Maggie and the Kitten

Recently we went to visit my parents on the farm. If you know anything about the reproduction habits of farm cats you know that with it being the end of summer, the quantity of cats running around is plentiful to say the least.

There was one small kitten that caught my attention. This kitten was the equivalent of a two year-old toddler left to play in traffic on a busy street. Let me explain it this way. While he could walk, and was certainly old enough to be out, his brain just wasn’t quite able to process the severity of his decisions. My niece happened to be there as well and she shared with me that grandma told her to be sure to check for the kitten before she left.

We stood outside for a while longer to visit and as Todd and I prepared to leave I witnessed something that melted my heart. The unbelievable kindness and instincts of their dog, Maggie taught me a lesson that we as humans have a hard time grasping at times.

Maggie is a cattle dog. Her purpose and instinct is to chase cattle to where they need to be when they need to be there. While she is a farm dog, and her job is to herd and chase, yet on this warm summer evening her heart and instincts for her fellow creature were powerful and giving.

As my husband and I were preparing to leave, we started the truck. It’s loud and scared the kitten away….but not quite far enough for Maggie’s comfort. It was in that moment that I witnessed something I have never seen a dog do for a cat. She took her paw and not only pulled the kitten into her body, she HELD that kitten to her chest. When the kitten tried to move away, she reached out and pulled it back –three times! As we drove away I watched as Maggie held that kitten until we were safely driving away.

The image of Maggie and the kitten still lingers in my mind weeks later. As humans, why do we often let our differences separate us when animals that are often considered rivals will protect each other? I was reminded of a valuable life lesson that evening. A lesson with a visual reminder that is going to linger with me for years to come.