People always told Janine Baker that she seemed young for her age, but after losing her beloved Shih Tzu Pugsley, she says, “I realized it wasn’t me—it was my little dog who was keeping me young.” She sorely missed Pugsley’s company, but the idea of getting another dog was painful. So after a lifetime of being exclusively a dog person, Baker decided to adopt a cat.
Baker doubted a cat could offer her the kind of companionship she’d had with Pugsley, but she knew that caring for a creature would cheer her up and, she reminded herself, “You can’t be depressed if you’re connected to an animal,” even though she thought cats mostly kept to themselves.
But late last year at the ASPCA, Baker met the cat who changed expectations of the feline kind. An Adoptions Counselor introduced her to a long-haired tuxedo cat with big golden eyes. When Baker was told that her new friend was a little rambunctious and sometimes played rough, she only wanted him more.
Baker, who studies Indo-Tibetan philosophy, dubbed him Vimalakirti, after a famous Buddhist sage. Now a muscular 19 pounds, Vima is Baker’s constant companion—not at all what she thought she’d find in a cat. She’s looking to adopt another kitty soon, and says, “Vima has made me such a fan of the ASPCA, I’m now on the volunteer list!”
Baker adores her quirky behemoth of a kitty, whose hobbies include interactive play, practicing singing and sleeping in the sink. And she believes that even her dog Pugsley would have endorsed her new furry pal. “His first thought would be, 'You're getting a what?' And then I think he’d very much approve.”
For more stories of furry fate, visit the ASPCA Happy Tails archive.