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The Saga of Charlotte Mrs. Bean

Charlotte Mrs. Bean was one of the most forlorn sights in the shelter.  So obese she had to reside in a bunny cage, she also suffered from a coat so matted it had to be shaved off, an upper respiratory infection, and worst of all, a sadness of spirit that left her facing always away from people, unwilling to eat, unwilling to hope.

When Barbara Bruin mentioned Charlotte’s situation and condition, I told myself that hopping in my car and heading straight to AWD’s west side shelter was just to provide an affirming cuddle session to the poor cat.  These things never go as planned….  Charlotte was, in person (or in cat-person), even more alarming than the description of her various ailments.  I knew that her anorexia put her at high risk for a rapid downhill slide, and I offered to take her home on a foster basis.  As poor as her condition was, and as much reason as she had to just give up, once she was in a quiet room and a private home Charlotte’s true, good spirit started to come through quickly.  She was willing to taste food despite her compromised sense of smell, willing to be loved and to give love.  Her shyness around other animals prevented her, for many months, from venturing out into the greater world of the full household, and the physical limitations she endured because of her obesity caused her great discomfort and frustration for close to a year.

But over much time, as her weight was very gradually reduced (ultimately from 26 lbs down to a healthy 14 lbs) and her ability to groom herself and walk comfortably improved, she found the courage to step out of the guest bedroom and begin laying claim to her home.  She now resides companionably with two big, silly dogs who know that Charlotte Mrs. Bean owns the house, and she spends most of her time dozing contentedly in the patch of sunshine that flows through the laundry room window and onto her bed.  Occasionally this now-almost-15-year-old girl finds her inner kitten and chases dust motes and invisible prey around the kitchen, but generally, she can be found on her high perch, content to know she is home.

When I contemplate what her chances would have been without Barbara’s intervention, I am stricken anew, as I have been so many times, by what a profound difference Barbara has made for shelter pets.

-Marcie Ginn, Albuquerque