INB is collecting donations from employees and customers for the Sangamon County Animal Control and animal rescue charities in Mt. Pulaski, Bloomington, Peoria and Fairmount, Ill. We asked our employees to share their stories on providing a home for animals in distress. Here’s one such story as told by Angela Kirchgesner of our Accounting Department. Here, Angela tells her story of taking on a perky black cat originally named Lucifer.Angela and Louie

I had my heart set on adopting a black kitty, mainly because black kitties aren’t as adoptable as other kitties. (I really don’t understand all the superstition attached to them.) I did a lot of looking on the Pet Finder website and realized that St. Louis had a serious problem with black cats not being adopted. I fell in love with a kitty named Louie, so I submitted an application to adopt him.

A few days later I received a call from the woman who runs the shelter, Pet Rescue Network, from which we adopted him. She was so excited that I wanted to adopt Louie. After going through the normal questions, we agreed that I’d drive down there the following Saturday to pick him up at their adoption event at PetsMart.

My husband had to work that day, so I went on a solo road trip. I felt so bad for the little guy when I got there. It was an adoption event for dogs, but they took Louie there specifically for me to meet him; I could tell he was petrified. The PetsMart staff allowed us to go into the breakroom to help with the noise and chaos, but once his crate was opened. He darted under the lockers and was not going to be seen. I could tell the people from the rescue shelter were nervous that I wouldn’t want him, but seeing him hiding and scared made me love him more.

While I was filling out the adoption paperwork, the shelter staff told me Louie’s background story. He was found in a wood pile in the back yard of his foster parent. She named him Louie, short for Lucifer, because he was a “rebellious teenager.” He and one of his brothers was previously adopted by a couple that withheld the fact that they were buying the cats for their three-year-old daughter. Apparently the toddler was fond of pulling tails, and so the family ended up locking both kitties in the basement.

When they eventually returned the kitties to the shelter, they had been pretty traumatized. His brother ended up being re-adopted (he was grey and white), but Louie needed to be rehabilitated before being re-adopted. Even with his rehabilitation, I could tell he was very traumatized. No one was interested in adopting him before I am along. One of the staff at the shelter was about to adopt him had I not.

Louie and I had the 1 ½ hour drive home from St. Louis to start bonding. After we got home, he was inseparable from me. I decided he was too sweet to be named after Lucifer, so I renamed him Toothless, after the dragon in the kid’s movie, “How to Train Your Dragon.” A few hours later, my husband came home from work to meet our new kitty. Toothless immediately hid. Any time someone new came over, he hid. It would take hours for him to warm up to a stranger. And if he had warmed up to someone before, he would hide the next time they came over. Over time though, he is no longer afraid of strangers. He sometimes will keep some distance when he first meets someone, but it doesn’t take long for him to jump up on their lap and be social. He can also be around small dogs now. (He’s still not a fan of big dogs though, but that’s understandable.) He is the sweetest cat I’ve ever met, and I’m so glad that I adopted him.