Eugene is Roice-Hurst Humane Society’s ambassador cat. He greets visitors, attends off-site events, and wows people with his leash-walking skills. After being diagnosed with terminal lymphoma, the staff at RHHS put together a bucket list for Eugene in the hope he could have new and exciting experiences before his final adventure over the Rainbow Bridge.
As an Adoption Counselor, I interact with Eugene daily. I was given the honor and privilege of taking Eugene hiking on the Colorado National Monument in January to cross one more item off his bucket list. Hiking comes natural to Eugene! He was taught to walk on a leash and high-five for treats by Jodi Summers, the RHHS Cat Behavior Counselor. Hiking on a leash gives Eugene the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in a safe manner.
We went out to the Colorado National Monument. When we arrived, Eugene seemed confused. To ease his confusion, I showed him the views from the car and we stepped out for a moment to breathe in the air. It was then that Eugene knew this was going to be an adventure. He stretched, dipped his toes in the snow, smelled the fresh crisp winter air, and listened to nature unfold. But this first stop was just a taste of what lay ahead. Our second stop was at the top of the Monument. It had snowed the night before and the storm had just passed, but it was still windy. Eugene didn’t enjoy the cold wind much.
Determined to have a good time, we decided to hike below where it was drier and less windy. Eugene enjoyed the views from Serpent’s Trail and said hello to some fellow hikers. People were in awe to see a cat hiking on a leash! His destination hike took him to the Flume Canyon Trail where he hiked a mile before he made a stop to enjoy a sniff of his Pinot Meow (catnip “wine”). Eugene was very content and you could see it in his face. He was loving every part of this day! The birds were chirping and dogs were walking by—Eugene couldn’t be happier!
He was exhausted towards the end and appreciated being carried to the car. On our way back he took a nap in the car and was purring. Back at the shelter, he didn’t want to come out of his carrier until he found his dinner was waiting for him. I paired it with the remaining Pinot Meow and he licked his bowl clean. For Eugene, I know this day was very memorable, and it was for me, too.
On any given day you may find Eugene going from room to room, greeting and eating lunch with everyone, especially if they have cheese. Having fulfilled his wish to hike, Eugene is ready for the next adventure on his bucket list!
By Brenda Kalisek, RHHS Adoption Counselor