Sometimes, when I have an awfully lot of free time on my hands to think about various things, my mind goes into overtime thinking about the future. More specifically, to the period in my life when I will finally retire from my job and enjoy my old age.
For some reason, this truly excites me. I ask myself what will I be doing and how on Earth will I be spending my days.
I think the hero of today’s story might just have given me a very brilliant idea. Meet Terry Lauerman, a 75-year-old retired Spanish teacher who decided that spending his retirement next to sheltered cats sounds pretty awesome.
According to Elizabeth Feldhausen, the founder of the Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Terry just appeared at their front door one day with a cat brush in hand, asking if he could spend some time brushing and cuddling the cats they had inside.
The people at the shelter, of course, allowed him to do so. He sat down on a plush couch, took his brush, and started brushing. But what ensued afterward surprised pretty much everyone.
After some time he spent grooming sheltered felines, Terry decided that it was siesta o’clock. So he made himself comfortable and took a snooze.
Yup! You’ve read that right! Terry took a little nap in the shelter. But what’s even better and cuter, is that he did it cuddled next to the kitty whose fur he had been brushing. (I am losing my mind right now, just so you know).
And when he woke up, he took his brush, said goodbye to his new fluffy friends, thanked the people at the shelter, and went home.
However, he came back tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, and somehow he made a habit of coming back to Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary.
When they asked him why he chose their shelter and, even more importantly, why he kept coming back, he said it was because he genuinely loved animals. He loved the homey feeling of the shelter, and he appreciated their no-cage and no-kill policy.
He said that, deep down, he felt the need to help them in any way he could. And since he had a lot of free time on his hands, he decided to try his luck and offer his services. He did this on his own for around 6 months, after which Elizabeth offered him an official volunteering job and gave him some forms to fill out.
And just like that, Terry became their permanent volunteer.
Terry was very charming, gentle, and friendly. Not to mention his professional brushing skills. So, naturally, every feline there loved him and appreciated his presence.
He took such good care of them every day. On average, Terry would spend an hour napping on the couch, after which he would wake up, move to the second couch and snooze off again. During breaks, he would get his trusty blue brush and groom some kitties – and that’s about it! A dream job if you ask me!
This adorable practice made Terry special and secured him the title of Cat Grandpa. The people from Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary shared several pictures on their social media of Terry sleeping on a couch with a different cat each time.
And those pictures took the world by storm! Over 17,000 people across America and worldwide have shared them, commenting on how precious Terry looks with his fluff buddies.
The practice of having regular naps have proven to be beneficial for both cats (whose nature dictates 12 to 16 hours of sleep per day) and Terry who needed a fun but appropriate way to spend his retirement.
Also, being in the company of felines has proven to be great for Terry’s mental health and general well-being. So, even though his “job” was not paid, Terry still had some benefits from it. In fact, his pay was the level of happiness and enjoyment he received from just being there.
Terry’s presence was very beneficial for the shelter, too. In just two days since they posted the story about Terry’s napping sessions with their resident cats on their social media, the shelter made $30,000. How amazing is that?!
Elizabeth said how many people have put in their donations. Some donated a dollar, some $2, some $5, and some more. Everyone gave as much as they could at that moment, but it was all very much appreciated.
Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary is known for rehabilitating special needs felines and felines with certain physical problems, so the money they got (thanks to Terry) had been more than welcome.
This is yet another proof of how doing something so small (like donating a single dollar to a good cause) can make a big difference.
Those pictures of Terry napping with felines had their own purpose, too. Apart from melting people’s hearts worldwide, they also ensured the speedy and safe adoption of the kitty in the photo.
For example, the one where Terry was snuggled next to his favorite fluff, Louis, ensured that the application for adoption came in less than a day.
All in all, we can safely conclude that Terry hit the Jackpot the day he decided to knock on the doors of Safe Haven Pet Sanctuary.
Because by doing so, he got an opportunity to meet new and interesting people, groom and cuddle adorable felines, be socially useful, and have his much-needed rest all at the same time.
We can all only hope we get to be so lucky once we grew old. Maybe we should start praying to feline nap gods. Who knows? Maybe that is exactly where Terry’s luck is hidden.