Cancer, Kindness, and Einstein

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Jon Einstein & Jeffrey
Jon, Einstein, and Jeffrey

Heather Wiedenhoeft drove away with Einstein in tears.  She had just picked up the striped tabby from his owner, Jon Glazier, who had asked if she could keep the cat as he moved into new housing that didn’t allow for pets.  She could tell that this separation was going to be difficult, but she wasn’t to find out why until later in the evening when Glazier called to check up on Einstein.

Glazier and his 10-year-old son, Jeffrey, had gotten Einstein three years earlier from Eaton County Animal Control when the kitten was four weeks old.  There was an instant bond between human and cat and that relationship was going to play a huge part in Glazier’s future.  He had been diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Not fond of other people, Einstein had become an integral part of Glazier’s routine.  A single father, when his son, Jeffrey, goes to visit his mom every other week, Glazier goes through chemotherapy.  Einstein, ever present at his side, is a constant companion and stalwart support system through all the challenges that chemo brings.  That was the case up until Glazier had to quickly move to a new apartment that did not permit pets.  As a contracted worker for the state with no health care benefits, his budget is severely limited and the move was a necessity.

Glazier knew Wiedenhoeft through her boyfriend, Ron Bruining, and their volunteer work at the Capital Area Humane Society.  As she is an animal advocate, he trusted she would be the right person to help him with Einstein.  The evening he called to see how Einstein was doing after his departure, he disclosed to both Wiedenhoeft and Bruining his condition.  A critical care nurse, Wiedenhoeft knew only too well what he was going through and could only imagine what comfort both cat and human gave to one another during those difficult times. Little did Glazier know that she would be an advocate for him, as well.

Following Bruining’s sleuthing to locate him, Wiedenhoeft reached out to Glazier’s landlord, Jerry Ericks.  Ericks admitted he had put in place a no pet’s policy following years of issues with people’s pets, but the message he received about Glazier, his condition, and Einstein’s role throughout, changed his mind.  He would make an exception, no questions asked.

Glazier broke down on the phone when Bruining and Wiedenhoeft called to let him know Einstein was welcomed to return.  On Thanksgiving morning, Glazier and Jeffrey drove to pick him up.  He had taken refuge under the bed since arriving at the temporary home, but immediately came out when his owner came in ready to be happily united.

Glazier is overwhelmed by the generosity of all involved and Wiedenhoeft, having seen the need for a strong support system for anyone going through this situation, is happy for the outcome.  She was heartbroken when she learned about his situation and knew she had to do whatever she could to change it.  Glazier’s prognosis is not good, so this time he has with his son and Einstein is precious.

Since these events, Wiedenhoeft and Bruining have set up an on-line fundraising campaign in an effort to give Glazier, his son, and Einstein, a very happy holiday.  It is times like these that we can all be reminded of the value of a pet and their unconditional love and how those who understand and appreciate that bond can make such a difference to someone’s life.

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