From Deep in the Heart of Texas--an Update on Homer, the Kittens, and the LOVE SAVES THE DAY Tour

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Don't leave, Mommy!

I write from my hotel room in Houston, having spent my first 12 hours--ever--on Texan soil as I get ready for the road-launch of the LOVE SAVES THE DAY National Shelter Tour.  So far I haven't seen much beyond the highway overpass directly outside my hotel room window, but today I'm heading over to Friends For Life, the shelter that tomorrow evening will host the first of five tour stops I'll be making over the next 10 days in Houston, Dallas, and Austin.  (For a complete list of my Texas itinerary, click here). 



Originally I was going to make only two stops in Texas--the one tomorrow in Houston at Friends For Life, and the one on Saturday May 18th at Austin Pets Alive!  But then I started thinking that since I was going to be in Texas with a week between events, it made sense to add an event in Dallas on Wednesday the 15th with Take Me Home Pet Rescue.  And then the SPCA of Texas invited me to do an event with them in Dallas on Tuesday the 14th.  I also heard from Shadow Cats in Austin.  They rescue ferals and FeLV kitties and don't publicize their address, because they're located in an area where people would be apt to abandon cats on their doorstep (they're a very small organzation with limited resources).  I therefore can't do a public event with them, but they invited me to read to the FeLV kitties in "Cookie's Room" at 7:00pm Central time on Friday the 17th, and they're going to live stream the reading on their "Kitty Cam"--which means that even if you can't meet me in purrson on the LOVE SAVES THE DAY Tour, you can still see me doing a reading and answering questions--with a bunch of adorable kitties in my lap.  :D 

And suddenly my two-city, two-stop Texas tour became a three-city, five-stop Texas tour.  I guess everything really is bigger in Texas!

Although the tour officially launched last Thursday in New York, this is my first road trip, and so this feels more like the official launch to me.  Most of my away trips will only be two to three days long (and many of them--paritcularly the ones in the Northeast--won't require me to be away overnight at all), but I'll be in Texas for 8 more days.  And while I'm incredibly excited to be here and to meet with so many truly exceptional rescue organizations, it's almost unbearably painful to leave Homer for so long.  I'll miss the kittens too, of course (those little stinkers!), but after 16 years of having Homer continuously on my knee or in my lap or cuddled up next to me in bed, it feels like leaving a piece of my own body--not to mention my heart--behind.


Homer sitting on my left knee while I work

Laurence isn't joining me in Texas for a few more days, so he'll be at home to do just as good a job spoiling Homer as I do--better even, because all the little treats and tidbits in our home (from Temptations to turkey to chicken to Homer's New Favorite Thing, buttered lobster) are there because Laurence can't resist spoiling the cats.  After that Homer's favorite pet sitter will be with them, so they'll be well looked after.

But still, I know how unhappy it makes Homer when I'm gone overnight.  I've wrestled--and continue to wrestle--with the question of whether or not this tour was even a good idea in the first place.  And yet, what I keep coming back to is the reality that this is what I do for a living (and I love doing this for a living!), and the further reality that earning a living is a necessity for those of us without trust funds or spouses who work in the financial industry.  I know how lucky Homer and I both are that I get to work from home and be together all the time.  As I said to Laurence the other day, I've been working from home for five years now, and Homer probably doesn't even remember what life was like back when I was away from him 10-plus hours a day, five days a week.  The rational part of my mind knows that a few weeks at a "real job" would equal more hours away from Homer than all the time I'll spend on the road over the next few months combined.

But...still...who among us is rational when it comes to our kitties???

Of course, I probably worry more than I need to.  While it's tough to know what's really going on with Homer--since he's...ah...let's just say "forcefully declined" ;-p medical intervention--he eats and cuddles and purrs and plays like a little champion.  A few months back the doctors told me that, based on his blood-work, Homer was pretty much dead already, and I shouldn't expect to have him around for more than a few weeks at most--especially since he flat-out refused to let them run any more tests.  But here we are five months later (almost to the day), and the only difference I can see--aside from a bit of weight-loss--is that he sometimes climbs up to high spots on the furniture that he used to jump onto.  But he is 16, after all--who among us ins't a bit less limber than we used to be?!  ;p  Laurence swears every day that "Homer is immortal," and I pray every day that he's at least partially right (all I ask is for another five years with Homer--10 years, tops).

Laurence knows how I worry and miss my boy when I'm away, so he arranged to have these waiting for me when I arrived in my hotel room in Houston:


along with this card:


I assume that "Lauren" and "Sammy" are supposed to be Laurence and Fanny (hee!).  At least they got Homer's name right!

Eight more days until I see my baby boy again.  In the meantime, hope I get to meet some of y'all here in Texas!


  • Evdon Jo Stognere Friday, 10 May 2013

    Enjoyed this update. Have a very successful tour in the great state of Texas. Would be my home if the other members of the family would agree. Seems I'm the only Texaan at Heart in the family. Cant wait till you come to the Blind Cat Rescue in Sept. Be safe and successful with the tour. Till next stop

  • Mary Southon Friday, 10 May 2013

    Good luck!

    It is so hard to leave them, even when they are young and healthy. But as they age, it just gets harder. We know what you are suffering!
    My boy Oliver came from Austin Pets Alive! They are a wonderful, pure hearted, hard working group of angels. You will love them.

  • Trudy Friday, 10 May 2013

    Love you Gwen

    You are doing wonderful things to raise awareness for cats in need and this tour is a blessing. Just getting to know Prudence in this book and I am sure I will be left with the same adoration I had for Homer's story. I have a 16 year old black cat at home right now that I adore so I really relate to your posts. Today I am actually waiting for some blood tests for him so hoping for good news. Hearing your thought process and relation to your cats is like hearing myself talk about mine! Best wishes.

  • Lenai Waite Friday, 10 May 2013

    Lauren & Sammy???

    That's hilarious!! Can't wait to meet you in Chicago!

  • Janet Friday, 10 May 2013

    Lauren and Sammy :)

    Oops. I sure hope that's a typo or I'm sure Laurence and Fanny will sequester you a when you get home to end your two timing them lol. And that cannot happen cause I plan on seeing you in Seattle!

  • Ilene Kirby Friday, 10 May 2013

    Have a Great Time in TX!

    Hi Gwen, thanks so much for your book tour update, and happy that Homer, Clayton & Fanny (& Laurence) are well and cheering for you! I am so happy that you are spreading your "magic" through Texas, and bringing awareness to shelters to help boost adoptions to furever homes! I know the kitties will love hearing you read from "Love Saves the Day!" Hope to see you in NJ! Safe travels! Ilene, Hyde, Mitty, Pippy, and Mamama

  • Jen Donng Friday, 10 May 2013

    Thank you for the update Gwen. It is hard to be away from the kitties, I hate being away from mine. I am in the middle of reading your book and look forward to seeing you in Kirkland.

  • Billy Sargent Friday, 10 May 2013

    Houston is a different side of Texas

    Metropolitan Texas and urban/suburban Texas is some kind of different from most of the rest of Texas (the parts with plenty of fresh air and almost no money). At least you're going to have the opportunity to drive through some of Texas more pleasant places on your way to and from. I wish I could take a couple weeks off and be your chauffeur! It's a nice place to visit, but I surely wish I could move back to my mountains and forests in New Hampshire.
    I was glad to see that Homer is doing so well. With a little luck he'll go peacefully in his sleep years from now after enjoying much more buttered lobster and the rich, deep love he's known since the day you met him. Isn't it wondrous and amazing to see how much better it can get just when you thought it was as good as it could possibly be? Of course Homer misses you, though probably not as much as you miss him. When you get home you'll be glad to see you, and life will go back to normal as far as he's concerned. He won't count the days like you will, he just knows that you're gone now... & every day is now for a cat. He won't remember that you weren't there yesterday, and he won't be depressed thinking that you won't be there tomorrow. All he'll know is you'r leg/lap is there as your fingers caress him and he'll be as full of happiness as can be.

  • Betsy Friday, 10 May 2013

    Since I live in St. Louis (but I'm really a NY'er) I'm sending my mother tomorrow night in Houston. She enjoyed Homer's book too and will be reading Prudence's book soon.

  • Barbara Friday, 10 May 2013

    Thanks for the Homer Update!

    Gwen, I've been avidly following Homer's story since I first read the book and am SO pleased to hear that he is holding his own. You can't give us fans of his enough updates on his health so don't be shy about posting them - say, once a week? Have a great Texas time and send some Wisconsin love from me to the shelter kitties!

  • Mary Ann Ray Friday, 10 May 2013

    Texas Welcomes You!

    I am so glad that you are in my home state, and I hope everyone is treating -- and feeding! -- you well. Texas hospitality is legendary (our state motto is "Friendship"), and I trust you are seeing the best we have to offer. I am excited about hearing you read from "Love Saves the Day" tomorrow, and I look forward to meeting you. I have great admiration for you -- not just because of your advocacy for cats, but because you are a doggoned (catgoned?!?) good writer. God bless!

  • Rose Richardson Friday, 10 May 2013

    Have Fun too!

    Dearest Gwen, have fun too on your tour. Hug plenty of kitties and their humans, laugh until you get a tummy cramp and then eat good yummies yourself too. Dad-cat will spoil everyone stinky rotten and Homer will rule with the strong paw in velvet glove.
    I know how hard it is to leave beloved family, human and kitty when they might not feel good. Homer keeps surprising EVERYONE

  • Gisele Friday, 10 May 2013

    Hmm. Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco (all conveniently on the West Coast) in July! And I have airmiles I must use or lose! Also have a great picture from my neighbourhood bookstore I will be posting on the Love Saves the Day FB page later today! In a way, Homer IS immortal, because you've shared his story with the world. If you ever tour Canada, of course you must come to Vancouver, but there's a shelter in Nova Scotia I want to tell you about, with a great origin story.

  • Janette Kavanaugh Friday, 10 May 2013

    Thank you so much for the update on Homer's health. . . and the fact that Lawrence is going to be spoiling the children while Mom's away. I know how it is to leave the babies at home and I'm grateful that my brother will be here to take care of our's while I'm in Dallas getting to meet you. Thanks so much for adding Dallas to your list of visits. See you the 15th, God willing.

  • Cathy Horan Friday, 10 May 2013

    Sounds like everything is going great, both with your tour and on the home front! I got a kick out of buttered lobster -- if I show up at your door, will Laurence feed me too? LOL See you in the L.A. area!

  • Bobbi Hahn Friday, 10 May 2013


    Gwen, I know how difficult it is to leave beloved furbabies, especially when they are older and/or not in the best of health. My Mozart is 18, and I was told last June that it would be "a matter of months." I cherish each day with her, and I don't travel any more unless it's absolutely necessary - and even then, no reservations are made until I know if our wonderful petsitter is available. I used to be ready to go, anywhere, on a moment's notice, but now I count the number of nights away and keep them to an absolute minimum. Whenever I leave the house, I always tell Mozart where I'm going and when I'll be back (silly, I know, but it's a habit now); then I kiss her, pet her, and tell her I love her . . . just in case. I wish you a wonderfully successful Texas tour, and a happy homecoming with ALL of your loved ones.

  • Bonnie Young Friday, 10 May 2013


    Hope your tour goes Great. Try not to worry about Homer too much, I know that's easier said than done, Homer has so many people praying for him and just think how excited he will be when you get home. Plus think of all the kitties you are helping along the way on your tour. Take care and have a wonderful and safe tour. Kiss Homer for all of his fans when you get home.

  • Verna Spier Friday, 10 May 2013

    Thanx for the update

    It is always great to hear about how well Homer and the kittens (not anymore) are doing. Enjoy Houston good Tex-Mex food. Your babies will miss you, but they will do very well as always. You have a great pet sitter, so buck-up.

  • Vickie S. Friday, 10 May 2013

    Save travels, Gwen.....

    Dear Gwen, why is it everything you write eventually makes me tear up? Have a great trip(s) and thank you so much for updating us. I know you must be busy beyond belief. When you have those pangs of missing Homer and all your family, remember all the wonderful work you are doing, and inspiring people, and teaching and educating, and the list goes on and on. You will change lives, as you always do, in your special way. Love to you and yours (through happy tears)!

  • Kathleen Schoen Friday, 10 May 2013

    Senior catizens

    I had a cat who lived past 20 years old; as she was born to my grandmother's cat, I knew her exact birthday. She, too, declined most medical interventions vigorously! At 19-1/2, my vet said, "She probably has diabetes and renal failure, but she's enjoying life, so who cares? Let her do what she wants!" She gave me much joy and companionship until she passed away quietly about 9 months later. I now have another senior furchild, who will be 14 next week. I cannot bear to think of losing her for at least another 6 years. Blessings on your travels and experiences.

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