A few years ago, one of my facebook friends shared a page about "Joey the Garden Cat" from Little Rock, Arkansas. At the time, Joey had been diagnosed with bone cancer and was going through surgery and recuperation. At first, I was a little amused in that "Oh, how sweet, it's a little cat" kind of way. You know, when you see something cute and immediately dismiss it or forget about it? But as I read Joey's story, from his and his mama/agent's point of view and I looked through the pictures she posted, I became intrigued. See, I learned that Joey was no ordinary little cat.
Joey was a local celebrity in Little Rock. He lived in the KTHV television station and was often an announced guest on the news shows. It was not unusual to see Joey stroll across a set as if he were on the crew, hop up on the interview couch looking for some attention, or even be perched on the news desk as the day's news was shared. Joey was pretty famous, too. Local artists created paintings with his likenesses for animal rescue charities. His face was the subject of mugs and t-shirts. And he definitely had more followers on his facebook page than anyone I know or follow. Joey was famous!
Did you notice that I used the word rescue in his charities? See, Joey was a rescue in an unusual sort of way. Joey followed another rescue cat to the tv station one day. Larry, the Garden Cat had been befriended and eventually adopted by a couple of KTHV staff members. They saw an animal in need and did the right thing. So, first there was Larry, the Garden Cat. Larry seemed to have a pretty nice life with the studio and was obviously well-loved by many. He also had his own fan base. So, one day, Larry brings a young little friend to the Weather Garden. The little guy is gray, black and white, thin, skittish, but loves hanging with Larry. Larry keeps bringing him home for meals and eventually some care. The little guy becomes "Joey" and a new friend joins the KTHV family. Larry stayed an outside cat, living in the studio weather garden, and was known to come and go. And one day, he didn't come back. After a search, his remains were found near the studio. No one knows what happened to Larry, but his death did not look like foul play. An then there was just Joey.
Reading and following Joey's story each day gave me some interesting insight to the KTHV family and what they were willing to do for the little cat. When he was recuperating from his cancer surgery, he had visitors from the staff. News anchors, guests, and others regularly went by to check on the little guy. He seemed fond of lovely ladies, but he did have a special relationship with one anchor, Tom Brannon. And every day, I read the updates and pictures posted by Joey or his mama/agent. One day, while searching my facebook page for the Joey report, Bosco asked me what I was reading. I had to come clean, I was following the progress of a young cat fighting cancer. You might find it ridiculous, but I found myself praying for him, too. See, I believe cancer hurts everyone it touches, even a cat who lives 27 hours from me.
Joey recovered and time passed. Joey's daily activities and life found itself posted regularly on facebook. People posted rescue stories around Little Rock and the state and you could see that Joey's page was helping animals find good homes and/or care. Recently, he had a health scare, but he seemed to be doing well. Then, I read that Joey had passed away. His mama/agent was on a well deserved vacation and he was being taken care of and surely spoiled by KTHV staff members when he became ill. Joey did not recover, this time. As I read it, I felt so sad for his mama/agent, Theba Lolley, who was not there with him when he crossed over. I felt so sorry for people I have never and probably never will meet, who shared their love and care for a little cat.
I've always heard that we should do our best to make our "mark" so that it helps ourselves and others. It's funny how a little stray cat in Little Rock made such a huge effect on the lives of so many people. Just think how much of an effect our lives could be. Starting with mine.
Read about the KTHV Garden Cats:
Larry's story: http://host-220.127.116.11.gannett.com/news/article/63228/267/Larrys-Story?fb_locale=zh_TW
Joey's story: http://archive.thv11.com/news/article/63229/267/Joeys-Story