I fell in love with Andy Bartholomew the first moment I met him back in January 2008. Danielle lifted the back door of the Best Friends Across America truck in the Petsmart parking lot in Phoenix and there he was. Andy meowed hello to everyone and poked his paw through the cage to reach out to us.
Having worked with the cats from the FLOCK compound who were mostly very scared, I wondered at Andy’s outgoing personality. Danielle explained that Andy and a number of the other cats who were friendly had lived at Sherri Allen’s house and so were more socialized.
A handsome orange and white cat, Andy was all personality. He loved people and talked and reached out to whoever was close to him. Andy was also FIV positive and that made people turn away from him. By the end of the day, even though everyone agreed that he was an amazing cat, no one would consider adopting him. And that made him very sad. He actually turned his back on the crowd and sat very stoically facing the back of his cage.
Andy went back to Rescue Village where he enjoyed interacting with the caregivers and volunteers. He became best friends with Eclipse and they would chase each other and play until they were tuckered out and then they would nap together.
One day in August 2008 two very nice women, a mother and her daughter, traveled from Paige to Rescue Village to adopt two cats. They had been at the Phoenix adoption event and couldn’t forget the wonderful cats they had met.
They walked through the yurts meeting and petting the cats. They quickly fell in love with Crystal, an adorable Calico girl.
They weren’t sure who else they wanted to bring home. And then they met Andy, who turned on his charm and won them over. Dr. Mike and Terri sat with them and explained about FIV and that there was no reason that Andy could not live a healthy and full life.
Sadly, Andy did not get to live a long and healthy life. But, it wasn’t because he was FIV positive. Andy died from renal failure. So many of the Great Kitty Rescue cats have renal issues because of the neglect they endured. It makes me sad. It makes me mad. And every loss leaves an indelible mark on my heart.
So, I cry and then I pull myself together and I cherish the memories of each and every special fur baby who has left us too soon.
And now I add Andy Batholomew to that list. Although it breaks my heart, I would not undo the knowing of him and in his and the honor of all of those who have passed, I will continue to work with the cats.
It is hardest for those left behind and I draw comfort from an image I have in my mind of Andy frolicking on the Rainbow Bridge.