Sunday, October 18, 2009

Can One Wrong Make Two Rights?

“When a door closes, two windows open.” ~ Author unknown

Yesterday morning I received a phone call from the owner of the cat that was repossessed by the shelter. After finding out that the agency reserves ownership of the animal, and that the adopting families are merely “foster parents”, they are afraid to run into the same type of heartbreak again at a later time, so they prefer to give up and go elsewhere to adopt.

When I first hung up the phone I was quite irritated. What incentive do people have to adopt animals from rescues if they have to live in fear of seeing their beloved pet being taken away after years of lovingly taking care of it, especially when one can just adopt a pet for free from the newspaper with no strings attached? Who would be willing to pay an adoption fee, be solely responsible for the cost of food and medical care, and at the same time have no rights regarding ownership of the animal? Homes taking in foster children receive financial assistance for providing a safe environment; once they adopt the child the financial incentives stop, but the child is legally theirs.

After the initial irritation, however, I saw the silver lining. The family is now going to adopt two animals from a kill shelter, and thus save two lives. As sad as this episode was for the little girl and her cat, it will have a happy ending for two other cats who might, otherwise, not find another home.

I guess we all could focus on the injustice that took place, but it is certainly more constructive to direct our energy toward the good that will come out of it. It is all too common to notice the darkness of the cloud and ignore its silver lining.

Anything that happens is set in motion by opposing forces, and if we can look at the situation objectively, we can’t find a dynamic negative without its positive twin trailing behind. Painful events often lead to something good and promote a greater awareness.

My heart still breaks for the cat whose world was suddenly turned upside down and felt abandoned by the family he had come to love, all because of a contractual travesty, but deep down I rejoice for the two cats who are now living on borrowed time and will soon discover the joys of snuggling beside a warm fire on a cold winter night.

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