Image of Bartlett by Fransi Weinstein
It was a Friday afternoon 15 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting at my desk doing whatever it is creative directors do and an email popped into my inbox. It was from a friend, asking for my help. But it was the photo that got my attention.
This tiny, and I mean could-fit-in-the-palm-of-my-hand tiny, dark grey and white creature with huge ears and cartoon-like markings on its little face was staring at me. I could feel my heart start to melt but I had no idea just what a puddle I'd become.
That didn't start to happen until I was able to drag my eyes away from the picture and read the rest of the email.
Turns out this wee fur baby, and two siblings, were found in a dumpster -- yes a dumpster -- by a very kind soul. The very kind soul couldn't take them home because he had a child with asthma, so he took them to the furniture factory where he worked. He fed them, cared for them, even made soft pillows for them to lay on, until they started to grow and he knew he had to find good homes for them.
By the way I still get the chills when I think of what might have happened to them, if not for him.
What I don't remember is how my friend got involved, how this man came to meet her or talk to her, not that it matters. All I know is, three pussycats ended up in her basement and she was calling and emailing everyone she knew in the hopes of getting them adopted -- and adopted fast because she already had four cats of her own.
Which, as you've guessed, is where I came in.
I started emailing and calling frantically too. And just as I was starting to give up another friend emailed me back. A colleague of hers wanted a cat, she wanted a pure white one, but Friend #2 was convinced that one look at this teeny, tiny pussycat would do her in and she'd be a goner.
In the meantime Friend #1 was getting desperate. She had managed to find homes for two of them, but she had to hang on to them for the weekend. She was sending me emails in five-minute intervals, essentially insisting I come for the third and keep him (yes he was the one in the photo she'd sent me) until his new mother picked him up. I reminded her that I already had two cats and we still didn't know if this woman was going to take him, but she was beyond listening to reason. I couldn't really blame her, to be honest.
So I snuck out of work early and made my way to her house. As I walked down the basement stairs I heard some mewling. And then I saw one bold kitten make its way over to me, staring at me with those "you-know-you-want-me" eyes.
The next one to whimper was me and the next thing I knew he was in my arms and licking my chin. My friend started to laugh and said, with a smug look on her face, "He's not going anywhere, is he?"
He is now the size of an adult raccoon. His name is Bartlett, because he looks like he's wearing a white shirt and grey flannel pants and I decided he needed a name that was CEOish. Also, I lived on a street called Pears. I've got stories galore about him like, for example, why a friend of mine once nicknamed him Satan.
But those are for another day. Stay tuned.
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