Thursday, August 5, 2021

The Day My Life Changed

 

Adopting a cat is not generally considered to be a life-altering event. Fifteen years ago today I drove down to Springfield MA to pick up a feral rescue kitten and bring her to live with me.

Millie had been living in New Haven CT as a feral kitty when she was hit by a car and left for dead in the middle of a busy street. One of her back legs had been broken in two places and dislocated at the hip. A passerby rescued her and brought her to a nearby animal hospital. Then he wrote about her on his blog, because she needed expensive surgery ($3,000 at the time) to put a pin in her leg. The Animal Hospital would help because he was a good samaritan, and the surgeon would donate his fees, but there were some costs that they couldn't make go away. The final cost would be about $1,000. He asked cat lovers if they could help foot the bill. He put pictures of the X-rays and the invoice on his blog to show this was all real. 

Cat lovers around the world did not let him down. Within three days, he had collected enough money to pay the big bill. He had a contest to find a name for the little kit. MILLIE, from "mil" the Spanish word for thousand, won by a landslide. Millie was an internet sensation for the next seven weeks as the word of Millie's story spread all over the world. Finally, she needed a home.

I had heard about the story on the second day, read everything I could find, and then donated twenty bucks to the guy who was doing a good thing. I had voted for the name MILLIE. But I had two cats of my own. I hoped she'd find a good home.

My mother often says that "Timing is everything in life." So it was, that a week before Millie found her forever home I brought my two (elderly) cats to the vet for their annual checkups. Gizzy was fine, but Jasmine had a tumor in her eye. As she had already had a cancerous tumor removed a few years prior, this was the end of the road for her. My sister told my not to wait until the end. "Adopt another cat!" was her advice. "Well, that cat in Connecticut is available..."

A few days later I had made arrangement with the owner to pick up Millie and bring her home. I also agreed to do the unthinkable - start a cat blog for Millie so her vast network of followers could see how she was doing. I figured I'd do it for a couple of weeks, just about as long as it would take for the novelty to wear off and everyone to lose interest, and then I could go back to my normal life.

Famous. Last. Words. 

"Millie" posted on her blog regularly for twelve years, then she semi-retired. I started this blog in 2008 and have been going ever since.

Because of Millie I met Tracey and Monty Q, and later, Violette.


Because of Millie I got back into making quilts. I started making free pieced letters, and I started this blog.

I met Julie and Chris, online AND in Real Life!

Because of Millie I met Megan, from Sydney Australia!

Because of Millie I spoke to a group of quilters at Quintessential Quilts 2013 in St Louis, MO, and got to see something I had always wanted to see - The Gateway Arch!

Because of Millie I have had quilts exhibited in many AQS shows all over the US. I've met hundreds of quilters, taught dozens of students, and met so many readers through this blog.


 Darling Millie, whose life really started the day she almost died, changed mine forever.

If it wasn't for Millie, NONE of this would have happened. She's now fifteen, and while she still doesn't come when I call her, she won't sleep next to me at night, she still won't let me pick her up, she does nap beside me when I sit on the couch and write my blogs (or tutorials, or whatever). She lets me know when it's time for treats, and when I need to sit down and chill. SOMETIMES, she even sits on my lap.

If you've seen my quilts on exhibit, if you were a student in my classes, if you have bought one of my tutorials, if you have read this blog once or every single time, you can thank Millie. I know I do, every day.

At fifteen, I know she is aging, and I won't have her forever. Every day with her is a gift, but what she has brought to me, what she has helped me to do, is the real gift.

If you had told me fifteen years ago that adopting a feral cat would change the trajectory of my life I would have laughed in your face.

Yeah, you couldn't make this up!!!


 






26 comments:

Megan said...

Never tire of hearing this story!

Megan
Sydney, Australia
(a long-distance fan, who was holidaying in Michigan and arranged to hop over to New Hampshire to visit Millie. Our friends in Michigan thought that that was a very long way to go to visit a cat. You can imagine what our friends in Sydney thought!)

Nancy J said...

Darling Millie, after that start with such injuries, you surely deserved the best home with the most love, and you have it in Millions. Yes, lives can change in a flash, and a cat in a home, makes it a real home. Save this story, Lyn, with your photos, it also deserves a place forever.

suzanne, dutchess county NY said...

Friend in need is truly a friend INDEED!

Cherie in St Louis said...

Because of Millie, we have family words we use regularly, the hot-as-hell-box, rug sucking monster and the rain box. And we’ve enjoyed years of both Millie and Millie’s Mom’s blog….Like a ripple in a pond, Lynne, not only has your life changed but Millie has enriched others too.

Linda Swanekamp said...

Real life is always more interesting than fiction. I love this story and all the wonderful people that wove together. My life has been enriched by quilters met in blogsphere. Thank you for writing and sharing. Toss a treat to Millie.

stitchinpenny said...

So happy you accepted this gift of love. She opened you world to things both wonderful and a little more scary than you were willing venture toward without her loving support. Your wonderful abilities have touched the world. Your creativity is boundless but you seem to find new things and learn much by little changes. You set an example to not settle for those with a level of ability a step above. Thanks Millie for sharing Lynne with us.

Just Ducky said...

Happy Gotcha Day to Millie and Mom! Glad to know you!

Ann said...

Happpy days since you met Millie. We are all the better for it.

Quiltdivajulie said...

This has to be my favorite Gotcha Day post ever . . . Thank you Millie for the joy you've brought into all of our lives! And THANK YOU Lynne for sharing your gifts and talents (including cat blogging) with your blog readers, students, friends, family, and co-workers.

Shasta Matova said...

That is a great story. I too am grateful to Millie. Happy Gotcha Day (that's a new term for me so I just had to use it).

JustGail said...

Somehow I missed the whole back story in the time I've been reading your blog! Very cool that the two of you found each other, and got you into quilting. And Millie into mouse patrol and quilt inspection.

Pat said...

Happy Gotcha Day, Millie.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

This is a wonderful anniversary for you two! Enjoy every moment with your precious Millie; she's a rock star to all of your readers!

Ruth said...

Amazing back story! I had no idea I was caught in the ripples/web of Millie's influence when I leaped from your blog to Millie's blog to Just Ducky's blog and enjoyed doing the puzzles online there. My husband and I have truly enjoyed watching your diamond and zebra quilt creations. Thank you so much for doing so much!

Corrine and Eric said...

That is such a great story! Truth is stranger than fiction.!

Shepherdess55 said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It must have been kismet that Millie came into your life.

Robby said...

What a great story, that I somehow never knew. Congratulations to you and Millie both. May the collaboration continue.

Sewgirl said...

Happy Birthday to Millie. I hope she gets to use all her 9 lives!

Ioleen said...

Wonderful that you and Millie found each other.

Cheryl said...

Happy gotcha day! I love hearing her story, it's beautiful.

rondiquilts said...

Beautiful! Best piece I'll read all day.
Grateful for you and Millie.
Rondi / rondiquilts@yahoo.com

QuiltGranma said...

Brought moisture to my eyes! We too have a former feral kitty, now 1 year old. We too have moments together but they do not last long. Thank you Millie for your generous support of quilt making!

Poppy Q said...

It is a great story and we love that bringing Miss Millie into your home has opened up your world and bought you so many friends. Happy Gotcha Day Millie.

Love
Julie and poppyq
Xxx

Sylvia said...

Beautiful story and truly beautiful life. Yes, anadopted animal can certainly do that!

Mary C. said...

I've never seen your blog or heard about Millie, until today. I had a feral kitten too who didn't sit on laps or sleep in my bed or any of those things, either. Not until all the other cats and dogs had passed away, anyway. Then Mitzi became a different cat, she enjoyed sitting on my lap and cuddling. I think her favorite thing was waking me up to feed her, though. She would stand on the pillow, next to my face and just softly breathe on my eyes. It's a strange feeling, but I was always smiling when it was her face that I saw, first thing in the morning. She lived for 21 years and died of old age, in my arms. I couldn't wish for a sweeter cat than that, even if it did take 15 years to get there. There's hope for Millie, yet! Happy Gotcha Day to you both!

Thumper said...

My life is filled with *a lot* of "because of Max..." The cats have done some pretty awesome things for us. I vividly remember how Millie was found and how she came into your life--I've lost track of Malcolm, but I'll never forget the lengths he went to help her. I'm still grateful you're the one to give her a forever home, because who knows what might be if someone else had claimed her???

Happy Gotcha Day...and realizing how long it's been make me feel really old LOL