animals in need of our area.

It is because of their compassion that thousands of animals have benefited by their dedication in that we have the organization of York Adopt a Pet and a beautiful and functional building. Their persistence behind the scenes has changed the lives of so many animals as well as helping to educate the public of the plight of the needs for stray, abandoned and injured dogs and cats.

One example is a 12-year effort of compassion, dedication and persistence for “Mean Cat.” Gail started to feed the black mother of Mean Cat approximately 12 years ago. They lived under a vacant house across the street from Gail when she lived on Academy Avenue. She had to go across the street to feed them on the porch of the vacant house because they would not come near her or her house.

One morning as she came out with their food, she found the black mother cat on her front porch. She could tell something was dreadfully wrong with her. She just looked at her and allowed her to reach down and wrap her in a towel. I am sure she knew that even though she was a feral cat, she knew that this human would help her in her greatest need. Gail took her to the vet and they confirmed her thoughts that she was dying and she had them give her the peace she deserved after a lifetime of living on the streets.

Gail continued to go across the street to feed Mean Cat (the baby of the deceased cat), but if she was a little late he would come into her yard, jump up on her bird bath and stare at her through her window until she came out with his food.

They never became friends. Mean Cat would hiss each and every time she came near him and she was never able to touch him, but he was there every morning waiting for his food. On one of her trips across the street, she slipped on the ice and broke her kneecap. This made it a little hard to climb the steps with her leg brace on, but she did. Curtailed at the beginning, sister Judi filled in until she was able to return to her daily feeding routine.

This continued until she was ready to move into her new home across town. She tried unsuccessfully to trap him, but he was too smart and soon avoided the trap all together no matter how hungry he was. Thus began her early morning trips back to the old neighborhood because she knew he would be there waiting for her.

She thought she had lost him this past winter when we had storms and an abundance of snow. There was no sign of him for almost a month. She left the food and it would still be there the next morning, frozen, when she left a new dish of food. Then one cold morning she turned the corner of the house and could not believe her eyes. There he was hissing at her as she approached the porch.

You would think maybe he would greet her with some sort of fondness or appreciation at least, but he continued hissing at her, all the while giving her a glare. She actually finds it kind of amusing.

Her sister, Judi, feeds him when she needs a break, and she named him Spook. All the feral cats that Gail has fed over the years are just “kitty” or she refers to them by their color. She says she has no special feelings for Mean Cat, she just doesn’t want him to go hungry. She said he is losing weight which is not a good sign because he eats a full can of wet food and all of the kibbles that he wants every day, with fresh water nearby. She just hopes that should he get very ill that he will do what his mother “Black Cat” did -- let her cradle him in her arms and give him a dignified end to the struggling life of a feral cat.

Mean Cat will never change his ways. He was never nice to another feral cat, Kitt, that Gail tamed and brought into her family. But as long as Mean Cat shows up, Gail will continue to keep up her 12-year relationship with him. That is persistence.

No one, probably including Gail, will remember all of the compassion, dedicated and persistence she has shown to all dogs, cats, birds and wildlife that have crossed her path in her life of rescue. I just know that she and her sister, Judi, have made a positive legacy in their efforts to be compassionate, dedicated and with persistence toward all animals. They have been the voice for all those with no voice.

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