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The Real Pao

Pao Collage

The author, Regina Brant (pseudonym), an Information Technology professional, and her husband, Gary, a financial advisor, had not been blessed with children. Instead, they focused their love and attention on their two felines: Lucia, 6, was a magnificent, albeit feisty, Tuxedo and Kay Cee, 14, a sweet-natured, pastel Calico.

The blended family – both humans and kitties – were becoming bored with their well-practiced daily routines, and Regina felt the need to adopt a kitten to enliven their lives with unpredictable kitten antics. ONE DAY IT HAPPENED.

Regina was getting supplies at her favorite pet supply store when she discovered that it was kitty adoption day in the store. She wandered over to the display of furry adoptees who were either looking out forlornly from variously-sized cages, or being cuddled by their enchanted prospective owners and by rescue staff personnel. Then she spotted him. He was peering out sadly from his cage, a magnificent, blue-eyed, fluffy white Persian kitten.

She asked one of the rescuers, a woman, to let her hold the kitten, and the woman carefully lifted him from the cage and placed him in Regina’s arms. Next she asked if she could let him run around a bit, and the rescue worker ushered Regina into a back room filled with boxes of paper, a large table and miscellaneous store supplies. Closing the door behind them, she nodded as Regina placed the blue-eyed charmer on the floor. Immediately the kitten began an amazing dash as if spring-released from a box. He bounded from stacks of paper to table to floor in a dizzying acrobatic performance, stopping short only when he heard the sharp, “No” from the rescue worker. Regina quickly picked up the kitten, turned to the woman and asked his name.

“Joey,” she stated curtly, motioning Regina to follow her back to the cage where “Joey” had been confined.

“He’s perfect,” Regina smiled. I want to adopt him.”

“First we have to check you out, and we’ll need a check from you for $200.00 as a donation to our organization,” the rescuer shot back.

Regina filled out the necessary papers and was told to return to the store in a week to pick up little Joey, that is, if her background check proved to be OK. She was back on the appointed day with carrier and check in hand and her skeptical husband in tow. They were escorted back to the supply room, and Joey was brought in to them. Once again, Regina asked if he could be allowed to run around, and before she could finish her sentence, Joey was again on the floor doing his acrobatics. Her husband was sold! Joey was theirs.

One thing bothered Regina. The exquisite little kitty just did not look like a “Joey” to her. She felt that he had to have a more sophisticated name. Having loved stories about St. Paul, the Apostle, Regina thought that “Paul” might be a better name, but, then again, “Paul” was kind of a usual name, which would not suit perfectly the unusual qualities of the kitten. She was taking Italian lessons at that time with Professoressa Geraldina, an Irish woman who had lived in Italy for several years while obtaining her advanced degree in history. Inspired by Geraldina, Regina decided to “go Italian” to the name “Paolo,” but because the kitten was so small, she dubbed him “Paolino” or “little Paul” with the nickname “Pao.” And so it was to be: “Paolino,” the perfect name for the perfectly beautiful little Persian male kitten who would change Regina’s life forever.

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