I happened to be at York Adopt a Pet when a woman carried in a large cat wrapped in a towel.

Deb Sanders was working the desk and immediately put the cat into a kennel before getting the information she needed for our records. The lady said that the cat was at her house the night before and she had not seen it in her neighborhood before. She took the cat in her house for the night but she said she couldn’t keep it.

Deb posted “Tabitha” in the Fillmore & York County Lost & Found pet Facebook pages. As our bylaws states for York Adopt a Pet, if a dog or cat have not been claimed within three days or 72 hours the animal becomes the property of YAAP. We always want an animal to be claimed by their owners but realistically if we didn’t have a time limit for claiming, the animal would not have the chance to be adopted into a loving and responsible home. Deb checked for a microchip and she had one! The microchip company was contacted and Deb was told the chip was registered to Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha. NHS was then contacted and we were given a couple of phone numbers for the person that had adopted her. The first number had been disconnected but Deb was able to leave a voice mail on the second number. Within 30 minutes Deb received a call back from Ann Levins. She told Deb she had adopted Tabitha (that was the name they had given her when she was a kitten in 2004). She was a cherished family pet especially to her daughter Rachel. Unfortunately, in 2009 she was in the middle of a divorce, her kids had left for college and she had to move to a smaller home. Tabitha and her dog did not get along and without her kids to help she felt she had to rehome Tabitha. She told Deb that she had regretted her decision every day since. Ann did not remember who took Tabitha but within 30 minutes she called back and had researched and found the name of the person that had taken Tabitha. She kept in contact with the woman receiving photos of Tabitha and indicated she was doing great. In time the communication stopped and Ann had no idea if the woman from Omaha still had her. She tried to get in touch with her work e-mail but the e-mail was returned.

After their first conversation Ann wanted to come immediately to pick up Tabitha and take her home even if it was to be only a short time before being claimed. Deb explained our policy about holding animals for three days and if no one claimed her before Sunday afternoon she could come and take her home.

Ann kept in touch by phone and text message, and Rachel’s husband emailed Deb assuring her that they wanted to come as soon as possible to take Tabitha home.

Fast forward to Sunday and I will let Deb tell you in her words this truly marvelous story:

Ann and I made arrangements to meet at the shelter at 1 p.m. that afternoon. Because of Tabitha’s size we put her in one of the large kennels in the lobby so when they walked in the door Rachel walked straight to her kennel. I know this is hard to believe but I truly believe that Tabitha knew Rachel. When Rachel opened the kennel door and went to pet her, Tabitha lowered her head to touch Rachel’s hand and snuggled right into her. I think Ann had tears and I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed. It was very obvious that this cat had been much loved. Ann showed me lots of photos she had and how guilty she had felt about finding her a new home. They could not believe how big she was and Rachel and already bought weight control food for her after seeing the photos I had sent Ann. Rachel and Danny had recently gotten an 8-month old kitten from Danny’s sister and they were a little concerned about the two cats getting along but I told them I didn’t think it would be a problem as long as they took the introduction slow.

Rachel and Ann both told me they had watched the movie “Homeward Bound” several times and they felt this was their Homeward Found Story. I didn’t charge them an adoption fee but Ann left a $50 donation. I have heard from Ann and she said “Tabitha is doing great, used the litter box many times, is content and loves getting brushed! Misty the kitten isn’t too thrilled but Tabitha is just chilln’!”

This is truly a special event. Where had Tabitha been after all of these years? She was in Omaha for a while but how she ended up some 15 years later in our area we will never know. We only know that without York Adopt a Pet and the diligent work done by Deb, this wouldn’t be the happy ending that you are reading today.

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