Sunday, January 15, 2017

Helpful neighbours

The photo with this post probably looks familiar. Over the years, I’ve shared many like it on this blog or through social media. But, I didn’t take this photo, and I found it by accident. Yes, there’s a story.

Yesterday I was checking Facebook, as one does, and among my notifications was one about a post to the Facebook Group for our local community. Nothing unusual in that, though I usually get the notifications about a day after the post was made, so I don’t see them in a timely manner.

So I went to check out the post to the group to see what the replies were, and then I scrolled down the page, as I usually do, to see what else had been posted since the last time I’d checked the group. A few scrolls down and I saw the photo. “That looks like Bella,” I thought to myself, and I remembered several of my photos of her that look virtually identical, most of which haven’t been shared.

Then I read the post.

The person who posted it asked, “Does anyone know this cat?”, and then added she’d been visiting for a few days, and was worried that she had no home and was staying out all night. I sent a private message to the person who posted it after a little “Facebook stalking” confirmed what I suspected, that she was a neighbour. I went over and collected Bella, brought her home and fed her, and she went out again—I assume back to their house.

This isn’t unusual behaviour for Bella, and she often fixates on one area to sleep for a few days or so before moving on. At other times she’d been in the common area out front, in front of a different neighbour’s house, or somewhere on our section, among other places. It’s a little unusual for her to stay away most of the day, as she has the past couple days, but certainly not unheard of.

I’m glad our neighbour cared enough about animals to ask if anyone in the area knew who Bella belonged to, and wanted to make sure she was looked after. The fact that she took to Facebook is a sign of the times, as is the fact that I saw it there. In fact, the only thing that’s unusual is that had I not gone to the group to check out an unrelated post, I may never have seen it.

What I haven’t mentioned is that until yesterday I’d never met the neighbours. They’ve lived there for some time, and I’ve caught glimpses of them, but never really even seen them. That meant there was never an opportunity to say hello and introduce myself, and these days no one goes out of their way to introduce themselves to their neighbours, anyway—and they haven’t for a very long time. So, even this aspect—that we’d never met the neighbours—isn’t in any way unusual.

But putting all that modernity aside, the important thing here is that people are as kind and decent as they’ve always been, and they still want to look out for what are clearly other people’s pets and to make sure they’re well. Those are good things. Had we known each other, it wouldn't have unfolded the way it did, so the modern norm of not knowing one’s neighbours was a problem. But another modern thing—use of Facebook—came through.

So, I’m glad that our neighbours are kind and caring, and even that Facebook gave me a reason to introduce myself. Sometimes, our modern systems can fix other problems changing times have created. This was one of those times.

Meanwhile, Bella probably went back over there today.

The very first photo of Bella that I shared on this blog back in 2010 was taken on our deck. Another photo I posted in 2012 was in a similar position to the neighbour’s photo, and one from last year, while very different, as a similar pose. Apparently, this is standard for taking photos of her.

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