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Feline Homer - A Genius for Friendship

November 2003

Homer walked up to me and began talking as though he had known me all of his life. Though he was abandoned, there was no distress in his voice, just a conversational tone of "Hi, how are you; how's your day" kind of meow. He was a massively large black and white with the familiar black mask around his eyes and was more white than black. After going back home and retrieving a cat carrier and some food, I returned to Homer's hangout. He immediately greeted me and before I could put the opened can of tuna in the carrier, he leapt inside and sat down as if to say, "I'm ready to go, why are you fussing with that can?"

All of the way to the vet he continued his conversation as though I was able to understand every word he said and once there, sat patiently on table while the vet poked and prodded. Sadly the test results came back: advanced feline leukemia. The vet recommended euthanasia but this gentle giant with a genius for friendship had already captured my heart. It was decided: he would stay with us but separate from our 8 other cats.

Homer immediately took over the garage and several acres on our farm. Each morning a small herd of 10 -15 deer would walk up to the house and Homer would meet them, touching noses with the alpha deer and greeting each of the others in turn. After this morning ritual he would return to my side on the porch where I drank my tea and continue his conversation of meows and trills, maintaining eye contact with those huge aquamarine pools of love and inquisitiveness.

There is no doubt in our family that Homer more than earned his keep. Moles and mice plagued our neighbors but the only trace of these pests at our farm would be their limp cadavers in our yard, neatly placed for our appreciation by the Master Hunter. Reptile parts would alert us that we did indeed have lizards and snakes but they did not reside long in Homer's domain.

Homer had no fear of dogs either. The most hyperactive canine would be greeted with the familiar and casual nose touch and a rub from Homer who would then proceed about his business, the canine often following docilely, as though Homer were a general in his own four legged army.

Two years passed and the feline leukemia finally gained the upper paw. Diabetes onset and kidney failure attacked our Friend. Homer's bright aquamarine eyes remained alert and he fought bravely but in the end was subdued in spite of the IV fluids I administered to him.

Homer's genius for friendship continued long after he was gone. For two months the deer continued coming up to our house, searching and sniffing, looking for their Friend. His dog soldiers searched diligently for their fallen general but eventually stopped after a time. The deer no longer come close to the house but remain at the edge of the woods, looking wistfully our way and the dogs come no more.

Goodbye, Dear Friend Homer, until we meet in God's Garden.

Joyce Laird  

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