Some stories tell themselves. They jump right out of life and slap themselves on the page, and you just have to step back let the story tell itself and then fill in a few details. This is one of those stories.
Recently, I walked into Cuba Animal Control to do some volunteer work, and the shelter administrator Missy Mullally told me that the Animal Control Officer Pam Click was in the Cat Room, working on an adoption for Patches, the young cat that only had vision in one eye. “Wait until you hear their story,” Missy said.
I thought, “Good, Patches is getting adopted.” You never know if a special needs cat will have trouble finding the right home or not. The vet said that Patches had lost her vision in one eye because her eye had been scratched at one time, but there wasn’t any disease.
“There’s a very nice couple back there, and they are adopting Patches for their daughter who only has vision in one eye,” Missy said. I thought, “Whoa, we have a story here.”
I went back to the Cat Room, where I met James and Nicole Bell and their good friend Kelly and her little boy Ry. The Bells had already decided Patches was going to join their family and be a tenth birthday present for their daughter Trinity.
“Trinity is two, but she has wanted a cat for ten years,” her mom told me. She went on to explain that Trinity, who was a born a month early, was a leap year baby born on Feb. 29, which only comes once every four years, so technically Trinity had only had two birthdays, but she was going to be ten years old.
The Animal Control Officer asked if I would take an adoption photo for the shelter’s Facebook page, so I shot a photo of Trinity’s mom and dad and the star-of-the-day Patches.
I told the Bells that they had a great story, and I asked if I could use it for an article in the paper and on the shelter’s Facebook page, and they readily agreed, and we made arrangements to get a photo of Trinity and Patches together and to talk more.
While they were in the office filling out the paperwork for Patches, I stayed in the Cat Room and talked to their friend Kelly and her little boy. She said when she had seen Patches’ photo, she thought that they should name the cat Patches. Then she walked into the room and saw the name Patches on the cage. As I said, sometimes a story just takes over and tells itself.
In a later interview, I found out that Trinity was five years old when they found out that she was going blind. She had been born with the condition, but they just didn’t realize it. Blurry vision had always been Trinity’s normal. When she received her first pair of glasses, it was like a miracle, and she said, “Mommy, you’re so pretty.”
However, over the next two years, Trinity and the Bell family faced many challenges as the doctors did a lot of tests and tried different treatments to regain sight in her right eye and try to protect the sight in her left eye. Finally, after two years, Trinity had had enough, and told the doctors that she though if God was going to allow her to be blind that he must have a reason for it. She said maybe she would have to help someone else go through the same thing one day. Trinity is an old soul for one so young.
“She is completely blind in her right eye, and her vision in her left isn’t the best. But that doesn’t stop her. She is one of the most amazing little ladies you will ever meet. Her faith and spirit kept James and I going when we didn’t think we had anything left,” her mom stated.
Trinity had wanted a cat her entire life, but her parents thought that she needed to be old enough and ready to care for one. They thought at ten she was ready for the responsibility, so they started looking for her birthday cat.
Trinity’s mom called the Rolla Shelter, Saint James, and, finally, Cuba. That’s when Animal Control Officer Pam Click told them about the cats and that one cat only had vision in one eye. “I didn’t need to look anymore, nor did I need to even think about it. I left my home in Rolla within five minutes to go and see Patches. I knew she was the one. It was God that brought these two together,” her mom said.
When Trinity walked into the house after school on her special day, Patches, Patches’ new toys, and everything that she needed were sitting in the living room. Trinity was in complete shock and cried in excitement. “When we told her Patches was blind in one eye, the tears really started to flow, and she said that it was meant to be.”
“Patches fits into our home perfectly, and she is so loved by everyone and loves her new toys. I believe she really loves it here, and she has become a part of our family.” There are five other kids in the Bell family and an older black lab, so Patches will find lots of petting and fun in her new home.
But there is no doubt about who Patches’ new mistress and soul mate is. For Trinity and Patches, it’s a perfect match and what Cuba, MO Animal Control calls a “Happy Tail” on its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/cubamoanimalcontrol).