I’m not sure where to start this story, so I’m going to start with Joe—our cat.  Joe was a Christmas present; he arrived at the Clark Household on Christmas morning much to my wife’s surprise and delight. In the last few months, we had lost two older cats to age and illness, and at the time we didn’t know, but we were about to lose our last older cat to disease. Joe was a blessing. Although he had been feral most of his life (I wish he could tell us his story; he has a small caliber bullet lodged in his check) he began to fit in. On Wednesday evening, we took Joe out with us on the back patio—a special treat. He wore a full harness attached to a leash tightly wrapped around my wife, Cathi’s wrist. He jumped from her lap, became tangled around a table leg, and broke the leash. Joe darted for the woods behind our home where coyotes had been sighted the week before. We wouldn’t see him again for four days.

The Team

At work the next day I was designing a flyer for our missing Joe. To say I was “designing” is to compare McDonald’s to Ruth’s Chris Steak House. I’m not a designer. My marketing teammate, Eric, looked over and said, “Send that to me.” I did, and you can see what he created. Next, I went to Chris, head of TKO customer service. When I told her what happened, she immediately sent me to our CSR Christine who suggested yard signs made of corrugated plastic with H-Stakes. She took Eric’s artwork and created a job folder. An hour later I asked Kevin, head of production, when the signs would be ready; he told me they were done. Wow. I went to shipping and found Mike and Sandy had packed them neatly for me. I was nearly in tears. Thank you all.

 The Sign

We made 10 yard signs, which I placed at every stop sign going in and out of our housing addition. No one could enter or leave without seeing Joe’s charming face. We also distributed flyers and knocked on doors around the neighborhood. The signs were effective.

The Neighbors

Several neighbors called with possible sightings of Joe and a few people asked where they could get signs like those. One neighbor, at the top of the woods, thought Joe might be under their shed. He was. It took Cathi nearly three hours, to coax Joe out from under the shed, but by Saturday evening he was back home.

After Joe returned, I added a sticker to the signs saying, “He’s home, Thank You!” While I was doing this at least a dozen folks asked about Joe. They were happy and excited he was home. I thanked them all. I cried. My wife said something that has stuck with me, “I’m glad they asked about Joe, people need to know they matter, and their help was appreciated.” Our neighbors and friends—Sally, Bethann, Chris’ aunt Paula and many more matter. The more than 200 people who shared Joe’s flyer on social media matter—the TKO Graphix team that stopped what they were doing to help a co-worker matter—the neighborhood kids who went looking for Joe door-to-door matter. Joe may only be one small cat, but there’s a lot more to the story—and that’s what matters.

If you, or a friend, have a lost pet I recommend Indy lost Pet Alert they offered help and hope. I love what you do—thank you.

Postscript—we’ve decided Joe is never going outdoors again. NEVER. Dr. Wiggers, our Downtown Indy Vet, may have to make house calls. Would that be called a…cat call?

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