Megan is our adult daughter who has some very significant special needs. She wanted a kitten for quite some time and we were surprised how long it took us to find one for her… but just before Christmas 2020, we found a cute little kitty that she named Pookie (after Garfield the cat’s special teddy bear). Pookie bonded with Megan and was a sweet and very playful kitten. She loved being with her people and the 2 dogs she shared a home with. Due to covid backlogs, getting Pookie spayed was delayed but at least we had it scheduled. However, 9 days before she was scheduled for the surgery… while in heat… she snuck out of the house through the dog door (which we had trained her to avoid). We spent the first two days hoping she would find her way back home… but sadly… she never showed up. We spent those first couple of nights walking through the neighborhood quietly calling her at midnight and 3am… but all too no avail. A neighbor recommended that we call Bonnie Beltz who specializes in helping families recover their lost pets. That first phone call transformed our sense of dread to an attitude of anticipation. Bonnie was able to give us insight into the mind of a lost kitty that was quite contrary to all we thought we knew after having cats & dogs for over 40 years. She warned us that it might take some time, but chances were good that we could bring Pookie home in the not-to-distant future. We put posters around our neighborhood about our lost kitty. We posted info on the NextDoor app. And thankfully we with help of some awesome neighbors, we started getting reports of sightings. This allowed us to begin to implement Bonnie’s recovery plan. It took several nights of setting out a humane trap with food & water and moving it on occasion as Pookie traveled some. The wildlife camera Bonnie loaned us helped enormously. We could review the activity around the trap each morning and see who was visiting. Sure enough, Pookie was showing up. Finally on night 9, there was Pookie, safe and sound waiting in the trap to come back home. We had a little early morning party as soon as I walked in the door with her! Bonnie had explained to us, that a lost cat can revert to reacting on a purely instinctual level. Even something as benign as calling her name, can make her feel hunted and drive her further into hiding. And we saw this play out in her behaviors that neighbors witnessed. She acted more like a feral cat than our sweet loving kitty. However as soon as she was out of that trap… and back home with her family… she immediately reverted back to our sweet Pookie. We were all SO incredibly relieved and happy – especially Megan. And we are certain, there is no way this homecoming would have been possible without Bonnie’s knowledge of animal behavior and her ability to provide tools for us to use almost immediately (the trap & camera). She was excellent in her communication whether by phone or email or text (depending on urgency) even though she was working with several clients at the same time and spending nights out herself. I feel I can safely say, our story would not have had the happy ending it did without Bonnie.
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