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Mews from home

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I didn’t begin sharing my life with a four-footed pet – I’d kept a succession of assorted fish as a child – until my husband and I bought our home. At that point in our lives he was working nights, I was working days and the time seemed right for a little extra company.

We brought our first cat, Simon, home from what was then Rowley Animal Shelter’s adoption center on a Saturday afternoon. I don’t remember how much it cost us to acquire the black and white cat, but I do know I was a very inexperienced pet parent. My husband left for his evening shift as a restaurant manager, and I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening trying to find Simon – who in what I now know is totally normal cat behavior when introduced to a new place – had retreated to the rafters in our cellar. When my husband arrived home a little after 11 p.m. that night he found me sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor surrounded by cat toys and treats, with a yet-to-be relaxed Simon clutched in my arms.

Our current pet – a laid-back tabby by the name of Carmen-Cocoa – is probably more our son Evan’s cat than ours. He chose her – or I should say she chose him – in one of the adoption rooms at Dakin nearly 14 years ago. Having spent so many years with four-footed companions I can’t imagine living without a pet now. They teach you so much about life ­– from how to deal with different ‘personalities’ and quirks – to just how precious unconditional love can be in times of stress and tragedy. My pets have always known when I needed them – be it someone to sleep on my feet when I’m in bed with a virus to that unexpected head butt and snuggle when we’ve lost family members.

I’ve not yet created a pet disaster plan for Carmen as suggested in this month’s Three Big Queston feature – though we do always keep a few extra cans of food around. And at 15  – or maybe 16, we’re not sure how old she really is – I’m not certain I’ll need the estate planning for her that Gina Barry outlines in her column.

But these are things I may need to consider for our next pet acquisition, which just might be a dog.

We hope to see you next month at Thrive after 55!

Sen. Eric Lesser will be hosting his annual “Thrive After 55” event on June 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Field House at Springfield College, located at 263 Alden St. in Springfield, MA. He expects more than 75 exhibitors, will be raffling off more than 100 prizes, hosting a number of relevant seminars and will provide a boxed lunch for all registered attendees. Prime will be there, and we hope you will stop by and say hello – we love connecting with our readers! Register at SenatorLesser.com/Thrive.

Thanks, as always, for reading,

Debbie Gardner