This was Fontella Bass’ biggest hit, topping the R&B and Pop charts in 1965.
While it was a big hit, it was a source of legal problems for her, beginning with the singles’ release. She was promised she would receive song-writing credits on it, but didn’t on the 45 or the legal documents filed by the label. It was the first million-selling song for Chess records since Chuck Berry gave them one a decade earlier.
Legal problems cropped up again when the song was used in an American Express commercial, which she heard randomly on TV. It took three years for her to get a settlement over that one, which she finally did in 1993.
It’s been covered by many artists, including Diana Ross, Cher, Linda Ronstadt, Tom Jones, Roxy Music’s Bryan Ferry and Pat Benatar. And Melissa Manchester’s version has been the only cover to actual hit the charts.
It is also the name of an organization that tries to place pets with new owners, in an attempt to save these pets’ lives. Some shelters across the country can’t take care of animals indefinitely, and many pets wind up being euthanized.
So while this song really has nothing to do with pets, it’s that previous paragraph that made me think of it.
If you read the previous blog, or have connected with us on Facebook, you’ll know that our family recently lost one of our much-loved dogs. I won’t re-hash all of that here, just know she was loved for about fifteen years, and her passing hit us all pretty hard.
We figured we needed time to heal, and would get another dog eventually. But we needed time.
On the other hand, we kind of needed a cat.
We live in the mountains outside of San Diego, and the rural-ness of the area means there are lots of natural residents who, bit by bit, have been coming closer and closer to our home. We used to have cats, but the last one took that long walk a while back, so we’re unprotected.
We went to our local shelter and picked out a grey kitten. Her name is Audrey.
Years ago, my wife and kids did this before, selecting our last cat, also a grey kitten. They named him Seymour, after the male lead in Little Shop Of Horrors. So naturally, the new kitten is Audrey, which was the female lead in that same movie.
On the previous occasion, when they’d selected the grey kitten, they turned around and saw a black adult cat. The guesstimate was that he was eight years old, but no one knew for sure. His owner was moving into an assisted living facility and couldn’t take the cat.
It seemed so sad to leave this poor old cat in the shelter, where he would probably live out his remaining days, so they adopted him, too. And he lived for another seven years or so.
Well, this time around, as we turned around with our new grey kitten, there was another black adult cat. His name is Ox. He was eleven, and he’d been in the same situation as our previous black cat. The shelter told us he’d been there for months.
An adult cat, living in a small cage for months. That just didn’t seem right. So we adopted him, too.
While Audrey is very playful at home, Ox is still trying to decide what to make of his new situation, so he’s been hiding under the couch. He comes out a couple times a day to use the litterbox and have something to eat, and the last couple of these appearances have actually happened during daylight hours, so I think he’s adjusting.
It didn’t all end there.
We also came across Benji, a dog who had been there for a month or two. He’s also eleven, and had been dumped off by owners who just didn’t want him any more.
Seriously. I have no idea who people can be that cruel. After eleven years!
So Benji is now part of our family, too.
My point of all this was not to show you what wonderful people we are. I’m hoping that it sparks an idea for someone reading this to seek out their local shelter and consider bring home a furry friend or two. Especially the older ones that most people don’t even look at. They need it most.
They call these shelters and the animals there “rescues”, intimating that you are rescuing them, either from euthanasia or from living out the rest of their lives in small cages.
And I have to say that spending time with Audrey, Benji and Ox, there’s a really special feeling I get. They’re so happy to have a new home (now that they’re somewhat used to it). And you can feel that when you look in their eyes.
There is something that is absolutely magical about doing something for someone who can’t ever repay you. It makes your heart lighter, and your own problems seem so much smaller.
Is it perfect? No. They’re still dogs and cats, and they have issues. They try to eat each others food. Ox coughed up a really gross hairball one night. Benji will occasionally bark his head off at the couch, and try to fit Audrey’s head in his mouth. Audrey will sneak up on Benji while he’s sleeping and pounce on him.
Seeing Benji smile at me and wag his tail makes it SO worth it.
So while it might be corny to say, I don’t think we rescued them. They rescued us.