Ocean Park, British Columbia, resident Joanie Webster has a special connection with her six-year-old cat, Pete. That connection with her cat has always been there, but it was made even more special after he went missing for three years and then came back to her, largely because of the kindness of a few strangers who cared enough to make sure that the two of them were reunited.
A day like any other
The day that Pete went missing, it wasn’t really all that different from any other day, with one exception. Webster was taking him to an Ocean Park veterinarian for an appointment, something that Pete had never been terribly fond of. Because of his fear associated with going to the veterinarian, he escaped Webster’s arms and fled, making it out of the building and out of sight in a matter of mere minutes to wander outdoors. Webster was absolutely devastated that this happened and spent an enormous amount of time looking for her beloved cat. Despite the fact that she looked everywhere she could think of and enlisted the help of anyone who was willing to give her a hand, she was unable to find him. Eventually, she became convinced that he had been killed, either by coyotes or perhaps even hit by a car. She says that she grieved for Pete as if she had witnessed him die right before her eyes. In an attempt to spur the healing process along, she asked a local artist to paint a portrait of him that she could hang in her home as a way of remembering him. Despite all of this, she never forgot about him. Although she was completely convinced that Pete was dead, she says that there was never a day in that three year time frame that she didn’t think about him, that she didn’t miss him. That’s when she got the surprise of a lifetime, something that she never imagined would happen, even in her wildest dreams.
A Ringing Telephone
Three years after Pete escaped her arms and disappeared, her phone rang and she did what virtually everyone else does when they hear a ringing telephone- she picked it up. She was never expecting to hear from another Ocean Park veterinarian, nor was she expecting to hear what he had to say. He told her that a couple had brought in a cat that they had found wandering around their property. As is standard procedure, he checked the cat for a microchip and found one. As luck would have it, the address that was on file was Webster’s. Fortunately, she had not moved or changed her contact information in the three years since Pete went missing. The veterinarian told her that the cat appeared to be in good condition and informed her that she could come and pick him up at her earliest convenience. Of course, she couldn’t wait to get there. She said that she was absolutely overwhelmed at the news, in the best way possible. She went straight to the veterinarian’s office in order to see Pete for herself, but she admits that it took a little extra time because she was so shocked to hear the news that he was alive and well that she sat down and cried for quite some time after she hung up the phone. She was shocked to find him alive and healthy. It was something that she had wanted to happen so badly that she had initially dreamed about such a reunion, then she had become too fearful to even allow herself to dream about it because it made her feel like she was hanging on to some small bit of hope that just wasn’t realistic. As such, she had denied herself the opportunity to even think about such a phone call happening for years and now, it was happening in reality. She needed a few minutes to wrap her head around all of that before she went to pick up Pete.
Alive and Well
She says that she was absolutely over the moon to see Pete when she first laid eyes on him after his three-year absence. There he was, alive and well. The veterinarian said that he couldn’t find anything wrong with him. Moreover, it appeared that Pete had been eating quite well during his absence, as he weighed 16 pounds. Clearly, he had relied on the kindness of strangers whenever and wherever he could during the three years that he was gone. Fortunately, it appears that a number of people were willing to help him whenever he would show up on their doorstep. Of course, it’s impossible to know exactly where he was or what he was doing. Maybe it doesn’t even matter. The good news is that Pete is reunited with Webster and he is now safe and healthy, seeming no worse for wear after having had his extended adventure.
Webster says that this experience has taught her to have hope, no matter how slim the chances might seem. She says that the worst thing she did to herself was deny herself the possibility of having hope. She says that Pete is living proof that these types of things can and do happen. She also says that she hopes that their story gives other pet owners hope who have been looking for their lost pets for years, without turning up a single clue about where they might be. According to Webster, it’s often when you least expect these types of things to happen that something will turn up out of the blue. Sometimes, it’s the best possible news that anyone could hope for, just like it was for her the day the veterinarian called to tell her that they had found Pete. She also wants to go on record to thank the couple that turned Pete into the veterinarian’s office because if it hadn’t been for them, he might never have been found. At the same time, she wants to say a heartfelt thank you to anyone and everyone who fed him, took him in or cared for him in any way during the time that he was missing.