A friend of mine posted this on her page and it made me wish I could tell Coconut’s family how much I appreciate everything they did for him when he was a puppy.

We got Coconut when he was fourteen-months old. He could sit, stay, nibble nicely from my hand, and it was obvious he was once a pet. He was underweight and because he was such a runner after we got him we think he ran and could not find his way back home. He wasn’t microchipped and didn’t have a collar. I think of how sad his family must have been and how they still might wonder if he’s alive and doing well.

My friend did what we all wish we could do. It’s a wonderful story and you have my permission to shed a few tears.

Usually, when we adopt pets from shelters we don’t learn their backstories.

When I adopted my cat, sixteen years ago, I was grateful to learn hers. She had been a kitten with a purpose, to provide comfort to a woman dying from cancer. The woman, Rose, gave her kitten the name Pepper. After Rose died, her sister, Terry, put Pepper up for adoption through a local shelter.

I was pleased to meet Terry and learn Pepper’s story. I decided to keep Pepper’s name and I added “Rose” as her middle name to honor her mama in heaven. Through the years, Pepper’s name has received lots of attention—mostly because it sounds more like I rescued her from a burlesque show than a shelter.

Anyhow, I recently found Pepper’s adoption papers and I noticed Terry’s signature. I decided to check Facebook to see if I could find her. There she was! I sent her a PM with a picture of now seventeen-year-old Pepper.

Terry was thrilled to see the photo and to know that her sister’s name lived on in what was once her beloved kitten. “She brought my sister so much love and joy!” Terry wrote. Pepper has brought me so much love and joy, too. She continues to be a cat with a purpose, linking the past with the present through shared memories of Rose, who was loved.