Last weekend, I came face-to-face with some true heroes.
These people aren’t world-famous athletes, soldiers, firefighters, or police officers. They’re not on TV doing valorous things. They’re not destined to make history. They’re just ordinary people with a passion and a desire to make a difference.
I was one of about 400 pet bloggers who attended the BlogPaws conference in Washington, D.C. Even with Hurricane Irene looming, we came to learn, to meet new friends, and to reconnect with old ones.
What most of the conferencegoers didn’t know was that amid the excitement and controlled chaos, something amazing was happening: My friend and fellow pet blogger Robin Olson of the Connecticut-based rescue group Kitten Associates was meeting a “transport.”
Three months ago, a Georgia woman named Maria discovered Amberly, a beautiful black cat, and her five kittens in a series of coincidences that turned out to be nothing short of a miracle. Maria worked with Robin to get the babies spayed and arrange for their journey north, where Kitten Associates could place them in foster homes and adopt them out when they were fully weaned.
While we were getting educated and inspired, chatting with our friends, and enjoying great food and drink, Maria and her fellow rescuer, Bobby, were racing up the East Coast, just ahead of Hurricane Irene, to deliver Amberly and her babies into Robin’s care.
At about 5:15 on Friday night, after 10 hours of driving, Bobby and Maria arrived at the hotel. Robin dashed to the lobby to meet them, and several of us who had gotten wind of the cuteness that had just landed in our midst were hot on her heels … and the cooing, petting, and squee-ing commenced.
In the middle of this love-fest, one of us noticed that a kitten’s spay incision was splitting open. Silence fell. Each person holding a kitten took a look at their charge’s furry belly and found out that some of the others were “coming unzipped,” too!
Robin and Sam were already under the gun — Irene was due to hit DC the next morning, and they had to leave immediately if they wanted to avoid getting caught in the storm as they drove back home — and now they had an emergency on their hands.
Fortunately for Robin and the kittens, there were a bunch of veterinarians among the BlogPaws attendees. Unfortunately, none of them were licensed in Virginia, so they couldn’t perform medical procedures. They were, however, able to give advice about first aid. Soon the babies were temporarily fixed up, and Robin and Sam put on their boogie shoes and took off for home.
About six hours later, Robin and Sam landed back at their home just in time to batten down the hatches for Irene’s arrival.
The kittens are making a good recovery, and although most of Robin and Sam’s town is still in the dark as a result of the storm, the couple never lost power at their house. Maybe it’s good karma for their kindness and courage.
A real hero is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things, and in doing so, helps to make the word a better place. By that definition, Robin, Sam, Bobby, and Maria are undoubtedly heroes. They went to incredible lengths and even risked their own safety to make sure a cat and her five kittens escaped death in the high-kill shelters of Georgia and now have a chance to find a loving home.