Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Fate of a Particular Kitten

                                            Vern Graham paddling on the Slippery Rock that fateful day

Last week I made a series of decisions that led to my finding an injured Baltimore Oriole and an attempt to save him. Update: he was too badly injured to be able to save, so he had to be euthanized. He went peacefully, not violently under the wheels of a vehicle on the highway. We tried, and unfortunately that's not enough. But that doesn't mean I wouldn't do the same under similar circumstances. Yesterday, some decisions were made that led to a happier ending.

This weekend I attended the Western Pennsylvania Solo Canoe Rendezvous at Cooper's Lake near McConnell's Mill State Park. Manon and I planned to stay at the lake for some of the paddling classes that were offered that morning. Several whitewater paddlers went to nearby Slippery Rock Creek to paddle in the gorge's challenging Mile; Manon, Rich and I decided instead to go there to walk the trail alongside the creek to take photos of the action.

Rich dropped Manon and me at the Mill by the old dam. As he began to back out, Manon scooped up a little gray kitten that was about to run under the car. There are no houses near the Mill and the obvious conclusion was that the kitten was dumped in the park. We pondered what we might do with the kitten--both Manon and I are animal lovers and couldn't just leave the little fellow there to try to fend for himself. 

A young couple en route to a visit in Ohio decided to stop for a visit in the park and were walking their dog. They were the only other people around. When they drew close, the young lady ran over to Manon with the glee of a child in a candy shop to see the kitten. We told them the story of finding little "Miller," as I called him in my mind (after McConnell's Mill). She asked to hold the kitten, then look appealingly at her husband who shook his head, no. A few minutes later, after many more oohs and ahs and cuddles, she looked at her husband again. He made a decision: he smiled and said yes. We talked to them for about 15 minutes, and going on the instinct of our many years with animals and people interactions, we let them have the kitten. 

Here was another series of decisions that led to a unique experience, and a happy ending.

              The kitten with his new mama and Manon                       Manon at McConnell's Mill

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