by Carolyn Canouse
In December 2018, Make a Miracle brought a small team down to Peru for our Christmas outreach. We hosted party after party, gave out tons of gifts, and made wonderful memories with the kids and families in San Juan de Lurigancho. Here is one of my favorite memories.
One morning, during our trip, my daughter Rachel walked into the place we were staying (Pat's Place shelter for women and children) and said very seriously "We have a situation." Her best friend Gianna, visiting from the states with our team, followed Rachel in holding a tiny kitten in her arms. She said "She was in the park alone and I couldn't let her die." Oh man, what to do with a tiny kitten? Thankfully my sister Shannon, who jokingly refers to herself as "crazy cat lady," knew what to do. She gave her a bath in a tiny bowl to get the fleas off (so many fleas!) and made her a little bed with a cardboard box. I spoke with Laura (who manages Pat's Place) about the kitten. She said we could keep her at the shelter, to teach the older kids responsibility and act somewhat as a "therapy cat" for these children that had been through so much. She looked at the kitty and said "Your name is Chispita, which means sparkle in English." To us it sounded like "cheese pizza" and this helped us remember her name. My sister and two of our other friends said they would continuously pay for vet care, as well as food. We were so happy! Problem solved. RIGHT?
Fast forward to the next morning. One of the young men who lives at Pat's Place came running into our apartment, gesturing with his arms and breathing heavy. "I was walking the dog in the park, and there was a baby kitten that was being chased by some dogs that were trying to kill her so I saved his life!" I asked where this kitten might be and he said "In my sister's room!" Oh man...what did he do? There are many strays in SJL, and we can't take them all in! How could we blame this kid with a big heart....he did what he saw us do the day before.
Shannon got out the bowl again for the kitty's flea bath and cleaned him up and dried him off. We put him in with Chispita, and they immediately cuddled together in the box. Could they be brother and sister? They were in the same park, one day apart. Sure enough, the vet also believes they are siblings...both only 2 1/2 weeks old when they were found. We named him "Pepperoni Pizza", which the kids got a kick out of. This was Make a Miracle's first animal outreach, and the cats are now 1 1/2 years old. Pepperoni comes running to you for affection, while Chispita is a little more chill. The teens at Pat's Place care for them, and that includes dressing them in the winter so they won't be cold. Shannon has supplied cat toys and clothes, in addition to the food and vet care.
Make a Miracle believes community outreach also includes animal care, which we call "Paws of Lima." We have partnered with Dr. Beatriz, a local veterinarian who gives us a substantial discount. We are plan to host free vet clinics in the hill communities so people can bring their pets in and also learn how to best care for them. These will begin when it's safe to host events again due to the Coronavirus. Until then, we are helping animals on a case by case basis. You can learn more about our outreach here: https://www.makeamiracle.net/pawsoflima.
Carolyn is the President and Co-founder of Make a Miracle.