Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, November 7, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 8


Mountain View News Saturday, November 7, 2020 

Being There

Autumn greetings, everyone. My hope and 
prayer is that you are all staying healthy, 
happy and able to find some semblance of 
peace and serenity as we move closer into 
the 2020 holiday season. It’s been a long, 
strange trip so far this year, no doubt about it. Generally speaking, I’ve found the passage of 
time to be very kind to me. Slightly shy of 60 now, I really don’t feel my age. However - as 
I’m sure many might agree - this particular year has been quite a bear. But, one must always 
be prepared for that random curve ball that life might throw their way. I mean, no one is 
guaranteed a winning hand in the game of life, right? I wish you all the best, as we navigate 
through this weird new way of living.

Over the past 10+ years, I’ve written much about animals and nature in this column. I’ve told 
tales of precious pets with special talents. I’ve shared stories about my canine and kitty clients. 
I’ve vented over animal cruelty and exploitation. I’ve shared information about organizations 
that help animals in need. Indeed, this column has been a god-send for me to put my thoughts 
out there, in black and white. So to those who’ve read and appreciated what I’ve written, I’d 
like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Now, let’s get on with this week’s story.

One morning while futzing around in the garden department at the Home Depot in Monrovia, 
I heard what I assumed was a bird in distress. I wasn’t sure that what I heard was a bird, but it 
was such a high-pitched, repetitive sound, my best guess what just that - a would-be fledgling 
must have fallen from a nest and is calling out in distress. I immediately went into rescue 
mode and began searching about rather frantically, under tables where plants were displayed, 
behind crates and containers of trees surrounding the periphery of the outdoor garden area. 
As I searched, I’d pause periodically to listen and try to follow the sound of that poor creature 
crying out for help.

At the risk of being perceived as a nut-job, I asked a few nearby shoppers if they could hear 
the same cry I was hearing, but it seemed I was the only one paying any attention. Folks often 
act funny in public, don‘t they? Almost as if they’re afraid to interact with other humans. I’ve 
always been mystified by that. Animals do such a better job of cohabitating and interacting than 
we humans do. Anyway, I kept listening and looking. There was no way I was going to give up 
on finding whatever was sending out that desperate S.O.S. signal!

It wasn’t long before I realized that what I’d assumed to be a baby bird chirping, was not that 
at all. I knew it had to be a kitten crying, and I finally found the source of that saddening, 
maddening sound. It was a tiny black cat hiding inside an abandoned shopping cart, scared half 
out of its wits. Without hesitation, I grabbed the little kitty up and held him close to my chest. 
Well, I say I held him close, but the truth is, he held me close. That sweet kitty clawed its way 
up into the nape of my neck and hid its tiny face tightly behind my ear! I’ll never forget that 
feeling. To him, in that desperate moment, it seemed I was his only refuge. I was immediately 
smitten by that little kitten.

The next thing I knew, I was rushing out the front door of the store, intently focused on getting 
to my car before my new-found friend got spooked into jumping out of my arms and running 
away where I may not be able to catch him again. But as I meandered through the parking lot 
isles and finally found my car, I realized that the little kitty had no intention of jumping or 
running away. He was hugging tight, already purring loudly into my ear and melting my heart.

We finally got inside the car, where I let the poor boy go to roam freely, and hoped that he would 
get comfortable enough to relax so we could have a safe ride home. He seemed so relieved to 
be tucked away with someone he could trust. He really did look genuinely relaxed, so I started 
the engine and we headed home. It’s funny, isn’t it? How certain memories stay with us while 
others so easily slip away. I’ll never forget that drive from Home Depot to Sierra Madre that 
day. There have been countless, certainly more ‘important’ events that have occurred in my life 
since then, that I cannot recall. But that drive home with my newly-beloved little black cat all 
those years ago, has remained as clear to me as if it happened yesterday.

When we arrived home, Rick happened to be in the front yard and saw me emerge from the 
driver’s side door, holding my new little friend. I told Rick how the kitty and I had met, and 
he was more than happy to welcome a new pet into the family. I told him that during our ride 
home, the little fella had become so comfortable he’d deposited a poop in the backseat of the 
car! That’s when Rick announced that he had a great name for our new kitten. “Shat”, he said…
because that’s how he made his mark of identity on this new-found family of his.

“OK“, I said. “Shat it shall be. But that can only be his nickname. The proper name for this 
little lad, the most recent add to the Leclerc clan shall be, ‘Chauncey’. ’Chauncey Gardner’, 
named after my favorite character in the film, ‘Being There’. It made total sense to me. It fit him 
perfectly. After all, I found the little guy in the garden department and I knew that he would do 
great and amazing things, by just being himself.

Just Being There. And indeed, he did. We miss you immensely, sweet Chauncey. Aka “Shat“. 

Happy Tails

by Chris Leclerc

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