All Creatures Great and Feline


Will you write about your dogs or some kind of animal for my daughter? My daughter loves animals and she’s going through a really hard time, not just with all the coronavirus stuff, but recently her dad (we’re divorced) moved away and remarried someone who has three little girls. It’s been really hard on my daughter. Her little heart is broken.



Meet Lula Bell. To the rest of the world, she’s just a feral cat. But she and I are deeply in love.

My wife and I named her. And to be honest, we probably shouldn’t be allowed to name cats because we like double names too much.

My friend from New Jersey recently informed me that double names are considered “country.”

I take offense to this. People in my family have a long history of double names. I have uncles and cousins named Ray Ray, Tommy Lee, Amy Jo, Willy Sue, and of course José Jesús Luís Ramirez who married into the family.

My mother was even going to name me John John since my father’s name was John. I am glad this never happened.

But getting back to Lula Bell. Not only was she was feral, she also had a broken leg. It was bad, too. It looked like it had been mangled in a dogfight or a car accident. It was covered in scars.

The vet looked at the chewed up limb and said Lula would be messed up for life. There was nothing we could do. She might even die.

That’s probably why the poor girl was skittish. Pain will do that to a creature. Lula Bell wouldn’t let anyone come within fifty feet of her. Not even if you were offering her fresh trout. I actually tried this once.

Lula simply wanted you to set the food down, then back the heck off, punk.

Often I would watch her limp across our yard and it would break my heart. It was difficult for her to take two steps without falling over. Her leg was becoming dead weight.

Our relationship changed when I started sitting on our porch in the evenings to read. I did this so Lula Bell would become comfortable having me around. Although, I would have to sit absolutely still so I wouldn’t freak her out.

Lula watched me from a distance. She’d sit in our yard looking at me like a disgruntled military sniper. Other times, she would sit closer, but she was always skeptical of me. Always ready to bolt.

I kept this up for several months and after almost a year she got used to me and we got along famously. Finally, one day—and I can still hardly belive this—Lula Bell came to me. She rubbed herself against my leg.

I know it seems small, but I will remember this exact moment forever because it was a big deal in both our lives.

Over the next week it seemed that Lula Bell had gotten over her fears. Soon, she was rubbing upon my legs all the time. I never tried to pet her because I didn’t want to scare her. And besides, she made had made it clear that even though she could touch me, I must not touch her or I would suffer life-altering consequences.

A few months later, I took a big chance (cue drumroll). While she was busy rubbing her ribs on my legs, I held out my hand to pet her.

At first she jumped backward. Then she glared at me. It was the kind of stare that said, “What in the Sam Hill do you think you’re doing, punk?”

Cats call everyone punk.

But here was the thing: Lula didn’t run away. She crept toward me. She placed her head into my open hand. And I wish I could tell you how monumental this was, but words fail me.

It was the first time I had touched her little head. And I don’t care what anyone says about animals, there is a soul in there somewhere.

Each evening after that, Lula let me pet her. And it became our little secret. She maintained the tough-cat routine, and I pretended not to notice her. But when nobody was watching, it was Rub-A-Palooza.

Day by day, Lula Bell eventually graduated to trust me. It wasn’t long before she was jumping into my lap. Whereupon I would remain motionless while she sat there because you do not want to spook a cat who has her back paws dug into your personal regions. I speak here from experience.

Anyway, we’ve been friends for a long time. Lula Bell has been living at our house for years, in the woods, under our cars, or on our porch.

A few months ago we had a veterinary doctor come over take a look at her—and I’ve been saving this part until the end. The doctor still can’t believe what they saw. Lula Bell’s leg is completely healed. One hundred percent. The doc said it was a miracle. She said she never saw a mangled leg heal like that.

Now I’m sure there are lots of logical, scientific reasons for Lula’s recovery. But I know exactly what happened. I’m no doctor, I don’t know much about cats, I haven’t done many things in my life worth noting, and I’m not the sharpest thumbtack in the drawer. I am an average guy without a credential to his name.

But I know that love can heal anything.

And one day, sweetheart, you will know this, too.


  1. Sandi. - July 9, 2020 6:23 am

    Aaah Sean, you shared just the right animal story to help the heartbroken little girl in St. Louis! Maybe her mom will consider getting her daughter a cat to soothe her hurting heart during this difficult time. =^..^=

  2. Kimber - July 9, 2020 8:47 am

    That was purrrrrrfect! 😻

  3. Warren Evans - July 9, 2020 11:09 am

    What a beautiful touching piece of literature, Sean.. Thank you!

  4. Ginger - July 9, 2020 11:23 am

    Do you know how many women want to propose to you right now? You have made it crystal clear that Jamie rocks your world. Dang it!
    That was a beautiful piece! Thank you.

  5. Debbie Beach - July 9, 2020 11:26 am

    Oh Sean you made me weep again.

  6. Curtis Lee Zeitelhack - July 9, 2020 11:28 am

    Sean, like you I know that animals have a soul. That applies to some humans too. You’re one of them.

  7. topdock - July 9, 2020 11:31 am

    This story is why I tell anyone who will listen to me about you. You have such a gift. You made this little girl believe in miracles again. You make me believe in miracles again. God bless you Sean

  8. turtlekid - July 9, 2020 11:34 am

    Your body, mind, and soul are touched by a loving God who gives you the perfect words daily! Thank you.

  9. Lou Ellen Dean - July 9, 2020 12:00 pm

    You are so right-Love can heal anything and I love this story

  10. Patti A. Culp - July 9, 2020 12:14 pm

    Beautiful!!!!! Thanks Sean. Give Lula Belle all the love she deserves!

  11. thoughtsfrommybedroomwindow - July 9, 2020 12:25 pm

    This is almost exactly the story I told about our feral cat, stray boy, in a video I posted on Facebook a few days ago. He doesn’t have a mangled leg but he’s got some scars from a rough life. Right now he’s sleeping peacefully on my porch.

  12. Melanie - July 9, 2020 12:28 pm

    Long live double names and long live country! ❤️

  13. Sharon Brock - July 9, 2020 12:37 pm

    There is nothing quite like the rejection from a father for a little girl. Poor baby. Thank you Sean for the column.

  14. Margaret - July 9, 2020 12:47 pm

    Sean, another one out of the park! Love your writings. What an amazing, God-given talent you have!

  15. Sharon Lawson - July 9, 2020 1:20 pm

    Wonderful!! Thank you.

  16. MR Russell - July 9, 2020 1:22 pm

    Once again. . . I started my day with joyful tears.

  17. Jan - July 9, 2020 1:32 pm

    Beautiful story, Sean. We just lost our three legged stray (who became a pet) cat a week ago. She wandered up and stayed with us for 16 years. It sure does hurt!

  18. Lydia - July 9, 2020 1:37 pm

    Just love this one!

  19. aleathia nicholson - July 9, 2020 1:45 pm

    Because I was afraid of animals, my mama had me put a dish of milk at the edge of our front porch and go back in the house. I’d watch the cat come up and lap up the milk. After a week I’d sit on the porch and watch and much later move closer. Mama said the kitty knew my smell and I could go closer., Much later, the cat just disappeared. Years later, the neighbor across the street died. She’d been mean to kids and animals and most anybody she didn’t like and when her fish pond was drained, they found a big gunny sack full of tiny bones, Bye-bye kitties.

  20. Deborah Moss - July 9, 2020 1:54 pm

    God bless you, Sean.

  21. Lynn Schroeder - July 9, 2020 2:05 pm

    This story has brought happy tears to my eyes. Thank you! I’m hoping the little gal in StL (where I’m from!) has those kinds of tears too. I laughed at the mention of double names being “country”…my son just got engaged to Anna Grace from Alabama. War Eagle, Sean Dietrich!

  22. Eddy - July 9, 2020 2:08 pm

    Ditto to the second comment from Kimber, purrrrfect!

  23. Helen De Prima - July 9, 2020 2:26 pm

    The rewards of patience, with a happy ending. I can relate to the success of Lulu’s recovery. In my 25 years doing wildlife rehab, I saw this phenomenon many times; it’s called remodeling. Given time and supportive care — food and shelter — bones can resume a functional configuration. My favorite example was a pheasant hit by a car, leaving it with a shattered wing. We figured it could never heal and decided euthanasia was the kindest choice, but the damn bird refused to die, just slept off a massive injection and came up still kicking. (Pheasants have a strong and painful kick.) I decided to see what benign neglect might accomplish and set the bird up in box stall with food and water and a perch six feet off the floor. More than a month later, I brought fresh supplies to the stall and found the bird sitting on the perch; the wing had healed well enough for release. I named him Lazarus and turned him loose in the back woodlot with my best wishes.

  24. Robert M Brenner - July 9, 2020 2:31 pm

    Double names are a “southern thing! I call one of my granddaughters “Baby Girl”, another “Bay Bay”, a niece “Sally Sanders”, a grandson was almost named William Robert after the grandfathers but my son-in-law said wait, no way he’ll end up a “Billy Bob”! Me they nicknamed “Big Bob” (I’m 6’ 4” and 226 lbs). We have a dog we named Lottie but our granddaughter “Baby Girl” decide to call her Lottie Dottie! I hope that little girl will read about all the people who are thinking of her, divorce is tough especially on young children. Lottie Dottie sends you her love ❤️ 🐶!!

  25. Ann - July 9, 2020 3:41 pm

    What a hopeful uplifting column…. full of love and faith❤️❤️

  26. Mary - July 9, 2020 3:56 pm

    I’m feeding one now that acts the same way. Trying to go slow and praying he, Spats, will finally realize all I want is love , if a cat can, and trust. Would love to have him neutered so he doesn’t continue to spread his love around the neighborhood.

  27. Sue - July 9, 2020 3:56 pm

    How blessed is Lula Belle to be the recipient of your healing love! ❤️

  28. Linda Moon - July 9, 2020 4:49 pm

    Great and Feline are two words that have always belonged side-by-side for me. So you had me at the title. My two cats are named for two favorite family get-aways…….one single name for each of them, but double cats. When I was a child, one of my many aunts had a double name: Aunt Annie Lou. But I digress. You, Sean Paul, did something noteworthy today with your words about cats. You helped heal a child’s broken heart! Aunts and Cats can do that too.

  29. Patricia Gibson - July 9, 2020 6:05 pm

    Bless you Sean for healing my heart❤️

  30. Charmion - July 9, 2020 6:22 pm

    Tears streaming!!

  31. Susan I Gleadow - July 9, 2020 6:23 pm

    I am not crying…. yeah I am crying almost sobbing! Never has a truer statement been uttered and our Lord and Saviour proved that when out of love for us he died for us to be able to live with Him forever. To quote a Micheal W Smith song “love isn’t love until you give it away”!

  32. catladymac - July 9, 2020 8:14 pm

    Purrayers to you and Lula Bell and the daughter Heartbroken in Saint Louis.

  33. Margaret C - July 9, 2020 11:29 pm

    I too had a stray cat with a hurt leg show up in my yard. It took months for him to let me get near him. Little by little I gained his trust and eventually he became an indoor cat that shared my bed for many years. He lived to be at least 19! One of the sweetest cats ever and yes, his leg healed too. Amazing what love can do!

  34. carol0goodson - July 10, 2020 4:04 am

    For me, as a cat lover (especially feral cats), this is the best thing you have ever written. BEAUTIFUL doesn’t begin to describe it. I love you so much… Praying for you, that you live long and prosper, because the world NEEDS YOU SO MUCH.

  35. jeanlana2 - July 10, 2020 5:39 am

    Your posts really help me in these scary days during which I often fret about death, and a horrific death at that. Thank you, Sean, you’re contributing peace to this scene.

  36. Christina - July 10, 2020 7:18 am

    The power of love 💕

  37. Meg Widmer - July 10, 2020 2:56 pm

    Grew up on a farm 70+ years ago, spent quality time in the barn loft following the sounds of new kittens, then taming, playing and loving them. They procreated ..of course. When I was bout 10-12, and there were more cats than could be counted, my mother called the Pound, The truck backed up to the barn, we put pie tins of milk down and the cats came running. The man picked them up, one-by-one by the scruff ,and ‘threw’ them in the bag. I stood and cried..Mama had gone back in the house to take care of my sick grandmother. It still hurts to even think of it. BUT, it did not turn me away from loving animals for the rest of my life….too many to count, including horse, cows, more dogs and cats. Presently, I live alone with three B&W cats..probably related. Took a few years, but all are in the house so I know they are safe. I cannot imagine a life without animals! And, Sean, thank YOU for sharing your stories and providng a place for people like me to share memories that are dear to us. meg

  38. pam - July 10, 2020 3:18 pm

    Wow! Just LOVE this story. Patience and caring sprinkled with Love makes ALL the difference

  39. Beth - July 10, 2020 5:16 pm

    My dog Trout would not let you come within 50 feet of him even if you offered him fresh Trout. He too was very skiddish and most likely was a feral dog the first two years of his life. After a while, he stole my heart and I think I stole his heart.

  40. Jackie - July 10, 2020 6:07 pm

    I like to keep one of your columns handy in case I get pulled over by a trooper and I need a tear in my eye to get me out of a ticket. This one should do the trick.
    Oh if daddies understood the great impact they have on their children’s lives.

  41. Alice Roose - July 10, 2020 8:37 pm

    Dear Sean what a beautiful love story !yes i do believe animals have souls too!thank you Sean for writing such heartfelt stories about your fur babies!Love you

  42. Aunt Si or Martha Black - August 13, 2020 11:35 pm

    Love and allowing it to come at its own slow pace. Love comes softly

  43. Mary Hicks - August 24, 2020 3:17 am

    Thank you, Sean, for the love and wisdom you share💖. Had a fur baby cat years ago. His name was Tom. Found him dead in one of my flower beds, from old age. I pray for children in these situations 💔. God does work miracles on our fur babies, too.


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