When I was little, I used to go visit my grandparents all the time. When I was around 6, they had a black cat named Duke. He was a great cat, the main thing I remember was feeding him my bread crusts off my cheese sandwiches. Yes, he ate bread crusts!
Other than that, I just remember I loved him.
Well, one night I was staying at my grandparents, in a sleeping bag on their bedroom floor. Somehow the stove (a wood stove for heat? not sure) caught on fire in the other room. Duke kept scratching on the door and meowing and my grandmother kept telling my grandpa that the cat wanted out. He was half asleep and didn't do anything. Finally my grandmother woke up enough to smell the smoke. They rushed out of the house. They were so flustered (of course!) but they forgot about me at first. My grandmother went down the road for help while my grandpa went back in for me. I was on the floor so there was no way I could smell the smoke. The only thing I remember was waking up to my head being banged on something as he carried me out and seeing flames everywhere. I then proceeded to freak out because I didn't know where my grandmother was, even though I'm sure my grandpa told me she had gone for help.
We went down the road to my other grandparents house (they lived on the same road, very cool) and I remember hearing on the radio (must have been a police scanner or CB?) something about "the woman got out okay, but the old man and little girl are still inside". It was the most surreal experience of my young life to hear that and know that they were talking about me.
I don't know if the door was open for Duke to get out or not. I'd like to think that it was, but I guess not.
The firemen rescued him and he was still alive at the time. However, he passed on the next day. Ever since then I have been a cat lover. It only seems right, as one saved my life. I had forgotten about Duke and the whole experience until another post made me think of this. I grieve now thinking about him dying. But now I'm thinking about how I will meet him at the Rainbow Bridge and thank him. Maybe I'll bring him a bread crust or two.