The most common observation made by people working in animal rescue is that people suck. We see the results of neglect, abandonment, abuse, stupidity, and every other rotten feature of human psychology that can be visited upon an innocent and helpless creature, and it makes us hate people. Not all of them - we all love a good pet owner, a loving foster parent, a dedicated volunteer or deeply caring shelter worker. But those categories are definitely a minority of the population as a whole that affects the animals we spend our time helping.
Now throw in a trip to Costco a few days before a major holiday. You can guess what it was like: the hordes of cranky shoppers desperately seeking some last minute gift for someone they don't know or like that much, the whining kids, the crabby checkers facing infinite lines of hurried customers... I wouldn't have gone myself except I was practically out of cat food. With a horde of hungry little teenager-kittens rampaging upstairs and nomming their way through about thirty pounds of crunchies a week, I had
to get supplies so when the adoption fair on Saturday was over I went to Costco.
Into the rolling cart I loaded two bags of Kirkland Maintenance Cat formula, two bags of the Kirkland Nature's Domain crunchies, three boxes of the Little Friskies 48-can gushie fud variety pack, and a box of Kirkland puppy training pads (useful for everything from lining crates to containing water bowl spills). With a carload of kittens waiting for me I didn't putter around further, just pushed the cart up to the checkout line. Waiting in line, minding my own business, I noticed the couple who had gotten in line next surreptitiously eyeballing and pointing at my collected merchandise and talking to each other in low voices. Honestly, my selection did look like the Crazy Cat Lady Daily Special and when you added in the accumulated cat hair on my ASR
sweatshirt from handling stressed adoption candidates for the previous four hours, I could hardly blame them for being amused.
As I got to the checkout and handed over my card to the guy at the register, the woman behind me caught my attention and said, "I see your rescue logo, would you let me pay for your cart?" She held out her card to the cashier while I made astonished and grateful noises that were at best barely semi-coherent. Her name was Terry (or possibly Teri or some other variation, I didn't ask for the spelling) and she lives in a condo that only allows her to keep two cats. She wanted to be of help to all the ones she couldn't do anything else for, and was glad of the work of groups like the one I am with.
It was awkward and uplifting and embarrassing and heartwarming all at the same time. I shook her hand and quite probably made a fool of myself, but I plead pure amazement at being the conduit for a nearly $200 donation to the puddies on a busy day at Costco. It's enough to make me prone to commit some random act of kindness of my own one of these days if I'm not careful.