Backstory: When Garfield’s mommy passed away, his auntie Linda took him in, even though she couldn’t keep him due to her allergies. She knew he needed a safe, forever home, so she started networking his gorgeous orangeness through the power of Facebook.
Lo and behold, an angel named Karen fell in love with him! But with Garfield in Oklahoma and Karen in Pennsylvania… Well, there was only one option to make this love story come true – the Kitty Love Train! Choo-Choo!!! ♥
All the usual hard work commenced behind the scenes. The transport folks at URRKN pulled this one off and the train was ready to hit the tracks on Saturday, August 4th with Julia at the wheel. Here’s a shot of Garfield’s first ride.
The day before Julia hitting the road with Garfield, she told URRKN, “I am SOO excited about this “Love Train.” Truthfully, I have been wanting for several years to be a driver in kitty transports. I signed up for the Maine Coon Rescue transports but I guess they never needed anyone in my desolate part of the country. I spoke tonight with Linda, Garfield’s foster mom (before I had spoken with Rocky, her husband). They have everything on the checklist to travel with Garfield, food, water, carrier, litterbox, blanket for over carrier, etc. He is a very laid back boy, they say. I am happy to be part of getting him to his furrever home!”
Julia and Garfield had alot of time to get to know each other. They traveled from Oklahoma to Missouri together. Julia made sure that her chariot came with all of the amenities of a first class rail car – check it out. (Now, of course, Garfield was not out roaming while the car was moving. This shot is at one of the rest stops.)
Here’s Garfield stretching his legs and getting some love at one of this rest stops.
Once Garfield made it to Missouri, it was time for him to meet Julie, who would take him a little further into Missouri. Here’s a shot of Julie and Garfield getting acquainted (Garfield seems to see something he likes outside, though!)
Next conductor for Garfield? Teri! Looks like Garfield’s getting a little more love, but he’s still intent on what’s OUTSIDE that car! (One of the reasons we have the procedure in place to NEVER open car doors when kitty is out of the carrier – you never know what curious kitty might do!)
Little man is clearly relaxed and calm and enjoying this trip. Catching a little cat nap here waiting for his next ride.
Here are Teri and Paula Jo at their hand off spot. Garfield looking as handsome as ever inside that carrier.
PJ and Garfield then headed off to Illinois to meet up with Sue. Here’s PJ making the transfer from one first class ride to another.
And here’s Garfield settling in for the next leg of his trip. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll be stopping at a 5-star B&B in just a bout an hour or so. Wait til he sees it! He’ll be so excited!!!
Here is one of the first shots of Garfield checking out his accommodations.
Clearly he’s satisfied as he settles down for a bath
Pose for you? Ok. Just one or two pictures, though, ok?
I’m done posing. You rub my belly now, ok?
All this traveling has made me sleepy, but I don’t know if I want to sleep, I might miss something….zzzzzzz……
Sunday, August 5th dawned with Garfield’s second (and last) day on the road. Here are Sue and Deanna with Garfield. Here’s what Deanna told us early that morning “1:50am here in Springfield. I’m sure Garfield is enjoying his accommodations at Sue’s B&B. Me? Oh, a little too excited to sleep right now. IRL, I worked for two railroads in my life, but neither was as flat-out COOL as this one! I can’t wait to meet Garfield in the morning. I can’t wait to head east to Terre Haute. I can’t wait to hand him over to Kelly, and see him off on his next leg. One step closer to home. ♥”
Deanna and Garfield headed off to Indiana to meet up with Kelly and get Garfield that one step closer to home that Deanna talked about earlier! Apparently Garfield is multi-talented and was able to send us this text message from Deanna’s phone “Hi! Garfield here. Just got out of Deanna’s car, and into Kelly’s. Had so much to tell Deanna, and she seemed to be interested in all my stories. Hope Kelly & her Mom are, too! Deanna said she enjoyed our trip… I did, too. Getting closer and closer to home. Choo Choo!”
I sure hope he gave her the phone back before he and Kelly drove away!!!
As often happens on these transports, it looks like Garfield picked up a new toy along the way!! And, as usual, his eyes look like he’s looking at “something” outside that carrier. Such a sweet little face. Have I mentioned how much I love this little man? No? Ok, well, I do. Never met him, but I love him. Anyway……
Kelly and Garfield headed on down the road to meet up with Anita in Indianapolis. At a rest stop with Anita, and looking like he’s ready to roll!!
Just relaxing with Anita and waiting for Sandy to arrive to take him one step further.
Here are Anita and Sandy getting to meet and say hi while they get ready for Garfield to hit the road with Sandy.
Sandy then cruised on down the road to meet Donna who would be the lucky one to hand Garfield over to his new momma Karen!! Donna caught this picture of Garfield and Karen meeting for the first time. Donna also let us know that,
” I finally handed Garfield over to Karen after 9:00 pm last night! What a great little traveller his is! We liked the same kind of music and he didn’t mind my singing one bit….These are great pics of him- it was so nice to meet Sandy and Karen & Co. My pics I took are terrible, sorry. Can’t wait to do this again!“
Here he is, gotta be wondering “am I really home”
Thinking about coming out of the bigger crate at home to check things out
Hmmm…ok….this looks promising
Crap! There’s something behind me, isn’t there?
The happy, smiling face of a kitty who knows he’s HOME!
As always, conductors who participate in these transports spend a few days on, what I call, a “warm, fuzzy high”. The feeling of doing something good, for someone you don’t know, to help a furball get safely to a place where it has a second chance at a happy life is indescribable. You really have to participate in a transport to know what I’m talking about. Trust me, I’ve done three. And all of my friends have commented on my silly smile for days after the transports were complete. I’ve cried (happy tears), and spend hours driving home alone, after handing the kitties off to their next conductor. It’s amazing how good you feel after doing this. But it’s also not just about the conductors. It’s about the rescuers and the fosters (in this case Linda and Rocky who stepped up when Garfield lost his mom). It’s about the transport coordinators who spend hours upon hours making sure that everything falls into place behind the scenes so that transport day/weekend runs smoothly. Don’t just take my word for it.
Deanna said, “Linda and Rocky, it was so wonderful for you to take Garfield in, especially at such a sad time for you. And you worked so, so hard to find him a loving home, and to find a way to get him there. You two started Garfield’s love train! And in my humble opinion, you did right by this cat. You took him in, loved him, cared for him, worked your butts off to find him a new home, put the love train in motion… you did right by Garfield. We all appreciate everything you did for him. THANK YOU!!! ♥”
Julia said, “I want to give a huge shoutout to the transport coordinators and all of the wonderful people who run the URRKN! I drove a few miles with a cat in a carrier in my car. Not a big deal and not a lot of work. You all work hard to coordinate these transports and make sure that the VIP is taken care of as he/she should be and that the drivers are responsible. I’ve had friends and family ask, why?? Why not just go to the shelter in their town where there are probably 20 cats needing a home and surely one they would love. I think that is true so I don’t have a very good answer, when it comes to the adoption of a cat as opposed to the reuniting of a cat with its owner, except to say, “yes, but if this means that THIS cat will have a good and loving home, then that is a good thing, a good enough thing.”
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