Like many people, I donate clothes and housewares to Goodwill. I'd like to say my intentions are purely for those in need, however it's a nice way to add purpose to Spring cleaning. At the time of this tragedy, I had two teenage daughters and my husband living at home.
Squeazl got her name from an Anthony Bourdain episode of No Reservation (season one, episode four, August of 2005) where a Vietnam villager was trying to describe what animal they were about to eat. The man was trying to say "weasel" and "squirrel", and it came out "Squeazl" (or Squeezel) which was actually porpupine. Anthony laughed so hard at this, it stuck in my head as cute and hysterical.
Squeazl was a special girl, a solid black beauty that popped out fully coated, not resembling her naked parents. She was an absolute hoot. She didn't have fur, she had hair, which stuck straight out as though she was covered in static electricity. She had the incredibly sweet personality that Sphynx are known for. Everybody loved Squeazl, fawning over her until the day she lost her life in a Goodwill accident.
That particular day the family was doing some Spring cleaning. We were all going through our drawers and closets, stuffing items we were going to donate into large plastic garbage bags. When I got done with my bedroom, I put the bag in the hallway so my daughters could add their donation items too. As the afternoon concluded, we tied the bags, carried them to the car, and took them to Goodwill.
At approximately 8:00pm it was time to feed that cats their dinner, soft food to accompany their always available kibble. Every cat has their routine, their own bowl, where they eagerly await their "eats". That night, Squeazl didn't come up for her soft food. Squeazl always came up for eats. All four of us, my husband, daughters and myself, immediately went looking for Squeazl. Our thought was that she possibly got out of the house. We're very careful, but then again accidents are accidents. We searched every nook of the house, our back and front yards, and down our residential streets. We found kids and families walking in the neighborhood, and offered a financial award should they find Squeazl.
Defeated, we went back to the house with a heavy heart. It was at that moment when couldn't fathom where she'd gone that I questioned, could Squeazl have gotten into one of the bags we took to Goodwill? Cats LOVE bags and boxes, and anything they could crawl into. Put a standard piece of printer paper on the floor and a cat will sit on it as though it's a box. Squeazl, being solid black, wouldn't have be easy to see when we closed the bags. I immediately called Goodwill, told them the situation and asked them to check the bags we'd dropped off earlier. Imagine my relief when they returned to the phone and said there wasn't any cat in any of the bags we'd dropped off.
The night passed, the sun arose and still no Squeazl. We commenced our search in the neighborhood, but I still had a nagging feeling, what if she'd been in those bags. I called Goodwill again, knowing I'd physically return there if I didn't get any feedback.
The phone call was devastating. Yes, Squeazl had accidentally been taken to Goodwill. Even worse, the staff that had been on the night before didn't bother to open the bags when we called the first time. Squeazl had passed away from lack of oxygen. Her body was found limp and lifeless that morning when they found her. Her body was still soft and pliable, meaning that she hadn't been deceased for long. I was furious with the night staff at Goodwill. Why were they so lazy that they didn't check the bags, that they lied and said they had? Still, the blame was on me. I should have known better than to leave a plastic bag untied where the cats could crawl into it. I should have checked every bag before it left the house.
I hope that Squeazl's story serves as a cautionary tale, that other families won't have to face the loss and guilt of failing their pet. I have other stories that I'd heard of from other families that had faced tragic losses. A common one is leaving the dryer door open and not seeing the cat that had crawled inside before loading it and turning it on. If you would like to hear more about that story, or other freak and unexpected situations that have been shared, please comment below. If you have a story to share, please do that too.