Pet Talk – Week of August 10, 2022

I met Ellen Cotton after we both moved back to Houlton from the southern part of Maine. She visited the shelter often after I was employed as a manager in 2016. 

She adopted three cats from the Houlton Humane Society over the next two years. Her cats were her family, and they loved their mom.

During her visits, we would talk and walk dogs. Sometimes when she dropped in to say “Hi,” she would end up helping with different tasks. She always was game for anything to help, Ellen even fostered a dog for us until he was adopted. I remember her telling me her cats were not impressed that she had brought a dog into their home.

One day she met Bart and I at the Lobster Fest in Monument Park, and we stayed for the music later that afternoon. She was late getting there, and when she arrived, she told us the reason for her delay was she got tied up at the lawyer’s office. She said that with a medical procedure scheduled in Portland, she wanted to ensure everything was in order.

She told me that she decided to leave some of her estate to the Houlton Humane Society. This made me sad because the idea that the shelter would benefit from this generous gift would mean I would not have Ellen around anymore. Even more, she would not get to see what her donation did for all the animals here at HHS. But I was wrong. I know she is watching and helping. She helped with the placement of her cat Nelson and later Issac.

Ellen’s procedure came and went with flying colors, and she continued to visit and help with walking dogs and the night check of our cats. Then COVID came and changed all our lives. I saw Ellen a couple of times before she passed in July 2021. We texted off and on, but it wasn’t the same.

In one of the texts, Ellen told me she had fallen and was taken to the hospital. Later, I received a text that she wanted me to take her cats and find them good homes if anything happened to her.  When Ellen passed, her cousin and the executor of her will helped me get her cats to the shelter to start the process of finding new homes. Our hope was they would go together.  

Nelson was a Maine Coon cat with some quirky ways about him, and I was a bit worried he may be here for a long time to find him a home to call his own.  Issac, with his friendly ways, on the other hand, I thought would be adopted in a few days.

A wonderful lady came in to adopt a cat. The cat she had adopted years earlier had passed of old age. She and I looked at several cats, explaining their personalities and quirks. I left, and a staff member took over, helping to find the right fit. After about 20 minutes, the lady announced she had chosen Nelson. It wasn’t until later that day that I learned it was Ellen’s birthday. We all feel she had a hand in Nelson’s adoption.  A few weeks ago, Nelson’s owner came back to adopt Issac.

We at HHS are so happy that Issac and Nelson are back together. Thank you Ellen for your support throughout these past years and your generous gift that will continue helping the animals in your hometown.

The Houlton Humane Society is located on 263 Callaghan Road, Houlton, ME. Officials can be reached at 532-2862 or via email at or visit them on Facebook.

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