Alley Animals - Newsletter

Summer 2001 Edition
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Dijon - Update! Two Years Later

by Jeanie Willis
In This Issue:

Remember Dijon -- the little orange kitten who had a bad infection in both eyes resulting in his blindness? He has been featured twice in these newsletters and we thought you might be interested in reading about his progress.

Dijon is just to incredible for words! He doesn’t understand that he has a disability; nothing stops him from immensely enjoying life. Just look at his list of accomplishments:

  1. able to leap off a tall bed with the greatest of ease, landing gracefully with a perfect “10” score;
  2. able to avoid all objects directly in front of him because of his radar senses and long whiskers;
  3. able to always find his favorite friends to cuddle, play, chase, hang out with--including Geoff and me, his favorite human friends;
  4. able to be first in line for all meals due to his incredible sense of smell;
  5. able to scale tall cat condos with a running leap (with, I might add, the greatest of grace) in search of a cubby hole, nap time in very important;
  6. able to find and play with all his favorite toys; including dangling objects;
  7. able to have captured a very special place in our hearts, forever.


When I arrived at Jeanie’s home to take pictures of Dijon and other kitties for the newsletter, Jeanie guided me to the suite of rooms (including an outdoor enclosure) reserved for Dijon and his feline cohorts. Because Dijon avoids strangers, the plan was for Jeanie to coax him into a good location for picture-taking while I said nothing and made as little disturbance to the air as possible.

The plan failed. As appealing as Jeanie’s voice was to Dijon when she called his name and spoke to him, as enticing as was the sound of dry food in the canister Jeanie shook vigorously, Dijon would not be fooled. He knew I was there and he didn’t like it. The other cats gathered around, munched nuggets of food, presented their faces and backs for petting, some even struck poses for the camera. Dijon, instead, marched in wide circles around me, his ears fixed in red alert.

I made a few feeble attempts to focus his endearing countenance, but nearly every time I was ready to shoot the picture he fled. This went on for over an hour. Finally, Dijon had worn me down; I knew Jeanie must be tiring of our futile quest for a good picture of the marvelous cat with no eyes, so I suggested we call it a day--whatever inferior images I managed to capture would have to do.

The anxiety of picture-taking lifted, Jeanie and I relaxed for a while with the cats in one of their rooms. Jeanie looked oddly comfortable lounging atop one of the kitty condos as she told the story of each feline who approached for a little affection. I swear Dijon knew the camera lay, abandoned, on the floor because (with a regal air of victory) he sashayed toward me, sniffed my ankle, and started a rumble purr as he bumped his head against my hand for his share of attention.

I’ve heard it said, “the eyes are the windows of the soul.” Through interacting with Dijon I now know the soul has other windows; in this cat with no eyes I saw clearly the splendid light of his soul. So often in their resilience, handicapped animals remind us as only they can that we need not worry, they are still whole in spirit. Dijon is one decidedly shining example.



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