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!


  • Katherine Harper Friday, 10 May 2013

    Where do I find such a sweet guy?! :)

    Your post brought tears to my eyes - the flowers and the note couldn't have been sweeter! How lucky you are to have such a loving and supportive husband (and kitties!).

    My mom is super excited to meet you and I'm sure you'll know she's my mom right away b/c she'll tell you all about her black and white blind kitty, Lily, whom we have you to thank for. We saw her on your site which was a post from APA. Anyways, she's really looking forward to meeting you (and I would too, but I live in Chicago).

    Enjoy your big TX tour!

  • Betty Friday, 10 May 2013

    Thank you

    Good luck on the Texas tour and can't wait to meet you in Philly in June. Happy Mom's Day!!

    Betty R.

  • Louise Pare-Lobinske Friday, 10 May 2013

    Wish I could see you on tour

    We're going on vacation next week and will be gone for long enough that the cats will need to be at a kennel, so I know a little bit of what you're feeling, although our oldest cat at the moment is either 6 years old or 9, so not as old as Homer. I always hate leaving the cats, and worry about them the whole time we're gone. I've been known to call the kennel, sometimes more than once, to see how they're doing. The kennel is great - they have an entire trailer dedicated to just our cats, and lots of (covered) furniture, both human and feline, where they can run and play, it's just being away from them that's hard. They're our babies; we don't have kids, we have the cats. So hang in there, I know it's rough. Have a good and safe trip and enjoy. Maybe I'll get to see you on your next tour (come to Tallahassee!).

  • Mary Stewart Friday, 10 May 2013

    Thank you so much Gwen

    It always lifts my spirits to hear how sweet Homer is doing - I know you miss him terribly and he you, and I hope that the time goes quickly until you can be home with him again. You are right - this is a small amount of time compared to the time you would be away from him if you worked a "regular" job. Have a wonderful time on your shelter tour!

  • Tina Stevens Saturday, 11 May 2013

    Homer's my Hero

    Hi Gwen, lovely to read your updates, I hope Homer doesn't miss you too much - but just think how wonderful it's going to be for you both when you see each other again. I cried whne you said & showed the photo of the flowers Laurence & the Furkids sent to you - SPOOO SWEET!! So I just wanted to let you know that here "downunder"n Australia, I love reading your updates etc & that ever since I read Homer's Odyssey he has been my hero, he is the toughest little guy I know & I love him to bits.
    Have a Great trip & please give a BIG HUG to Homer from Australia when you get home.
    Tina Stevens Brisbane Australia

  • Connie Saturday, 11 May 2013

    Go Homer!!

    Check I say you expect him around for another 16 years!! :)

    You aren't going to be near me and I an not going to be able to watch the live stream. Any chance you will be putting a video of it online?

  • Nancy Jacobs Saturday, 11 May 2013

    Gwen's reading at Shadow Cats

    The link for Gwen's reading at Shadow Cats on Friday, May 17 at 7pm is

  • Kumo Saturday, 11 May 2013

    livestream at 2 am; we'll be watching!

    Dear Gwen,
    Its hard to express the amount of gratitude your tour is generating among all of us: the CATS, the volunteers and workers at the various shelters, those of us who "just" love animals in any form and are grateful for every life saved, and, ofcourse, your died-in-the-wool Homer fans, LSTD fans, Blog fans, and "just about everything you write" fans.
    Our family is REALLY looking forward to the livestream at Shadow Cats. Even though we are 7 hours ahead of you, we'll be watching! Maybe Homer will be listening too!!!

    Will you be able to film some of your other visits and maybe post them on YouTube or your Blog? It would be wonderful to be able to see and meet the very special people who dedicate their lives to caring for animals and to meet the cats of Texas! Maybe Laurence could replay these for Fanny, Clayton and Homer who will be missing you and hearing your voice might just cheer them.
    We all wish you a successful and fun tour.
    Touch many hearts. Get lots of publicity.

  • Agnes Newcomer Saturday, 11 May 2013

    Talk with Homer on the phone?

    Gwen, you probably are already talking to Homer on the phone, but if not, I thought I would suggest it. I had three 18 yr old cats, all blind from issues of old age, and I was fortunate to work at home. It was awful when I had to leave them for only a couple of days, and even when they were left with a live-in pet setter. I would check in by phone, and my friend would hold the phone up to my babies, so I could talk to them. Sophie, my dearest, would usually rub her face on the phone and talk to me. Amanda and Abigail turn their ears, but otherwise just gave big yawns. I like to think they felt comforted to hear my voice; and I know it made me feel better.

  • Toni M. Knapp Monday, 13 May 2013

    Homer squared

    Hi Gwen, I first want to thank you-- so very much!-- for helping and loving all kitties everywhere. I loved Prudence's book, but Homer's book is one of my "comfort books"... I've read it several dozens of times. It is a comfort no matter how down or crabby I might feel! I can't remember if I wrote this before, please forgive me if it's a duplicate. I wanted to share about my two Homers. Two, did I say? How can I have two Homers? My buddy Homer is named, partly as a tribute to your Homer, but also for my little town, Homer, Alaska: the absolute best place in the world! I'd be there still if I could. I have a funny story too:
    when I was in high school, lo, these many years ago, I went a few times on away games or choir events. We went up to Kenai (about two hours away) and of course the school was decorated with lots of signs, about that night's game. The one that I specifically remember was one instructing their Cardinals to wipe the Homeroids... a little bemusing, but it got funnier every time I saw the poster! Like all kittehs, Homer has his moments and I call him my little Homeroid (he knows I don't mean it in a bad way!) Homer is one of eleven kittehs in our family; all are shelter rescues or strays, except our Maine Coon kittens, Stormgirl and Fledermaus. Kodiak is Homer's sister (she couldn't manipulate me any better if she wires!) We are chewing over getting a Ragdoll; we love the breed, and our Toby left us at age 12, last December. Anyways, I won't run down the list, you've got things to do! Have a great time touring (I'd love to get up to LA to see you!) Again, thank you for all that you do... I can't wait to see your next book! :)

  • Sara Monday, 13 May 2013

    Just finished homer's book

    Thank you so much for a great reading at Friends For Life this weekend! I did not know about Homer's story until that day and I am glad I was able to come by.

  • Laura & Morticia & Selina Carter Monday, 01 July 2013

    Homer etc

    Gwen, we are purring for Homer. I know how you feel. Gary & I finally took a vacation to Seattle in early June that was our first in 8 years and while I did not want to return to NC, I *did* want to see Morticia & Company! I missed her SO badly. It was like I'd left an important body part in NC and I had to return to it.

    We're glad you had a good Texas tour and I know Homer was so happy to "see" you. Plus it just eases your mind, being home with the furry ones you love. Give him a HAPPY BIRTHDAY smoochie from me & Morticia - no, more than one!

    Laura & Morticia & Selina

  • Annabel McLoughlin Thursday, 11 July 2013

    I finished reading Homer's Odyssey this afternoon whilst lying on a Tunisian beach. It made me laugh and cry and filled me with joy. When Homer was ill I sobbed behind my sunglasses and drew many a confused glance from my fellow sunbathers - "Why is the crazy English woman crying on her holiday? Has the bar run out of gin again?"

    I was so fearful when I found your website that I would discover that Homer wasn't with you any more. I am so relieved that he is, though sorry and sad to hear that he is unwell. My childhood cat has just turned 17 and bears a striking resemblance to your boy.

    I haven't been so touched by a book is a very long time and yours struck many a cord in my heart, both in terms of how I could relate to you and how I could recognise some of Homer's qualities in my own fur babies.

    So from one crazy cat lady to another, I thank you and salute you.

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