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— By TAMMY FRAZIER

Managing editor

Spoiler alert!

If sad stories about animals just ruins your day, then look away.

But there is an upside: This story has a moral to it, one that we can all use in our dealings with animals and with each other.

I saw an article on Pinterest lately that told the story about a persecuted cat that people in its neighborhood named “Ugly Cat.” It was given this name because it was… well… ugly: It had lost an eye, it was a bit mangy, it had lost its tail, etc.

The people in this cat’s neighborhood would try to chase it away by squirting water on it, throwing rocks at it and generally persecuting this cat. But, to its credit and will to stand his ground, the cat would just sit in one spot and take the abuse. And if someone went up to it to try and protect it, the cat would curl up on the person’s feet.

And it someone did show it affection, it would purr and try to suckle the person’s finger - just wanting a bit of love.

As I’m reading this, I’m waiting for the feel-good part where the author of the story takes the cat in and gives it the family it always wanted.

That feel-good ending didn’t come.

The writer told of how one day, he heard this poor cat screeching because a dog had gotten to it. Without the horrible details, suffice it to say that the cat was mortally wounded. The person ran to the cat and chased the dog away, but could see that it was too late. The person wrapped the cat up in a shirt and held it.

The surprising thing was that the cat started to purr and tried to suckle on the person’s ear. It found a little love and comfort when it died. It seems that all it ever wanted was some love, attention, and acceptance.

Whew!

What a story, right?

Well the moral is that despite looks, everything and everyone needs love.

It doesn’t matter that a cat has no tail and only one eye; it doesn’t matter if a dog has a limp or is missing a limb; it doesn’t matter that any of God’s creatures is not as ‘attractive’ as another:

It is a living being and needs love.

And what about humans?

Sometimes we shun a person because of his or her looks or the person’s race - as if their outer appearance should somehow overshadow what that person is inside.

The story of the “Ugly Cat” should remind us that, no matter who we are and how we look, no matter what unfortunate circumstances has affected someone - or something - every person needs to be treated with dignity and kindness. Too many people are being treated unfairly because of the way they look - race and all; or because of the way they want to worship God; or because of anything that is really of no consequence in the ‘big picture.’

All we are really looking for is love and acceptance.

Right?

I really have to try and remember that because I’m a bit of a germaphobe and will walk a mile around an animal that may have ‘skin issues.’ So, am going to try and be more tolerant.

And, to lighten the mood, we have to remember that it’s been said that every family has someone who is considered the one who’s not the ‘prettiest bow in the box,’ as the older folks used to say.

And, guess what, each one of us might be that one in our family, they just might not be telling us to our faces. Ha!

(Hmmm. I’m beginning to believe I’m the one in mine. wink)

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