He’s a small white and tan cat, and he belongs to Hospice of East Texas.
He chose us, appearing in the back garden behind HomePlace one day, hanging around like he wanted to make friends. A little shy at first, he roamed the edge of the woods, timidly crossing the lawn on occasion to sit in the sun by the gazebo. Staff and patient families spoke to him as he sauntered by, and slowly he let us know that he had found his home.
One day, LaStasha named him: Peanut Butter.
The nurses started putting out little bowls of food and water on the patio. Courtney bought him a cat house and a bed. Lisa bought cat toys. Courtney bought him a second cat house and a climbing tree. Brittnee Cagle from “Spay Neuter NOW” heard about Peanut Butter and arranged for him to get his vaccinations, had him neutered and fitted with a microchip, free of charge. A family member of a patient painted his portrait. When the weather was cold, he cuddled in his house by the glass door and watched the traffic inside. People in the hallways. People on the phones at the nurses’ station. When the weather turned warm again, Peanut Butter sunned on the lawn furniture, chased the birds at the feeders, acted the way some cats act, like he owned the place.
Over these months, Peanut Butter has not only found a home, he has found a mission. In the gardens around HomePlace, families watch and wait, seeking solace in nature’s beauty, and as an outside cat, Peanut Butter seems to know who needs attention. He slides up next to a lady sitting on a garden bench, rests by her leg, lets her know he’s there. He walks back and forth in front of a gentleman who’s pacing the grounds, keeping him company. He charms little children, filling the air with their squeals and giggles, but he’s too quick
for them to catch. When patients can go outside, sometimes in wheelchairs, sometimes in their hospital beds, Peanut Butter is especially watchful. He seems to know that those days, with the last touch of the sun on their faces, are precious and sacred.
There are many things that make the experience at HomePlace special. Extraordinary care and medical attention. Complimentary meals provided by a caring community. A play room for the children. The gentle touch and listening ear of volunteers. To that list of special things about HomePlace, we can now add one more: Peanut Butter. For many families, his is that “extra touch” of comfort, offered with no words, just a caring presence, wrapped in white and tan fur.