October 24, 2020

Willow & Xander-Best Friends For Life


By Lorie Lewis Ham

I have been involved in animal rescue for 15 years. I spent many years running a small animal rescue, then life stepped in and I no longer had the time or energy. So my ties to animal rescue now are my own pets, and I publish an online magazine called Kings River Life that has animal rescue articles every month https://kingsriverlife.com/category/pet-perspective/.

Most of our pets are rescued, and most didn’t come into my life because I was actually seeking a pet to rescue, they kind of found me. Our calico cat Willow is one of the most recent ones. Last summer I was doing what I do all too often, looking at the posts of local animal rescues on my Facebook. It was the middle of summer and here in the Fresno area the heat is brutal. An animal rescue friend of mine posted about three little kittens that someone had dumped off at the local cemetery.


Now I know good and well that looking at posts like this is something I should not do because we are full to overflowing already, but there I was. The little boy kitten was taken by a local rescue, but the two little calico girls needed homes. I messaged her and asked some questions. It turned out that they had been found by someone just a few blocks from us, and she was taking care of them until homes could be found. So, against my better judgment, I went to take a look.

The family who found them had decided to keep one of the sisters but brought the other one out for us to see. She was a malnourished, tiny little thing with big eyes. She looked like an anime kitty. But in her own way, she was not only cute, but beautiful. Those colors were amazing. We of course took the little munchkin home and set her up in our bathroom so she could be safe from all of our dogs. Within a couple of days, we had named her Willow, after one of my favorite characters in Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Willow ate well and quickly became a tiny little bundle of fluff, looking more like a normal kitten than an anime cat. From the very beginning, this abandoned little girl was full of spunk and fight and she has continued to grow and thrive. She is now a big, beautiful calico girl, but she is just as crazy and full of spunk as ever. Her favorite place is still the bathroom because she loves water and will jump in the shower and splash around.


A few months after bringing Willow home, someone dumped a terrified little black and tan puppy at the library where I work part time. It took me an hour to catch him because he was so scared. I took him home expecting to find him a home or a spot in a local rescue, but he quickly became part of the family. What clinched our decision to keep him was that he and Willow instantly became best friends–these two were meant to be together and meant to be with us. His name was a no brainer–Xander was Willow’s best friend in Buffy.


Xander is sweet and crazy smart. He just graduated from obedience class with flying colors! And he’s gone from the scaredest puppy I’ve ever seen, to a sweet, silly boy full of energy.

They are both just over a year old now and he and Willow are still best friends. You should see them play–I’ve never seen anything like it between a dog and a cat. I will never understand how people can just dump animals. They are living, breathing beings full of love and life, just waiting to share that unconditional love with you. If there is some reason you can’t keep an animal, please, please find them a good new home, or turn them over to a rescue. You wouldn’t just dump a baby in a hot July cemetery, or out in the dark in front of a library, why would you do this to an animal?


Lorie Lewis Ham is the editor-in-chief of Kings River Life Magazine and has been writing and publishing since the age of 13. Kings River Life covers entertainment, community and human interest, with a pet section that includes animal rescue, therapy animals, short stories and more. 

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