There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to blurt it out, “We bought our cat a harness and a leash.”  I know, I know….  Our cat, Oz, also thought the harness was a stupid idea.  But its really the only way not to accidentally choke the poor animal.  The instructions on the thing were rather vague:  Slip one end over the cat’s head and then pull the straps through the plastic X-shaped thingy and then under his front legs and click in place around his belly (Whew).

Several scratches and one bite later, Oz hunkered down, belly to the floor in near paralysis. “I can’t breathe in this thing,” his eyes seemed to say, “And it’s itchy!  Why have you done this to me?”  Cats, as you know, are robustly independent creatures unaccustomed to having restrictions placed upon them.  They roam as they please and generally do as they like with the expectation that everyone else in the world will kowtow and meet their every demand.

I quickly clipped the leash to the harness and opened the backdoor in anticipation of Oz’s mad dash outside.  Instead, there on the kitchen floor with the door standing wide open, lay our fierce jungle beast staring up at me and then out the door and then up at me again as if to say, “Are you kidding me? What’s the catch?”

His hesitancy got the better of me, and just as my dad threw me into the pool my first-time out swimming, I picked Oz up and plopped him down on the patio.  He immediately scurried back into the kitchen with the skittish grace of a beached otter.  With a sigh, I tied his leash to the doorknob and sat on the patio, playing on my phone.  Eventually, with equal parts exhilaration and terror, he stepped outside and began exploring this strange new world on his own terms.

It’s a strange new world for all of us right now as well.  As Americans, we treasure freedom above all else, but just like Oz, we sometimes confuse the protective efforts of those with our best interests at heart as a means of subjugation.  So, as we leave our homes and move forward, it’s essential for each of us to do so at our own pace as safely as possible and not allow others to push us out before we’re ready or without the precautions that make us feel safe to do so.

Sean in Rent at Warsaw-Federal Incline Theatre, Cincinnati

Due to the quarantine, I was once again unable to secure a student for this month’s PAC Kid Spotlight.  So I took this opportunity to reconnect with Sean Mize, our very first PAC Kid Spotlight student, in a PAC Kid FlashbackLearn more about Sean, and all the students we’ve recognized over the years.