Spooky J.C. Daly
7/16/1994 – 4/23/2013
Living in Glenwood Springs in 1994, I was the ripe old age of 8 years old. The local shopping mall had the coolest store inside: not just a toy shop, but a pet shop as well! It might as well have been Disneyland, and each time I was at the mall with my parents we HAD to stop by to see if there were any dogs or cats in the window display.
I couldn’t believe my luck that day- new 8 week old kittens in the window! I begged my mother to let me ask the store clerk if I could pet one or two of them. I felt like I won the lottery when they both said yes.
Rushing over to the display, I selected a little black kitten to fawn over first. While holding and playing with the little black kitten, I glanced back into the display. A light brown, white and black colored kitten, scrawny and awkward, was looking at me and toddling over to where I was standing. I placed the little black kitten back in the display, and picked up the tri-colored runt of the group, and kissed him on top of his head over and over.
I didn’t get the chance to hold him for long before my mother said we had to go home. Feeling bonded already, it was one of the worst moments of my childhood to place the kitten back in the display and leave. It was love at first sight, after all. As we rounded the corner out of the store, we had to pass by the window display again on the way out. By that time, there was a large group of people tapping the glass and watching the kittens play. I had to stop for another moment to stare at the little kitten I had held. I snuck my way to the front of the group of people, at one point crawling on the floor through people’s legs, and popping up right in front. He noticed me through the glass immediately, and made his way over to me just as he had done before. A litter box was in the way and instead of walking through the clean litter box, he attempted to balance on the edges of the box and at one point fell over. He finally made it to the window, and chose to stand in front of me, ignoring all of the other people vying for any of the kittens’ attention.
I turned around and made eye contact with my mother. I imagine the look on my face was similar to the wide-eyed Puss-In-Boots from the movie Shrek. She looked down at me, having made her way through the crowd as well to stand next to me, and asked me what I would name him if he were mine. I thought for a moment, realizing the responsibility of naming another being, and felt pressured to come up with a name quickly. My 8 year old mind felt as though if I didn’t name him right away, we wouldn’t adopt him.
I knew my parents had named me after a Beatles song, their favorite band. The mall intercom was playing… well, mall music, not exactly the ‘hits of today’. The ‘Atlanta Rhythm Section’s’ Spooky song was playing.
I blurted out, “I would name him Spooky.”
Now, I am a 27 year old woman, I don’t remember much about that day after that moment in the mall. What I do remember is the car ride home, bursting with excitement at the cardboard cat carrier – awkward kitten inside – at my feet.
Spooky “Jungle Cat” Daly was my best friend for almost 19 years. The pain I feel about the recent loss of my constant companion is unreal. What does feel real is how blessed I am to have experienced the kind of love few people get the chance to in life. I will forever cherish my last moments with him, holding my tri-colored runt, and kissing him on top of his head over and over.