This book is not just for cat lovers. As Gwen states in her prologue, "so this book is for the others like me, but also for the ones who've given up on believing in everyday miracles and heroes; for people who love cats and for people who consider themselves firmly anti-cat, for those who think NORMAL and IDEAL mean the same thing, and for those who know that sometimes, stepping slightly to the left of what's normal can enrich your whole life"
Gwen stepped more than just "slightly to the left" when she adopted Homer, a cat who suffered from a condition that left him blind at just a few weeks of age. He had literally been dumped at the vet by individuals who felt strongly he should be euthanized.
Thankfully the young and idealistic vet (Patricia Khuly, VMD, MBA, Miami Fla) lived and practiced the belief of "if the animal is afflicted yet healable-and even remotely adoptable-"it's meant to be we reason".
Gwen already had two cats (the beautiful "Vashti" and the oh-so-misunderstood "Scarlett") and barely enough money to support herself or her cats when her veterinarian approached her hoping she would adopt the sightless Homer. Gwen did adopt Homer but not for the first reason that probably came into your mind (pity) but because as Gwen said "this kitten was a creature with a tremendous capacity for love. He wasn't scared or desperate to be loved, the way you would expect a kitten or even a person who'd experienced nothing but pain, hunger and fear to be" "In addition to not knowing he was blind, Homer had also clearly never been informed of his "under achiever" status".
"Fortune Favors The Brave" is a recurring theme in this touching story. Not just for Homer, (oh yes he could catch and destroy flies he could not see with a single leap, he could scale the most intimidating furniture, protect Gwen and ultimately quite possibly have saved her life (you'll have to read the book to find out more about this!), explore with a fearlessness and agility that even the most daring of cats would envy), but for Gwen as well. Through her life with Homer, Gwen exhibited her own style of bravery through events that would unravel the best of us. Gwen and Homer weren't just experiencing an individual odyssey. Each one was a necessary component to the quest for what an odyssey actually is, "an extended adventurous voyage or trip, an intellectual or spiritual quest" "An ODYSSEY of discovery, it is usually marked by many changes of fortune."
There is not a pet lover, a mother of a child, or a mother of a special needs child who cannot relate to the fierce protectiveness that Gwen exhibited if she felt Homer and her other two cats were threatened.
Some quotes from Homer's Odyssey that really struck home with me were:
"Sometimes, to get the things that were good in life, you had to make a blind leap"
"Sometimes the thing you were looking for could only be found in the very last place you would have expected"
"When you see something so fundamentally worthwhile in somebody else, you don't look for all the reasons that might keep it out of your life. You commit to being strong enough to build your life around it, no matter what."
Back in 2001 I took the biggest "leap of faith" in my life. I left a job I had for 21 and a half years to move from Ohio to Michigan, a place where I had no family or friends but knew I had to be in order to give a relationship a chance with a man who later became my husband.
It was a terrifying decision to ponder, but in my heart I knew it was a necessary decision. The decision changed my life in many ways, it opened me to people, places, experiences I may have never met or otherwise had if I had not left my "comfort zone".
Through having the courage to make a change and experience various job endings it has shown me I possess a strength I never knew I had. (Oh yes I was always a determined cuss but this was different!) It hasn't been easy, the old adage is true, " nothing worth having in life comes easily". It has led me to hopefully a new future as a freelance writer (who'd a thunk it after having spent 20+ years in advertising?)
|Cody looking at his hero, "Homer"|
As Gwen said about Homer, "Homer had taught me that there was great joy to be found in great risks." "For he is "El Mocho", the cat without fear", I say thank you to Gwen for sharing the story of "Homer's Odyssey".