Pet Tips 'n' Tales©

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Patrick and Lisa are thrilled to be reunited with Niko six months after she was snatched from their yard. She returned home wrapped in a miracle!

Miracle In A Box
Now in its seventh year, my "Pet Tips 'n' Tales" December tradition of providing pet- themed holiday miracle stories continues to uplift, encourage, and delight readers around the world.

In 2003, Patrick and Lisa adopted a white female six-week-old kitten who they named Niko. Their two-year-old Pug, Velcro, was thrilled with "her" new baby and immediately took over where Niko's mama had left off. Velcro's actions made it obvious to Patrick and Lisa that Velcro felt responsible for Niko's care and upbringing, making sure Niko was fed by carrying mouthfuls of dog food to her. "They developed a special bond and always slept together," said Patrick.

"In July of 2012, Niko developed a bladder infection and we were in the process of setting her up for surgery when disaster struck on July 18. A neighbor came to tell me that she had witnessed two young men grabbing Niko from our yard and running away with her. I called the police immediately, then began searching for her.

My mind raced, imagining worst case scenarios after finding her collar and tags in a nearby church's parking lot. Lisa and I plastered the neighborhood with 'STOLEN' fliers bearing Niko's picture, hoping that someone would recognize her. We also filled out a 'LOST' form on our local animal shelter's website. Every day, for 171 days, I reviewed the website for updates, hoping to see Niko there. Our summer was ruined! I was despondent; and Velcro was traumatized by her best friend's absence. But, as the shelter took in 4200 animals last year, reuniting 1200 of them with their owners, we did manage to hold on to hope that we too would be reunited with our beloved Niko.

The fact that Niko is a magical cat kept us going too. Her nickname is Ghost Kitty because she's white and has always ambushed us out from nowhere, her laughing eyes saying, 'Boo!' Could, would, this inherent magic guide her back to us?"

On January 5, 2013, six months after Niko's catnabbing, Patrick and Lisa spotted a white cat on the website. Although they held doubts that this kitty was Niko, they took her documents and picture to the shelter "just in case" it was. But, they also took a pet carrier in which to bring home a new kitten to replace Niko just in case it wasn't, with Velcro along for the ride.

When they arrived they discovered that as they suspected, the cat was not Niko, so they began their search for her replacement. Then, in walks a couple with a stray cat in a cardboard pet carrier. Curious, Patrick approached them and asked what color the cat was. Their answer: "White". "Could this be Niko?" wondered Patrick and Lisa. They peered hopefully into the box to see Niko peering back at them! "Velcro was as excited and happy to see her as we were!" said Patrick.

"Niko's story restores our faith," said Patrick. "We had remained hopeful, but with each passing day it seemed less likely that we would ever see her again. Looking into that box, I can't tell you how shocked we were to see Niko, scared but alive! She was found twelve miles from our home. It's natural for me to feel guided by Spirit in my life so I am not surprised that Niko was returned to us. There were definitely Divine forces at work!

As a result of Niko's miraculous return story being featured on several TV stations, a woman who along with her daughter had cared for Niko for several months until Niko disappeared from their yard, came forward with photos of her. The next couple who found Niko fed her and had a vet treat her for a bladder infection. Without these kind people Niko surely would have starved.

Since her return home, Niko has undergone her lifesaving badder surgery, her condition having worsened during her time away without proper nutrition. The vet was shocked at the size of her bladder stone (the largest they had ever seen at 1" x 1/2" x 1/8") so he sent it to a research lab at the University of Minnesota for testing."

"What are the odds of looking for your lost cat for six months and the day, the moment, the hour that you are standing there in the shelter, your cat arrives!?", asks Deborah Wood of Bonnie L. Hayes Small Animal Shelter. "Most pet adoptions take under an hour to complete, so it was a miracle that Niko arrived shortly after Patrick and Lisa did. What are the odds of the rescuing couple deciding to bring her into the shelter, our shelter, that day, at that time!? A ten-minute window miracle took place that day. Our shelter has never before experienced a case like this one!"

"You can't force a miracle," says Lisa,"but timing and synchronicity sure helped our miracle come to pass!"

Apparently, Niko really IS a magical cat after all! 
Video of Niko and Velcro:


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