BlackJack’s peaceful kingdom (my apartment) was invaded last week – by a cat.
A 31-pound cocker spaniel-poodle mix, BlackJack is used to having run of the place. The couch is his. All the toys are his. When he wants to get my attention, he’ll grab one of my socks and run, shredding it to pieces if I don’t join the game quickly enough. In the end, I buy more socks.
Around 11 p.m. Jan. 21, though, another creature entered his domain.
He was a hefty cat I found crouched in the bushes outside the Daily Chronicle building on Barber Greene Road in DeKalb. I stopped by the newsroom to grab some forgotten paperwork, and he announced his presence with a loud meow.
I said hello. He meowed. I informed him the temperature was supposed to drop well below zero overnight. The wind chills were expected to be between minus 25 and minus 15. He meowed. I informed him I was pretty sure that was too cold for cats. He licked my car.
He clearly wasn’t a stray. He let me scoop him into BlackJack’s traveling crate. I made a quick stop at Walmart for kitty essentials and treats and hoped BlackJack wouldn’t notice if I just left BlackJack in his big crate in the apartment.
He noticed. The barking immediately started. And the cat announced through loud, mournful meows that he wasn’t accustomed to being shut in a bathroom with wet cat food, a bowl of water and a small litter box. He howled loudly for the next several hours.
The next day, I had my mom call local animal rescues while I shuffled to the county courthouse for work.
The ladies at the DeKalb County Animal Shelter, 16173 Baseline Road, Genoa, found a microchip that led them back to his owners. They are from DeKalb, his name is Junior, and he’s going home soon.
DeKalb County Animal Shelter doesn’t have a time limit for shelter stays, so adoptable animals are welcome to stay there as long as it takes to find them a home, director Roberta Shoaf said. The shelter can house up to 100 cats and about 40 dogs.
DeKalb County Animal Shelter is not affiliated with county government and is a nonprofit organization. You can donate by calling 815-784-5924 or by going to dekalbcountyanimalshelter.org.
The organization also will host a wine-tasting fundraiser and art show from 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 6 at the DeKalb County Community Foundation, 475 DeKalb Ave., Sycamore. Advance tickets are available by calling 815-784-5924.
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Speaking of lost animals: Grace, the mosaic husky statue taken from We Care Pregnancy Center, 403 N. Fifth St., DeKalb, around Thanksgiving is still missing.
Grace was created when Northern Illinois University student Lauren Meranda covered a fiberglass dog statue with broken pieces of pottery and china as part of 2008’s Huskies on Parade.
The public art project benefited a scholarship fund in honor of the five students who died in the Feb. 14, 2008, shooting at NIU.
Grace isn’t the first Huskies on Parade dog to be stolen. Last spring, a similar statue was taken from the DeKalb Public Library and found with chipped ears and some scratches about two weeks later in Afton Forest Preserve.
In July 2010, “Media Hound,” the Huskies on Parade dog created by NIU’s Media Services Department, was taken from Still Hall, which is on College Avenue on the NIU campus. It was found a few days later, slightly damaged and lying on its side, in the 500 block of Normal Road.
Pregnancy clinic executive director Katie Mehne is keeping hope that her husky will be found, too.
“We’re so disappointed,” Mehne said. “... It was just before Thanksgiving, and I’m afraid she has left the area.”
If you see Grace, call We Care Pregnancy Clinic at 815-748-4242, DeKalb police at 815-748-8400 or Crime Stoppers at 815-895-3272.
• Jillian Duchnowski is news editor of the Daily Chronicle. Reach her at 815-756-4841, ext. 2221, or firstname.lastname@example.org.