When He Needed a Hand, He Found a Paw

By Judy Layne

All of us need a helping hand at some point in our life – a good friend who will listen to our problems with a patient understanding ear…… a friend who will not judge us for our feelings, fears  or failures….. a friend who can lift our spirits when we’re down and can help to brighten the gloomiest of days.

Two years ago, Daniel Little found himself needing just such a friend.  “I was going through some work-related stress and it was tough,” says Daniel. One day, he found himself on the Nova Scotia SPCA website and decided to look at the cats available for adoption.  A sweet tuxedo kitty named Wanda caught Daniel’s eye. “I remember thinking that she looked so sad. I decided to go to the shelter to see her in person.”  Cats have always been attracted to Daniel so he found it very strange that on that day, none of the cats he had met so far seemed to gravitate towards him. Then he saw Wanda and both their lives changed.

“Wanda was in rough shape. She had a respiratory infection, was very thin and wasn’t eating much,” Daniel explains. “She looked so fragile and seemed to need a good friend as much as I did. I stuck my finger into her kennel to touch her paw, she touched my finger back and started to eat a little. We had an immediate connection.  My decision to adopt her (or her decision to adopt me??) was made right there and then. I had to leave her at the shelter for a week while she recovered, but it was well worth the wait.”

“Having Wanda to share my life with made a huge difference. I’d come home and tell her about my day and she seemed to listen (probably thinking all the time when will he shut up and give me treats?!),” Daniel chuckles. “Her presence had a calming effect on me and was a wonderful distraction from thoughts of work when I was home.”

“I couldn’t imagine going through these unprecedented difficult times without her,” Daniel relates. “Wanda keeps me focused on things other than negative events that are happening in the world. Without her, I’d be glued to the TV news channels and growing my anxiety over everything going on out there. She also keeps me on a routine. That’s vitally important in times of stress. There’s no lazing about in bed in the morning, as every cat parent knows. By the time I get up, feed her and clean out her litter box, I’m in a positive place to start my day.”

It’s been said that the best therapist has fur and four legs, and Daniel wholeheartedly agrees. “Wanda plays such an important role in my life. There’s nothing like coming home to be greeted at the door by your dog or cat. You can’t buy that kind of therapy!” shares Daniel. “Wanda was 10 years old when I adopted her and I’d encourage people to consider adopting a senior pet. They deserve a second chance at happiness – a chance to live a safe, happy and full life in a loving home.”

And Daniel’s final thought?  “Sometimes pets rescue us as much as we rescue them.”


Judy Layne

Judy is a dedicated volunteer with the Nova Scotia SPCA and proud adoptive fur-mama to Gracie. She is committed to speaking for animals who cannot speak for themselves.