I had the pleasure of sitting down with two long-time friends–one from Milwaukee, the other from Illinois–in front of the fireplace in the Lounge. One of them was hesitant, saying at first that she couldn’t think of anything remarkable or “august” about her life. So her friend chimed in: “Let me tell you about Marilyn. She’s being very shy and coy right now. So let me get started and we’ll see if she starts to feel more comfortable.” Marilyn did get more comfortable, and I quickly learned that she is an august crusader for animals, particularly cats. Marilyn wasn’t being “coy”; she was being humble. At one point, all three of us were teary-eyed. Both of them love animals so much that it was hard for them not to get emotional–even Marilyn. The monologue below is a synthesis of their two stories, in the voice of Marilyn.
I am an energetic advocate, a voice, a home for cats and other animals, especially ones who are stray or hurt in some way. The ones with no homes are some of the most vulnerable creatures, but so many people turn a blind eye to them, thinking it’ll be too much work to take care of them. But I haven’t turned a blind eye, even to the detriment of my finances, my relationships, and so on.
Since I was little, I’ve always had a connection with animals, but it was just in the past 8 years or so of my life that I began to advocate real intensely for them. Most of the cats I have I rescue off the street. They have to be cared for, spayed, neutered, and so on. I used to keep count. Conservatively, I’d say that I’ve helped at least 1,000 cats. I live in an unincorporated neighborhood in Illinois, so I have land, so it’s easier for me to take care of them. And I’ve been blessed with a good job so that I at least have money for all the things they need.
My goal is to solve the problem, but the problem is never going to get solved 100%. You’d need an army of people doing the same thing. But when a cat gets healthy or finds a home–that’s the thanks I receive. Otherwise, I don’t seek praise or thanks or attention. I just want to speak up for their needs because they can’t say or do things for themselves. So I also educate people about proper nutrition, medical care, responsibilities that come with owning cats.
We need to be stewards of animals and human beings. Not just to make ourselves or God proud, but because it’s the right thing to do.