The memorial on the trail meant something to her. It was more than coincidence: It was a sign of happiness and peace to come...
Ann had just returned home from a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains when she learned a neighbor was missing her cat, Leo. “Leo, for the record,” Ann explained, “is the kind of cat that has to grow on you. In his short lifetime, he dodged some headed-straight-for-the-shelter bullets on the cat rescue circuit; let’s just say he wasn't always voted Mr. Congeniality.”
Still, the family loved the irritable cat. They feared he’d been attacked by a coyote.
Ann immediately thought about the trailside memorial she and her friend had seen while hiking. “A cross made of sticks supporting a photo of someone's beloved cat. The kitty's favorite toys were laid out in memoriam, along with some fresh flowers, a paperweight rock picturing a curled-up cat... Then we spotted it: Hanging on one end of the cross was a carved wooden fish ornament carved with the words Culebra, P.R.”
That meant something to Ann and her friend. More than 20 years earlier, the two of them had taken a life-changing trip to Culebra, Puerto Rico. “A magical few days spent hitching rides to the beach and back, eating the fresh fish that we watched being caught, encountering few other souls but finding each one memorably interesting,” Ann wrote. She described the theme of that trip as “relying on the kindness of strangers.”
The two women marveled at the odd coincidence, finding this wooden fish souvenir so far from the place of their memories. What did it mean?
Now hearing about her neighbor’s missing cat, Ann attempted to interpret her earlier experience. Was it a sign Leo was dead? It couldn’t be. Culebra, P.R. It was such a peaceful, happy place. A life-changing one. “Leo will come home,” she told her friend. She was sure of it. Wherever he was, he was somewhere peaceful and happy. She said that to her friend and it seemed to calm the woman’s fears.
Sure enough, that night Leo did return. But he was different. “The cat, who until now has shunned most attempts to touch him, spent the night being cuddled,” Ann wrote. “He allowed everyone in the family to pet him, bit no one, and slept on the bed... In the morning, he did that rub-up-against-your-leg thing that cats happy to be alive do.”
Happy. At peace. Like Culebra. Perhaps, Ann joked, Leo had taken a trip there. Or perhaps he’d been touched by the kindness of a certain stranger—one who knows where the lost things are, and how to bring them back to us.
Do you have a story about a lost pet that was found through extraordinary means? Or about a miraculous sign that you only were able to fully understand much later? Send your story to us! We love to read them, and we love to share them too.