Chuck is my inspiration. In the thirteen years I have known him I have always known him to be a free spirit. At the risk of sounding anthropomorphic, he really does seem to think and feel and know exactly what he wants. And, he seems to ask for exactly what he wants in no uncertain terms.

Chuck is actually my wonderful neighbor’s cat. He was an indoor/outdoor cat; free to roam and come home as he liked for many of his 12½ years. He chose different neighbors to hang with but he was always my neighbor’s cat. Then in 2002 my husband was outside grilling salmon while I was out. Chuck sauntered up and essentially said, “Hey, I’m Chuck. What’s for lunch?” The rest is history. For years, Chuck would come over everyday and hang out with us. As time passed he stayed longer hours until he just never left.

Now six years later Chuck is 18½. He is plagued with some of the unfortunate diseases that afflict elderly cats. We take great care of him and administer meds and other veterinary aids - as well as all the basics and all the extras. In the winter, he is a little heat magnet and curls up between us in the bed with us at night and in the summer he sleeps up on the bookcase under the window in his favorite bed.

He is still a happy cat with lots of life in him and a beautiful sparkle in his eyes. He brings us joy and laughter everyday. Even when he has a little accident outside the box or turns his nose up at a freshly opened can of food, our love for him grows daily. Being able to memorialize him in pictures has been a real gift to us and to our neighbor who visits often.

Chuck will live forever in our hearts and memories and in pictures.