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Orphaned Annie

Amy Hodge

© Copyright 1999 by Amy Hodge

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Orphaned Annie is fiction, but what Annie goes though is sadly true for many cats. I wrote this story in the hope that I could give a voice to the many suffering cats out there. Even though Annie’s story has a happy ending many, unfortunately, do not.

I pulled into the parking lot of the animal clinic that morning twenty minutes later than I should have. I had overslept only ten minutes, but I stumbled through my morning routine, causing myself to be another ten minutes late to work.

I rushed into the clinic. It was already a-buzz with activity. I stopped at the front desk to see if I had any new animals to tend that morning.

“Hey Margie, anybody new in the kennels this morning?” I asked.

“Um, I’m not sure, Summer. Let me go check," she answered as she scurried off. Margie is one of my best friends at the clinic. She got her job just a few days before me, so we were both still learning the ropes. We did a lot of complaining together. We both disliked the head secretary who was instructing us on how to be “nice front desk ladies.” But then I was transferred to the kennel area, where I now have the morning shift. I have to clean out the dog's cages, the cat's litter boxes, and feed and water all the animals.

“Summer, you have an abandoned cat that was left here this morning and a dog here for shots. He’ll be picked up sometime this afternoon and that’s it. You know you’re late? Right?” Margie asked nonchalantly.

“Yeah, I couldn’t wake up this morning. Don’t mention it to anyone and they’ll never notice.” At least I hoped they wouldn’t. I didn’t feel like being yelled at this morning.

I headed back to the kennel to take care of all the animals. As I entered the back room the dogs started to bark wildly. They all wanted to be fed. I quickly poured the dry dog food into every bowl. I took a look at the new dog that I was to take care of this morning. He was a cute black lab and he seemed to have recovered from all his shots and was happy to be fed.

I then headed for the cats. I first took a look at the cat that had been left at the clinic doorstep that morning. Her emaciated body lay there almost lifeless. She was an orange tabby. She would have been beautiful but her body had been so neglected that it was painful to look at her. My heart went out to her; she looked so helpless and unhappy. She glanced up as I put the food into her dish, and that seemed to take all her strength. I didn’t know how she was going to eat. I had to feed the rest of the cats, but I knew I had to check on her before I finished up.

After the dog's cages had been cleaned out, I went to change the cats litter boxes and check on the little orange cat. She was still lying where I had left her and she hadn’t touched her food. I went to ask the head vet what he wanted me to do with her because I knew she had to eat. I returned armed with a syringe and a can of wet cat food. I then began to feed the orange cat, which I soon nicknamed Annie, for Orphan Annie.

She soon started to regain her strength and her personality began to shine through. She was sweet and loving, always yearning for attention, since she had been deprived of love in her last home. I came to love her, almost as if she were my own. Every day when I headed back to the kennels she greeted me with a friendly meow, and I made sure that i spent a little time with her every day.

Soon she was completely back to health and she was put into one of the adoption cages out in the waiting room of the clinic. I knew it wouldn’t be long before she was gone. Even though I wanted to, I knew I couldn’t take her home for myself. My house already held two dogs and three cats and my budget was stretched to the limit.

One day while Annie was in one of the cages out in the waiting room and I was working up at the front desk bacause staff was short a young, brown-haired lady walked through the door.

“May I help you?” I asked politely.

“Yes, I heard about a cat you had up for adoption? An orange one?” She replied.

“Um, yes. Are looking into adopting her?” I asked, not too happy that Annie might have to leave.

“ Not for me, but for the nursing home, Starlight Hill. It’s not far from here. Well, we’re looking for a cat for out mental health program. We need a cat that has a good disposition and loves people. A friend of mine said she saw a beautiful sweet cat here when she came to pick up her dog. It was an orange one,” the woman said, talking very quickly.

“ Yes, that would be Annie. She’s a real sweetie," I said as we walked toward the cages. “Would you like to hold her?” I liked the idea of Annie making many peoples lives better. She would be the perfect cat to do it. She had so much love to give.

“Sure, she really is a beautiful cat,” the woman commented softly. “Oh, by the way, I’m Sharon.” Annie was snuggled in the cradle of her arms, purring loudly. I knew sending Annie to the nursing home would be good for her, as well as for the residents of Starlight Hill.

All of the staff and residents rave about how wonderful Annie is. They say she is sweetest thing, and they all love her very much.

I go visit Annie every now and then and I’m sure she remembers me. When I walk into the “Pet Room” where she is kept she jogs right up to me with a friendly meow and I scoop her into my arms and we snuggle a bit and I give her treats.

I know she loves me just as much as I love her. And I'm glad she is happy in her new home.

Amy is fourteen years old and has loved animals and writing for as long as she can remember. She lives in Florida, where she was born. Amy has four cats, one dog, two fish, and one horse. She loves them all very much.

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