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Guest Lancelot Arnold

Relentless Optimism in the Midst of Pain: Morris’ Inspirational Story

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Guest Lancelot Arnold

Morris is one of those cats you only come across occasionally, with a depth of zeal and love that causes us humans to rethink the way we live our own lives.Morris’ story actually began at the rescue organization, Helping Paws Animal Shelter in Woodstock, Illinois, where he was born in 2008 as one of a litter of kittens. Once the litter was old enough, all the other kittens were adopted-except Morris.With chronic eye and upper respiratory infections and a number of other medical issues, it seemed clear that Morris was destined to remain with Helping Paws. Thankfully, though, he had more love and care than he would have ever known if he had been born on the streets.In fact, he immediately became very popular with the volunteers at Helping Paws. One volunteer, Tina, spoke of her love for Morris:“I fell in love with Morris the first time I met him. He loved everyone, both human and feline. In fact, I called him a ‘chick magnet’ because he had his own little group of female admirers at the shelter due to the loving, accepting, positive attitude he displayed every day.” Sadly, at 18 months old, Morris was diagnosed with a heart condition and with megaesophogus, which prevents food and nutrients from entering his stomach. Both of these conditions are incurable and the only treatment plan was to keep him comfortable for as long as possible, loved by staff and volunteers.Tina again recalled Morris’ positive demeanor through it all:“Morris never fought the medical staff and always remained calm, even purring when we gave him his medication, as if he knew it was for his own good. When I would enter his room to clean, he would be front and center, rubbing my legs, purring like a freight train, and making it very clear that today was going to be a good day.” This past fall, a young man named Mitchell began to volunteer at Helping Paws along with his mother, Sharon. Mitchell, who also struggles with health problems, immediately bonded with Morris from the very first day that they met. Mitchell was inspired by Morris’ upbeat attitude in the midst of all of his challenges.
“I was amazed that even with his own health issues, he never seemed to have a bad day. Morris would love on you, purr, and meow the whole time you were with him. I have had my own struggles in life but when I met Morris and saw how loving this little animal was every day, never passing judgment on you and never in an unhappy place, it made me think of how I need to live my own life.”Mitchell began to visit Morris every Friday and it became obvious that the two shared a very special connection. On March 15th, when Morris finally passed away in the presence of many loving volunteers, Mitchell remembered Morris’ life and the encouragement he had given.“Morris had a lot to say and teach us.” In the short five years that Morris had lived, he made his way into all of the volunteers’ hearts, especially Mitchell’s, and always gave as much as he got.Tina also reflected on Morris’ life:“People always say ‘live in the now’ and Morris did. He always seemed happy and made everyone feel like they were the most important thing in his life. Morris was my friend. I miss him and will never forget what a special little man he was.” Another volunteer, Sherry, described Morris’ impact:Morris2“For such a short life, Morris had a positive effect on everyone he met. He was truly something special.”

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