Celebrates People and Pets
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Mary Ellen and Miss Wings
Mary Ellen
Tips 'n' Tales Newspaper Columnist with Miss Wings

Pets, People & Ever Lasting Love
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Two years prior to George's passing,
this photo captured him and Arletta enjoying a sunny afternoon with Toby.

Part I

In honor of George's passing, this is a tribute to his life.  George and Arletta's story of love started in their teens. Thirteen year old Arletta met her 16 year old George on a tennis court.  Soon, George went off to college and earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.  World War II began, and George entered the Army and spent four years in Europe.  He came home as a Captain and married his beautiful waiting bride. 

Always a conscientious person, George entered the Reserve for 16 years, and retired as a Lt. Colonel. George and Arletta's marriage lasted for 64 years and they had five wonderful children.

In 1946, George along with Arletta's father hand built the building on the corner of Hwy. 99 and Gibbs Street, in Cottage Grove, Oregon. A year later, the two men opened Roberts and Drury Retail Subcontracting and served the public's plumbing, electrical and heating needs until 1986. George's friendly service, and his integrity to both contractors and his customers, along with his humor and honesty in dealing with everyone are still remembered.

In 1949 George was instrumental in setting up Cottage Grove's Chamber of Commerce and he was elected their first President. He worked with them for 35 years. George was also a member of the Masonic Lodge for 64 years. He invested his life and love into Cottage Grove.

George moved into Magnolia Gardens, 4 years ago, along with their two cats, T.C. (Top Cat) and Toby.  George said, "The cats, were brothers born December 27, 1999 and looked so irresistible in the pet shop window.  I was smitten with the kittens and bought them." George had a cat-door installed in his window, so the cats could go outside, chase bugs, and enjoy a nap in the sun.

For this article, George was interviewed in his apartment.  When it was time for the photograph, he smiled mischievously, and called to his cats.  He wanted to show off how smart they were.

Arletta, was brought outside by a kind nurse.  With all the loving care in the world, George helped Arletta get comfortable in a chair in the warm sun.  Arletta, sat there in her bright red sweater and quietly said, "I love cats" as she gently stroked Toby.  T.C. who in typical cat fashion decided not to sit in for their family photo.

"Both cats love to sit and ride on Arletta's walker,"  George
warmly mentioned, and with his ever present smile added, "Both cats love Magnolia Gardens.  Their home life is a spoiled one, with so many residents giving them attention. And, every morning at 6 AM, the cats wake me up and the three of us walk outside for our morning ritual."

These cats were more than just gorgeous long haired cats, they added companionship, warmth, humor and "lots of cat hairs" to George's life and apartment.

In January, four days before his 88th birthday, when it became evident that George's life was slipping away, his children brought Arletta to the hospital for their last visit together.  Even though Arletta's Alzheimers has advanced, and she was unaware of where she was or why...George knew. 

His face lit up and eyes sparkled at the sight of her. He looked up at Arletta and told his family, "We met when she was 13 years old, and she is still the prettiest woman I ever saw!" 

As their children stepped out of the room, to leave their parents alone, they saw George take Arletta's hand and heard him say, "I have loved you always and will love you forever. You are the only woman I have loved.  And I love you with all my heart." 

Many people will miss this kind man, he put the word gentle into gentleman...and by example he leaves a legacy of love through his cats, family and all the many other lives he touched and who loved him back. 

Part II
Cats Find a New Home

Sometimes, just like the song, "People who need people....are the luckiest people in the world" it also applies to pets needing people!

George moved into a nursing care facility 4 years ago, along with his two cats, T.C. (Top Cat) and Toby.  Last month, when George passed away his cats instantly needed people!

A staff member of the facility,(who wishes to remain private) fondly remembers George, a favorite resident. "Everyone misses George. He was a wonderful, kind and caring man.  He was devoted to his human family and cared for his two cats the same way."

One day at work, George became ill and she told him that she would be happy to take his cats when he could no longer care for them.  So, when George died, she adopted them and became their new parent.

Most people with pets fail to make arrangements for someone to be in charge of their animals upon their death.  Luckily, George had.  It is a good thing too. He knew that his five pet loving children each had a house full of pets, so he made alternative plans for his beloved cats.  It would be criminal if George's cats had to go to an animal shelter. But sadly, this is where some of the most loving cats, whose guardians have unexpectedly died, are waiting.

TC and Toby's transition into their new home smoothly. TC hid for a few days, and now, every morning, he jumps on her bed, and greets his new guardian with a wet nose bump.  Apparently, when he first arrived, he was shy, and his eyes had that, 'where is my George look of confusion?' Now he looks at his guardian with wide open eyes of love and appreciation.

Toby has designated himself as their official doorman. He loves greeting everyone to 'his' new home.  When a little girl arrived to meet him and TC, she walked in and loudly announced: "Those aren't cats, those are dogs!"  And she is right, if cats came in small, medium, and large...these cats are both extra large.  George spoiled his cats, and they are so big, it looks like they were raised on Miracle Grow!

The cats new guardian says, "It is a blessing giving these two furry gentleman a place to live for the next 10 years of their life.  The fact that they are 9 years old, doesn't phase me.  It is a lot less work taking care of older cats.  They are not full of kitten energy; ripping up furniture or climbing curtains.  They are well behaved, and a loving mellow addition to my household. And, because I am single, it is wonderful having these two male cats cuddling with me while watching TV or reading a book."  Every one should have a Mr. Purrfect, and now she has two!

You never know when adopting a kitten what its personality is going to be.  But, by adopting an older cat, you have a better sense of who they are. TC and Toby definitely were the missing ingredients in making her house a home. And it is the last favor she can do for George...and his cats.

A Tips 'n' Tales reader offers a few tips to new pet guardians: "Give them a room to adjust in that is all theirs.  Some cats will hide the first few days.  If your new cat jumps on counters, put tin foil on the counter tops. They do not like the feel or sound as they land on it.

If you have a room you want off limits to pets, install a child safety gate, and add a hanging beaded curtain above it.  Pets do not like going through the beads.

If your cats scratch furniture and double-sided tape and foil do not work, put blown-up balloons on it.  The balloons will pop when scratched...and guaranteed -- the cats won't scratch there again!"

Cats enjoy a window seating area so they can see outside.  Nail a 12-inch wide board to a window ledge, dress it up with a fancy tattered old towel, and your cats will love it.  We replaced all our window sills with window ledges for our inside kitties to have access to the views from each window.  Now they spend hours watching birds, squirrels so they do not become bored.

Also, you may only be one person to the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
Consider adopting a grandparent at a nursing facility, assisted living, or foster home.  Often, those who live at these facilities,  are in need someone to care for their animals when they have to enter a hospital. We all need someone to love.  Love enriches our lives, at all stages.


Homeless man in Santa Barbara and his amazing pets.
So worth seeing!

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