Puddy had always led a charmed life – the beautiful snow white cat had grown up in the home of an owner who lavished affection on her and treated her like family. However in 2011, the time came when Puddy’s owner had to move out of the house and into a retirement facility, and it was a facility that was unable to accommodate companion animals. As Puddy was also a senior citizen (having just turned 14), her adoption prospects appeared bleak, but her owner persevered, knowing that sending her beloved pet to a shelter after a lifetime of individual attention was not an option.

Luckily, there was one person who believed that age is just a number. When Susan Milde, an American teacher who was employed in an international school in Chennai, heard of the impossible position that Puddy’s owner was in, her heart went out to her. She decided to bring home the regal cat. Susan already had two other rescued animals – a cat and a dog (Kitty and Puppy) who had travelled with her to Chennai from USA where she’d adopted them. She recalls that though Puddy was nervous at first, her anxiety soon faded. “When Puddy accepted us, she first came to sniff me, and then let me pet her chin. It was like a huge honour. It really touched my heart”, says Susan.

When the time came to leave India, Susan flew back with Puddy and the other pets to her mother’s house in America. “Puddy had lived with an elderly woman for 14 years, so she felt immediately comfortable with her”, she says of the bond between Puddy and her mother. “And her company was good for my mom. Like many people in the States, she lives a fairly solitary life. Having pets to care for definitely makes her life better. Puddy spent all her time lying on her lap, or looking for spots of sunlight and sharing them with Puppy. Her favourite spot was on top of the radiator, next to a window with a view of pine trees where lots of squirrels and birds come”.

Says Susan, of the experience of adopting an aged pet - “I think that the love that pets give us only gets stronger if we don't mistreat them, and I hope everyone sees the value of that relationship”. In early 2014, nearly three years after she met her new family, Puddy passed away peacefully at the ripe old age of 17.