Monday, January 01, 2018

How is Napoleon?

Tomorrow I go back into The Loop for the first time in two weeks. For the last week or so, it's been frigid here. It's not predicted to get up to bearable until this weekend ... and then it will snow.

I can't stop thinking about the homeless, both human and furry. Specifically, I've got Napoleon on my mind. This cat's humans -- Caleb and Randi -- can't possibly have raised the $450+ it would take to stay indoors for 10 nights at their preferred shelter, which both offers shower facilities and welcomes pets.

So where has Napoleon been? Is he OK? As my own Reynaldo and I battle over his prescription, chicken-flavored cat food (more than $2/can!) I worry about Napoleon. He had on again/off again bouts of diarrhea before I left for my holiday vacation. That could be serious, that could be nothing. I recommended repeatedly that they should take him to see a vet, but I know that the vet who is familiar with both Napoleon and their situation requires a $45 cash payment before he'll see the cat.

I wonder if Napoleon would be better off at the Anti-Cruelty Society. They don't get that many young cats this time of year, and if his health is sound he may be adopted quickly. But what would that do to Caleb and Randi? They love that cat so much. I am haunted by the memory of her, sitting on the sidewalk in the rain with Napoleon in her lap, crying in the chilly night because she was sure he was ill. Caleb has told me that rescuing Napoleon has given their lives meaning. So while I'm sure Napoleon would do well by being put up for adoption, I'm not sure his humans would recover.

Last time I went to church -- Christmas Eve -- I started to cry, thinking about Napoleon and Caleb and Randi. My darling friend, Henry, usually so compassionate, just kind of glazed over when I told him what was wrong. One of my coworkers has made it plain that she doesn't approve of my relationship with them. Either it embarrasses her that I drop to my knees to talk to them on the corner outside our office, or she thinks they are con artists (or maybe both). My oldest friend doesn't want to hear about them, either. I suppose she has so many of her own problems that this is just too much.

And, I guess, there's the fact that I haven't actually helped them in any lasting way. Over the last
six months I've probably spent just over $100 on them. Not enough to make a real impact on their situation. I have learned that they appreciate being spoken to as people, not "homeless people." Caleb loves talking books, Randi loves talking about Napoleon and hearing about my cats. So I suppose my friendship matters. And I did help Caleb get his teenage shoplifting conviction expunged (though it took too long to help him get that job he was counting on).

I don't know what the point of this post is, really. My heart is full and rather heavy and I thought it would help to get it down. If you're still reading, thank you for listening.


  1. I would love to give them hats, mittens, and scarves I've knit. I wish I lived nearby.

  2. Oh Gal, you are a wonderful person. I admire the way you care for this little family and help keep an eye on them. It’s clear that your friendship matters to them and while the window-washing job didn’t work out, next time around it will be a blessing that his teenage record has already been taken care of.

    As far as anyone who says you should treat Caleb and Randi - shame on them! That’s just selfish. The world needs more people who CARE like you do. :)

  3. Oops, that should be “anyone who says you should treat Caleb and Randi differently or says they don’t care about it”