Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
Charleston, SC … and ….
Shadow loved exploring our new home in Charleston, SC. exploring the closets and jumping on top of the refrigerator. She liked to go out on the screened balcony and look down from the third floor at neighbors. She continued to climb “her” ladder, which I kept in the living room and she also continued to get into a closet and bring me a pair of socks.
The socks (sailboats) had become hers, as they had little bite marks on them. It had become a game, she would bring the socks out each evening and I would put them back later in the evening. And, she still loved to drink from her glass … so, I think that Shadow adjusted quite well to her new home.
Shadow also liked being on a window sill, or being on the screened balcony, looking down at the world.
However, like me, I think that Shadow was not a fan of the heat. One summer day she went out on the screened balcony and immediately came back to the air conditioned living room. She looked at me as if to say “why would anyone go outside in that heat?”
While Shadow was adjusting to her new home, I was adjusting to a new job and environment. It was during the financial crisis and I was not able to sell my condo in the Pacific Northwest. After more than a year (of paying a mortgage in the Northwest plus rent in Charleston), I started to seek a transfer back to the west coast. And, I was able to get a transfer.
After two years in Charleston, I told Shadow “I need your navigating skills again. We are going home to Washington.” Was it my imagination or was she happy. She would once again be able to stay by the patio door, watch the squirrels and birds and come outside with me when I watered the plants. And there would not be the oppressive heat which kept her indoors in the summer months.
Making preparations to return west was much easier than our trip to Charleston. The vet in Charleston said that she did not recommend tranquilizers for cats due to their small size.
Shadow, now an expert, helped with the packing and once again, I packed up my focus.
As an aside, driving to SC, Shadow & I had passed through the Great Smokey Mountain area which I thought was very beautiful. The following year, I went back to the area on vacation. Traveling with Shadow I passed places that I knew I wanted to return to… traveling with Shadow I could not stop and sight-see.
If I had been able to travel back to the west coast during the summer, I would have taken a more northerly route (I wanted to see Mt Rushmore and knew that I could get off of the Interstate and see it from a local highway). However, as we left in late September, Shadow and I basically took the same route going home. Yes, that was the only drawback … I could not do any sightseeing. But that did not matter. I made mental notes of places to return to …
We left on a Saturday morning and as before, we would leave early each day and get to the hotel in the afternoon. Shadow still meowed when we left each morning, she listened to cd’s and was the very best navigator. She only meowed when I was driving through a city and there was a lot of traffic or diversions due to constructions.. LOL – she would sense my nervousness.
In Boise, on the tv, they spoke about fires in the Pacific NW and I called a neighbor who suggested that I take a longer route (via The Dalles and Portland) to come home. If I had been by myself, I would have done the trip in a day, but I did not want Shadow to spend that long in the carrying case. We stopped at The Dalles, on the Columbia River which was another area that I revisited a few years later.
It was wonderful to be home. Shadow and I again slept in sleeping bags until our furniture would be delivered. It was fun watching her, as she was immediately at home, watching the squirrels and birds.
There is one more chapter to write about and it is one of the main reasons why she became so very special …
To be continued …
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