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  • Tami McCandlish

The Rescue Story of Trooper

Something stirred in me when I saw this guy sitting on a no-name road where people dump mattresses and broken appliances.

His black coat contrasted a blanket of snow. Hunkered down, off-centered in the road as if he stayed right where someone dropped him, his body heat melted a circle, revealing the road’s gravel, quietly highlighting his location.

“Hi, baby,” I said, and he immediately trotted into my arms.

There were no nearby houses to check to see if this baby had wandered away, so I whisked him home and named him Trooper.

I would like to keep every stray I could get my hands on, but it wasn't in our best interest to keep this guy.

We have six kitties, one with a most peculiar demeanor, which we do not want to disrupt. So we spread the word Trooper needed a home.

We set up a shelter for him, and I prayed, “God, please find Trooper a good home.” With no initial possibilities, I felt a hint of disappointment arise but dug in harder to my prayers.

That night, my prayers shifted. "God, someone needs this kitty," I said. "Someone is heartbroken. They're sad and lonely, and I just know this kitty would bring them joy and healing."

Every time Trooper nudged my chin with his head, I wanted to go-off on whoever neglected him. It was easy to assume the worst in people. I, too, knew what it felt like to get dumped by humans, which is why I often find it easier to connect with animals than people, and why the shifting of my prayer struck me.

I no longer prayed only for Trooper, but for someone I cared about who I didn't yet know.

It's amazing how often God uses animals to gently guide me back into love for people.

I knew I couldn't give up. I had to find a good home for Trooper because good people needed him as much as he needed them.

The next day one of my cat-loving friends put me in touch with Mary, who runs a rescue. Our faith quickly connected us, and the steps of rescue fell into place.

Mary knew of a young woman who recently lost the kitty she had since nine years old. Mary believed Trooper was a perfect match, and her organization even covered his vet expenses! She connected me with Troop's future mama, who was still heartbroken and hadn't yet received her kitty's ashes from the vet.

After caring for Trooper for three weeks, I transported him to his new family, seriously doubting I could let go. They were kind and allowed me to share his story while I cried like a child.

God's plan blew our minds.

The same night their family said goodbye to their beloved kitty was the same night my prayer shifted. God sent Trooper for their healing and to restore their joy.

It hurt so much to say goodbye and leave Troop with people I didn't know, but God told me to trust. He broke me of selfishness and called me to surrender further. He reminded me that keeping all the kitties wouldn't help others to know His love and that, while there are broken people who do terrible things to animals, there are more people who care deeply.

I'm so grateful to have filled a gap in Trooper's life and for what the whole process taught me. When we trust God, we shouldn't feel inconvenienced by the challenge to rescue His creation. One rescued challenge can serve another challenge that needs rescuing.

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