"Good Morning. My name is Bibb Edwards and I have a problem with a tree."
"And a cat."
"We do that. Where do you live?"
Thus began the rescue of our cat Hokie who had been missing for three days. Our neighbor rang our doorbell this morning to say that a cat matching Hokie's description was in a tree in the woods behind a house near the practice putting green, about a half mile from our house. My wife, who was headed out the door to work, drove by, confirmed the cat was our Hokie, and called me to commence rescue operations.
Once I saw Hokie and the tree I knew it was not going to be easy. He was higher up than any conventional ladder could reach, probably 40 feet. The couple living closest to the constantly meowing cat had tried for days to get him to come down on its own, with no success. They had called both the local animal control officers and the fire department. No help. Hokie was cradled, as you see above, where three branches spread from the trunk. There was no place as secure within reach. And no easy way up or down.
After it occurred to me that I had a tree problem as well as a cat problem I went home to consult the Yellow Pages. With the largest ad on the TREES page announcing 24 hour emergency service, I called Superior. After the exchange above the gentleman took my number and said someone would call me back in a few minutes. Unlike most of my experiences with local contractors, within 20 minutes Joe called me. Within an hour he was climbing up the tree after Hokie.
Hokie was having none of an easy rescue. Throughly freaked by this time, Hokie fled out on a limb. Joe climbed to the top of the tree, secured a line to his harness, and - thus supported - made his way along the branch toward Hokie. When he was almost in reach, Hokie jumped to the top of a smaller adjacent tree and began a semi-controlled descent. About fifteen feet from the ground the cat and the tree separated. Yes, cats do land on their feet. At least this one did, flattening out like a flying squirrel along the way. In this case the feet kept moving and Hokie disappeared at a very high rate of speed through the underbrush.
I thanked and paid Joe and as we left we spotted Hokie headed in the direction of our house. I stopped but Hokie was not having anything to do with me either. So I went home, reported the morning events to my wife, and waited for the cat to appear on the porch. He did, about 20 minutes later. There he tried to make up for lost dinner times, eventually wandering back into the house and up on my lap.
Thanks to the unbelievably fast, friendly and competent folks at Superior Tree and Hauling. Even though I was lucky they had a crew nearby on another job, Joe went above and beyond - so to speak - and was very nice about it as well. He said he had two cats at home.
And Hokie, I am docking your allowance for about 35 years. Good to see you back.