DEAR JOAN: On Oct 2, we lost our 2-year-old kitty, Bella, that, as a stray mother with two kittens, adopted us a year ago.

She had just received her yearly immunizations, and as we left the veterinary hospital her carrier buckled and broke, slamming Bella, still in the bottom section of her carrier, onto the sidewalk.

The late morning commuters were still buzzing by fast and furiously and Bella bolted across the street, miraculously avoiding being hit, heading for the Antioch Fairgrounds. We called her for hours as we scoured the fairgrounds and went home brokenhearted.

Bella, back home at last.
Bella, back home at last. (Courtesy of Stu and Jeannie Glazier)

We returned later, about the time she normally eats her dinner and, again, went home with empty hearts and empty arms. The next day we informed the groundskeepers at the fairground of our loss and eventually about eight of them were vigilantly watching for her.

For the first month we searched the fairgrounds two to three times almost every day. We also began knocking on doors in the surrounding neighborhoods to ask if we could leave a lost cat flier, eventually distributing 250 over a period of a month and a half.

We also contacted the Antioch and Martinez shelters, checking back weekly, and posted on Craigslist and Fido Alert on Facebook. We also placed fliers with all surrounding businesses as well as at all the local vets. We also had almost a dozen friends who kept a watchful eye while out and about.

The best response, however, came from our fliers, which had three pictures of her in different poses and a promised reward. In the two months that Bella was missing, the fliers produced six reports that unfortunately proved to be Bella look-alikes. The kind fairgrounds workers found several look-a-likes, and Fido Alert produced one.

Then came the call we were waiting for. A family who lives near the fairgrounds, had seen a kitty that looked precisely like the pictures on the flier. Sure enough, Bella was perched on their fence and within 10 minutes she was in our arms, heading for home. A perfect ending for us and our little girl. She had not traveled far from where we lost her.

Our advice for anyone who has lost a beloved pet is to never give up. We experienced such a positive response from everyone we spoke with in our community. There are most likely many unsung heroes who put forth extra time and effort to find our kitty that we'll never know about.

Lastly, do not buy pet carriers that fasten the top and bottom with snaps. Our kitty was the appropriate weight for her carrier but had it been fastened with bolts, we would not have lost Bella in the first place.

Oh, one more thing, give serious consideration to adopting a shelter pet. As an abandoned kitty that desperately needed a loving home, our little Bella is by far the most appreciative, affectionate kitty we've ever owned.

Stu and Jeannie Glazier

Antioch

DEAR STU and JEANNIE: I'm so glad that you found a happy ending, twice actually. Once when you adopted Bella and once more when you found her again.

Thanks for the great advice.

Giving Tuesday

The Contra Costa Humane Society is participating in Giving Tuesday, hoping to raise funds for Kitty Corner and to help furnish their new space. To give, go to www.cchumane.org. Be sure to note your donation is for "Giving Tuesday."

Contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com.