When Jessica called me to rescue her cat named Hades, I admit I was expecting a hellish rescue at first.  But then she explained.  When they first adopted the cat a year ago, Jessica asked her then nine-year old daughter, Traniya, what she wanted to name it.  Traniya said, "Hades" without even knowing what it meant.  She just liked the sound of the name.  A few days passed before she learned the meaning of the word, but by that time, the name had stuck.  Fortunately, contrary to what you would expect of a cat by that name, Hades is actually a very sweet and friendly girl.

Hades slipped out of the house and was chased up the neighbor's pine tree by an aggressive male cat.  Hades got away from the other cat but found herself stuck on a short stub of a branch that had broken off long ago.  She was only 15 feet high, but she didn't know how to climb back down.  Jessica struggled to find a way to help her, but it was not until the end of Hades' second day in the tree that she found me.  It was just a few minutes before sunset when she called, so I offered to rescue Hades first thing in the morning.

It was a very foggy morning when I drove over there and found Hades still stuck and crying in the tree.  The pine tree was pretty large and tall, but Hades had settled on one of the lowest perches available.  The stub she settled on was only two or three inches in diameter and no more than a foot long.  That is where she balanced herself for two nights, and it must have been very tiring.

I set my rope without any difficulty and without distressing Hades very much.  She continued to cry throughout my preparations.  Jessica had already told me that Hades is very friendly with strangers, so I was hoping and expecting she would maintain that disposition even when stuck in a tree.  I climbed up to her slowly, and she continued to cry.  When I got within reach of her, I held my hand out for her to sniff, and she was receptive.  I came a little closer, and Hades was ready and happy for me to pet her.  Yes, Hades is indeed a friendly girl, so this should be a quick and easy rescue.

I thought Hades would be happy to have a carrier to go into after spending so much time on a short and narrow stub, so I held it up to her.  She was not interested and didn't seem very comfortable with it.  Just to be sure, I opened a can of food and offered her a bite.  She was very interested in the food and readily placed her front paws on my lap to take a bite, but when I put the food in the carrier, she still balked at going inside.

I put the carrier away, and let her step completely onto my lap.  Once she put her back paws on my lap, I pulled her closer to me and petted her a little bit.  Perhaps I could take her down this way.  She was calm, she was not very high, and the descent would be short and obstacle-free.  I asked Jessica below if she would be comfortable with my bringing Hades down in my lap knowing that she would likely jump out of my lap once we got close to the ground.  She said that would be fine, since Hades knew where her home was and would run straight there.

So down we went with sweet Hades looking down from my lap with great interest and relief as the ground came closer and closer.  She stayed relaxed the whole time and never flinched.  When she was about three feet off the ground, she jumped down and ran with joy and relief into the neighbor's yard with Jessica and Traniya in pursuit.  Hades was not running in fear; she was just happy to be down and it felt so good to be able to move again.

Jessica easily caught up with her, and Traniya picked her up and held her close in her arms.  Hades relaxed and never struggled one bit, and I think they were both equally relieved to be back together again.  As Traniya turned to carry Hades back home, I was very touched to see a very big smile on her face.  She had been distraught and crying the day before when Hades was stuck in the tree, and now she was clearly feeling the relief and happiness of being reunited.  I watched as she walked Hades home, and I savored the moment.  Even though she now had her back to me, I could still see that smile radiating from her face.  And I could see Hades' face, eyes closed as she rested her head on Traniya's shoulder, relaxed and knowing that she was home and safe again.

This is my reward, and it's a priceless sight.