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animal inhabitants & visitors to our gardens



This is Grace - click to see larger picture This is Grace.

We adopted Grace 18 years ago from the Animal Welfare in Chicago Ridge, IL. She was approximately 16 weeks old and had been abused by her previous owners. The scars she still carries of that abuse are a kink in her tail, fear of noises, and a terror of strangers.

Grace has wonderfully soft, long hair, extremely hairy paws, and a heart-shaped pink nose. Her eyes change from silvery gray to a baby blue color. Grace is the lady of our household. She is dainty, clean, and meticulous about grooming herself. She is much more refined and dignified than her two brothers, 3-year old Smoke and 1-year old Bandit.

Even though she fears the outside world, Grace managed to sneak outside one cold January night three years ago. We searched for her all over the neighborhood, went house to house asking if anyone had seen her and made almost daily visits to the Animal Welfare to see if anyone had found her. No luck.

It was a typical Illinois winter, bitterly cold with occasional snow. We were afraid the cold had killed her, but we didn't give up on Grace, we kept searching and looking. After 2 months of Animal Welfare visits, I fell in love with an eight week old kitten and Smoke joined our family, but we still missed Grace, talked about her constantly and kept hoping we'd see her again.

In late March, my daughter-in-law went out into our garage to investigate a noise she thought she had heard. She said, "I think Grace is in the garage, but she's too afraid to come to me." We left the door open which leads from our garage to the family room, and after about a half hour, a white blur streaked in to the house, dashed wildly around the room, meowing loudly.

It was Grace! She ran around the room until she found me, jumped into my lap, and purred louder than I had ever heard her purr. She was filthy! Her beautiful hair had mats and snarls in it the size of potatoes. Someone had tried to remove those snarls because Grace had shaved patches all over her little body. She had lost some weight, but a vet visit proved she was otherwise healthy. We assume that Grace had been a guest, at least part-time, in someone's home, but we never did find out whose.

Grace's 12 week winter vacation is one of our favorite stories about her. We tease that she was so scared to be outside that she got lost in the back yard. She hasn't taken another vacation since that first one, refuses to be taken out of the house, even for vet visits, and has become very affectionate and clingy.

Grace is sitting in front of me, partially on my keyboard as I write this. She approves.

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