By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Saturday was a special day for quite a number of people around the Rio Grande Valley. At animal shelters not only across the Valley, but nationwide, Saturday marked the annual “Clear the Shelter” animal adoption drive — an attempt to find homes for as many pets as possible.
Our very own Isabel Y. Garcia Animal Shelter in Port Isabel participated in the adoption event, offering its cats and dogs to loving families free of charge. About two dozen animals found their ‘furever’ homes, staff at the Shelter told me earlier this week.
Another shelter that participated in the event was the Palm Valley Animal Shelter, which services most of Hidalgo County. The shelter held its adoption drive at its new no-kill facility, the Paws Center, just north of Edinburg. A total of 226 dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals were adopted during the day-long event.
And that’s where you would have found me, as well, ready to adopt my cat Enzo.
Enzo is a cuddly grey and white tabby that I’ve been fostering since late last year. When I first brought him home he was a skinny and clingy kitten trying to get over a respiratory infection that made his breathing ragged, as well as intestinal parasites that sapped his energy.
He didn’t seem to mind the twice daily doses of liquid antibiotics I had to administer to him, as he was always willing to cuddle in my lap afterwards. He’s remained close by my side ever since. While I’m at home he’s never more than an arm’s length away.
When the staff at Palm Valley called to ask if I’d like to adopt him I jumped at the chance, happily telling the woman on the phone how important the little fuzz ball has become in my life. That’s how I found myself at the Paws Center this past weekend among a throng of smiling people happy to be taking home a new companion of their own.
I sat down for a few minutes with an adoption counselor, making sure all the I’s were dotted and T’s were crossed. With my signature on a piece of paper, Enzo was officially mine. Finally! I giddily showed the counselor photos of him that I have on my phone as she and another staff member ooh’ed and ah’ed appreciatively. As I walked out of the facility carrying an adoption ‘starter kit’ with the shelter’s logo on it, a man smiled and said, “Congratulations!” I beamed.
And it all started months ago. I didn’t choose him, either; he chose me, quite literally. In an open floor playroom at the shelter that’s filled with cat trees and toys, several people meandered around looking at the cats and kittens playing inside. I sat on a stool in a corner just looking around when Enzo trotted up to me, winding himself around my ankles. He ignored everyone else.
After the adoption Saturday, I stopped to visit my parents and showed them Enzo’s paperwork, complete with photos of him as a kitten. Mom joked about her new grandbaby while dad looked at the photos in his adoption file. Pets may not be people, but they most definitely are family, and I was ecstatic to welcome this little fur ball into mine.
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