Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column with enough room for one, long Angel Alert! today. Here goes …”This is a story about a cat and a vet: an angel, I believe, in furry form, and a vet who seemed to know that it was more than just my 15-year-old “angel” that needed saving. This story began on New Year’s Eve 1990 when I visited the Humane Society to give and receive some much-needed affection. It was not my intention to adopt a fur ball, but the purring won me over and unbeknownst to me, I adopted the very one creature a fellow co-worker visited earlier that same day and concluded ‘was possessed.’ This story begins on the road, while my husband and I were traveling for two years. We happened upon Vince Tharp at Alpine Veterinary during our first winter here in Summit County. Vince said to make sure kitty gets plenty of fluids up here in high country, and never give him beer, ever! Well, our real problems began at sea level on the east coast when Kitty was drinking (and peeing) a whole lot, only it wasn’t beer, it was just water, and in excessive amounts. Since Vince was the most up-to-date on his health, I called across three time zones to get his advice. Since then, Vince has selflessly spent much of his own time talking me through one of the most trying times in my life. In an age when time is measured in terms of hours times billing rate (or potential income), I was amazed that he was so caring and concerned over the well-being of my cat. After all, haven’t we as a society gone a bit far in our love for our pets, even surpassing the love we display to our human counterparts? Over the years, my angel, possessed or otherwise, has shown me unconditional love, and because of that unconditional love, I have held onto him tighter than any human being. Let’s face it, when have any of us humans shown unconditional love to one another? It may be as malicious as the slanderous backstabbing in the office or as slight as the mean jab at home, but we humans are experts at tongue fighting and a tongue wound is more insidious, longer lasting and can be just as lethal as any gunshot wound. I believe pets were created with an incomprehensible language so that they could show us humans what unconditional love is all about. Even when my cat’s meow is more like a bark, he will eventually come back purring and I’m none the wiser as to what awful thing he said to me just hours before. In stark contrast, we can understand too well the spoken word of our own language and it replays in our heads over and over again, until we play it out in our actions.So, getting back to Vince, I couldn’t understand why this person had incredible compassion for a person who may or may not patronize his business in the future. It all became clear as we landed in Summit County the following winter and I began looking for a church home. There was Vince, up front, singing in the choir. Ah ha, I thought, this is a genuine Christian who loves, even outside of the church and on other days of the week besides Sunday. How different from what I recall growing up. Maybe I wrote people off too soon. After all even Christians are still human and prone to mistakes, but believe me, there were plenty of hypocrites to blur my vision.When I learned that Vince was leaving Summit County to pursue ministry work elsewhere, my first response was selfish panic, but then I thought about how he’s been in the business of saving souls all along … and the cat was just a bonus.God bless you, Vince. We will miss you!”Becky Bowers”Crazed pet owner” wishing unconditional love on the human race.***We out, and well done, Becky.
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