I am grateful that my cohousing community allows pets as I am and have always been a cat lover. My beautiful black cat is shy with strangers, especially ones bearing vacuum cleaners, but he is very warm and social with me and likes nothing more than sitting on my lap when I relax, and sitting on my keyboard when I try to type.
I placed another cat, this one molded out of plaster at my front door to greet visitors. The plaster cat used to have a plaster mouse partner to keep it company until a boy in our community who shall remain nameless, accidentally, in the throes of play, knocked the mouse off of a ledge causing it to fall and break. I was very impressed when the same young man showed up at my door to apologise and take full responsibility for his actions.
What a great teacher this brave, principled young man was, quickly reminding me that we live closely together, we are likely to bump into one another or into one another's things, sometime causing harm and breakage, but that times like these can be opportunities to deepen friendships, grow, and build trust. His act of courage and doing the right thing instead of the easy thing allowed me to remember that one of the reasons we choose to live in communities is that we can learn and be inspired by small actions of others.
This incident happened at least a year ago and I had all but forgotten about it until the other day when I found a small bag at my door with a card that read:
I'm sorry for breaking your mouse such a long time ago but here is a replacement. It's a bird that I painted.
It is delightful when your children perform acts like this, it is even more delightful when your neighbour's children do. Luckily, my cat likes birds even more than mice!