Before we tell you about Miss Ellie, we need to tell you about a wonderful little place of peace and memory that was built in 1946 on a 20-acre farm south of Kansas City, Missouri.
Wayside Waif's Top of the World Cemetery was founded as a place where beloved animal companions could be laid to rest. Years later, it was enlarged and renamed the Wayside Waifs Pet Memorial Park. Over 12,000 pets are interred here, making it one of the largest pet cemeteries in the United States.
Both Ryker and his older brother Caleb are here, as are the companions of several friends we know. It is a place of serenity and reflection.
Wayside's adjacent Pet Memorial Services building is run by a staff of compassionate people who understand the pain of loss and who see it on a daily basis.
But the most amazing aspect to Wayside's Pet Memorial Services isn't found in its peaceful beauty nor its sympathetic staff, nor its comforting chapel.
You see it in the soulful green eyes of a medium-haired dilute calico by the name of Miss Ellie. Miss Ellie is a full-time employee at Wayside Memorial Services. She is their Comfort Cat.
Where to begin when describing Miss Ellie? She is patient, she is affectionate. She is fearless where strangers are concerned.
She has been known to walk slowly and deliberately up to a grieving person and jump onto the empty seat next to them. After assessing the situation with wise green eyes, she'd settle onto the table facing the one who has lost their companion as if to say, "I feel your pain and I'm here for you."
When people come in, invariably she is there with her soothing ways.
Like the time a grieving family came to say goodbye one last time....
The memorial chapel was filled to overflowing with family and friends. And one lonely little boy, seated in the front row.
He sat, desperately trying to grasp why he would never see his best buddy, his furry companion, ever again.
Amidst all this walked Miss Ellie. She sedately picked her way through the crowd of strangers, walked up the center aisle and jumped up into the young boy's lap.
She stayed with him through it all.
How do you think she knew?
Some animals just have that sense, that compassion.
|The incomparable Miss E. Photo: Amy Palmer|
Miss Ellie is one of them. There is just something about Miss Ellie. You find yourself burying your hands in her fur as she purrs and kneads, and suddenly the pain isn't quite so insurmountable.
Yes, Miss Ellie is a full-time Wayside employee - but she loves her work, and Wayside Memorial Services is fortunate to have her.
Thank you, Miss Ellie.
Did you know that yesterday was National Pet Memorial Day? The day was established over 40 years ago by a nonprofit organization dedicated to the afterlife care of our pets, the International Association Of Pet Cemeteries & Crematories. This post was inspired both by the day of recognition and by our desire to recognize the much-valued work of service animals the world over.