People spend a lot of time making decisions about the end of their lives, and one of most folks’ biggest anxieties is what’s going to happen to their pets.
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It’s a painful part of the life cycle, but animals are often shuffled off to an animal shelter when their elderly owner passes away or can no longer care for them. Angela Rafuse of Nova Scotia, Canada, encountered one such situation back in 2020.
Some of Angela’s happiest childhood memories center around her grandparents, Esther and Byron Rafuse. The couple always had a lot of animals, including cats, dogs, bunnies, chickens, birds, and even a pig. They raised three children and were proud grandparents to six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
When Byron passed away in 2019, no one in the family wanted to take in the last of their pets, a rather grumpy 14-year-old feline named Mackenzie. Angela knew her grandpa would be heartbroken if he knew the cat went to a shelter, especially since it would be difficult to find a home for an older animal with a personality as challenging as Mackenzie’s.
She decided to adopt the cat herself, and it wasn’t easy winning the cat’s love! On their first Christmas together, she shared a video of Mackenzie’s antics on TikTok that went viral.
Along with all of the likes came a barrage of comments from strangers all over the world. Many people shared stories about inheriting a pet from a family member, which sparked an idea for Angela.
“The more I shared our story, the more I realized so many other families went through this, so I decided to start this charity to help,” she said.
The charity is called, appropriately, My Grandfather’s Cat, and they work with senior citizens and the terminally ill to arrange for someone to adopt their pets after they pass away or move into retirement homes. It’s a way to put power back in their hands and keep pets out of shelters, and it works!
“They get to interview each family that’s interested in adopting their animal, and ultimately they choose who adopts their animal,” she explained.
In about two years, My Grandfather’s Cat has found homes for more than 100 pets! They’ve also expanded their army of volunteers and are working from coast-to-coast in Canada to help rehome pets for people nearing the end of their lives. The service is free of charge.
Angela’s TikTok audience has grown too, and Mackenzie is internet-famous! A sweater bearing her cantankerous face is the best-selling item on the charity’s online shop. Angela has truly found a way to transform a painful situation into a mission to help others cope with the inevitable.
Share this story to show your appreciation for her ingenuity and kindness.
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