Cory Chapman wrote -
One of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave to me was growing up in a house with pets. It instilled in me the deepest love and respect for animals. It allowed me to know truly unconditional love and joy. And since I was born, there has been far less time in my life spent without a pet than with one - thankfully.
ABOUT THE FUNDRAISER: In the wake of my son Noah's passing, and as we approach my birthday July 11, I'd humbly ask any of my most generous friends (many of whom have already made overtures about how best to pay tribute to NoNo) to consider donating to this fund for the Nashville Humane Association (http://nashvillehumane.org/). It's a non-kill shelter in Davidson County. It's where Noah chose me, and where one of the absolute brightest chapters of my life began.
ABOUT NOAH/NO-NO/DADDY'S BOY: In March 2011, following the passing of my cat I'd had for more than 13 years, I adopted my sweet Noah boy from Nashville Humane Association. It's a relationship I entered quite timidly, still reeling from a profound loss. But all trepidation was soon eviscerated, and I came to enjoy the absolutely most loving, fulfilling, spectacular pet relationship that I can even fathom.
When I met Noah that March day, the name on his cage read "Stranger," so deeply ironic in that he never met a stranger. His disposition was unparalleled where cats are concerned. Noah loved EVERYBODY. He wasn't one to run and hide but rather to join the party. He loved to be picked up, to be thrown over a shoulder and to freely (and voraciously) lick one's forehead. He'd purr and kneed. He'd bury his face in my side.
He was playful as could be -- whether hiding behind the shower curtain to jump out at you, chasing the "red bug" (i.e. laser pointer), pushing around empty sweetener packets or cotton swabs, or just rough housing. He was quick with love, eager to beg, and as Matthew says, more than "a little sassy" (as evidenced by his manipulating Matthew out of what Noah considered his spot on the sofa more than once).
NoNo suffered a bit of separation anxiety and hated to be alone, but I reassured him constantly that, "Daddy always comes home." His wake-up call came early each day, as he was always ready for his morning treats. He'd pop onto the bed and climb up on the pillow next to us, usually staring us down and waiting for the slightest bit of movement, at which time he'd start to nuzzle our chins and lick our faces until we got up. Waking to that scenario was no nuisance, though. Quite the contrary. It was my favorite. And it was always our pleasure to oblige that angel. Of course, with Matthew working from the house, Noah eventually decided he should ask for treats about six times a day. That boy...
He loved to go outside and roll around on the patio, but as soon as he'd make his way to munch on some grass, recess was over. :-) Noah hated the car rides between Knoxville and Nashville, but he loved his second home at Aunt Mitzi's and getting to see his cousin Berkley. He loved to race up the stairs behind you, passing you along the way and zooming ahead.
My boy was smart. He knew he was allowed on the bathroom counters when daddy went in there, but knew he not dare get on the kitchen counter. He thought about it sometimes (and certainly roamed freely in our sleeping or away hours), but he knew better when people were around. Also, one of my favorite things was that no matter where he was in the house, if we made three smooch noises, he'd come. He knew that was his call. And in the same way, our variation of "no" (which we needed when his name was effectively NoNo) was a "nyeah, nyeah, nyeah" sound, to which he'd stop whatever mischief he was causing. Smart boy.
There will never be another NoNo. His one-of-a-kind spirit, his happy-go-lucky attitude, his constant affection... It's no exaggeration to say we are absolutely heartbroken, that our home now feels empty. Of course loss is part of living, and we recognize that hardships ease with time. And we take comfort in knowing that gentle, irreplaceable soul will live forever in our hearts. I'll always be beyond grateful that he came into my life -- however briefly.