Of Cats and Commutes – My First Day Back At Work

I see the snow sprinkled mountain in my rear-view mirror as I drive down Macquarie Street on a June morning. The people walking to work are adorned in rain jackets and winter beanies, and their breath condenses in the crisp air.

It’s 7:45am and I’m on my way to work. The traffic is moving freely as I turn onto the Brooker Highway and I reflect that I have not taken this commute in over 7 years. October 2014 to be exact, when I left my IT job of 10 years to travel around Australia with Willow.

I can’t believe it’s been 7 years. All the places we have been, all the people we have met, all those nights under the Southern Cross. But, now we are back, and I’m on my way to work once again.

I turn onto Risdon Road and see the smelter with it’s billowing plumes, and I feel sick. I recall the never-ending projects that drained the life out of me, endless overtime that stole my precious hours, and midnight call-outs that robbed me of my sleep.

What am I doing? I ask myself.

Risdon road continues along the foreshore past the gas plant and cooling ponds towards the smelter, but I’m not going there. Nope. Not Today. Not ever.

I turn onto Selfs Point Road and just a few 100 metres down the road I arrive at my new workplace.

Ten Lives Cat Centre!

I park up the van and before I head out there’s someone I need to say goodbye to. I find Willow asleep under the blankets and kiss her fluffy little head. She will be happy snoozing until I come back at lunchtime to check on her.

I wish I had Willow for support at my old job all those years ago. There’s nothing like having your best friend with you on your first day of work. Although, I may be the first to bring their own cat to their first day working at a cat shelter!

A few weeks earlier I spotted the job advertised and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Could this be my dream job? I quickly sent off my resume that morning. The following week I was lucky enough to land an interview.

I met with Joel, marketing and communications manager, who described the position. They were after someone to assist with the management of their social media, website, newsletters – amongst other things.

Joel gave me a quick tour of the centre including one area that I recalled very well. It was the room in which I first met Willow all those years ago. Although I didn’t realise it on that day 8 years earlier, my life was to change forever when I brought her home, and furthermore as she accompanied me on our travels around Australia.

Did I know that at the time? Absolutely not. I see things differently now. In my time meeting all the cats I’ve met around Australia and in sharing their stories I now know that every cat in a shelter has the potential for something great. And that something is extraordinary companionship whether they are with you on your adventures or by your side indoors.

If I could help Ten Lives spread their message and be a voice for the cats awaiting their furever homes then what I have learnt during these 6 years I have spent with Willow around Australia will have even more resonance still.

So then began the nervous wait.

The following week I got a call from Joel, they wanted me on the team! I was ecstatic. In a way it felt as though I had come full circle; from the day Willow was adopted, to the day I return to this very shelter to help other cats in need. I’ll be helping cats just like Willow, and I owe it all to her for leading me on this path.

So here I am. My first day. Wish me luck!

* * *

So, it looks like we’ll be staying in Hobart for longer than we planned! What an incredible opportunity! I’m looking forward to sharing with you my experiences at Ten Lives, and also our continuing adventures with Steph and Willow in the wilds of Tasmania. There is just so much to show you!

You can follow Ten Lives Cat Centre on Facebook and Instagram to see what we get up to. Also, if you are fortunate enough to be in a position where you can spare a few dollars, consider making a donation to the Ten Lives building fund as they raise money for much needed infrastructure to support the cats of Tasmania. In honour of Willow perhaps?

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