Meet The Characters
of Forever Home
Michelle and Noah
Jasper's humans and friends of
Illustrator, Erica Leigh and her husband, Sean
Michelle and her husband Noah had a similar adoption story to the two kittens in Forever Home- "Thought they came for just one cat, and were going home with two!"
When Michelle's cat Rodney died in 2001, she decided she wanted to adopt one more kitten. After learning that cats do better in pairs, she adopted Harley and his sister Sly.
"They were like 'Good Cop/Bad Cop' getting into mischief, climbing curtains, and so smart that Michelle taught them to play "soccer" with their paws.
In 2020, around the time Erica Leigh was illustrating FOREVER HOME, Harley passed away. When Erica heard the news, she knew that she wanted to illustrate him in the book. Harley is the kitten you see Michelle and Noah's characters happily carrying out of Baypath.
Another spunky kitten named Jasper, joined their family in 2020.
"Jasper is the strangest cat we ever had," Michelle began."Everything that you think a normal cat would be afraid of or shy away from, Jasper does the complete opposite! He is very smart and can do tricks on command: Sit, Paw and even came when I called his name. He sleeps on his back, loves the sound of tinfoil and the smell of citrus - which most cats do not, and runs TOWARD the window to see the lightning when he hears it."
"Noah and I were so excited to be featured in FOREVER HOME," Michele said," It was was so awesome. Erica Leigh did a great job in illustrating her friends. It really looks like the three of us!"
Sugar's Human- Nancy, Cathy's Mom
Me: Sweet Sugar. You look so cozy on my mother's lap.
Sugar: It is my favorite place to be.
Mom: And it's my favorite place to be too.
Me: Would you both mind sharing a little bit about how you became a forever family?
Mom: Grab your tissues. It's quite a story.
Sugar: The home I lived in was not a great home. I had a litter of kittens that I loved very much, but sadly, they did not live long after they were born. My human had too many cats and just could not care for me anymore. She took me to a shelter one day and surrendered me.
I was so depressed about what had happened to me, that I didn't want to eat or play or anything. Then one day, some kittens that had lost their mother arrived in a big brown box. I could hear them calling for their mommy. The volunteers knew I had lost my babies and though maybe I could help them.
When they tucked each little furry kitten next to me, they immediately began nursing. I licked each of them very gently and told them they didn't have to be afraid anymore. I was so happy to adopt the kittens as my own; to love them and feed them and teach them how to be a good cats. Once they were old enough to be adopted, they each found a forever home and I was so happy for them.
But I wished I had a forever family of my own.
Mom: Now, I'll tell you the happy part. Your Dad and I visited the shelter one day, hoping to adopt two cats. When I looked in the cage and saw her sweet eyes and heard her story, I knew she was my kitty. Dad found another cat named who we also adopted. It was such a happy day... bringing our sweet Sugar and Spice home with us.
Sugar: And for me too! I love you Nancy.
Mom: I love you too, my Sugar.
Zoe's human - Sandy
Hi, my name is Zoe and I am featured in FOREVER HOME. I found my forever family 6 years ago. I was adopted from the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast (https://hstc1.org/) at 2 months old. When I jump up on Mom's bed, she leans over and we butt heads. This means "I love you" in Cat. I have a younger adopted sister, Grace, who bugs me sometimes. I have to look where I am going because she likes to hide and pounce on me. I'm getting too old for these kitty-cat games. I think Erica Leigh Art did an outstanding job portraying my real inner beauty. If anyone in Hollywood is watching... Call my agent. I may be available.
Outreach Volunteer at
Baypath Humane Society
As she was growing up, Kathy Lundgren’s mother was known as the local animal lady. Anytime a bird, cat or dog needed some help, neighbors knew to bring it to the Lundgren house. Being around the animals was fun but also brought her much needed peace when she was going through a hard time.
Back in 2017, Kathy met the then manager of Baypath, Cornelia, and was very impressed to learn about Baypath’s approach to finding animals forever homes.
A recent example is when Baypath received and rehabbed several dogs from Korea, who were found muddy in a meat market. Many of them have since been adopted. Kathy says their forever families will often share pictures of the dogs riding happily on boats or snuggling and well-loved. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Kathy has been their outreach coordinator now for several years, working with any person or business who wants to partner on an event to promote Baypath. As she offers more stories about successful pet rescue and adoption, it is clear that Kathy is passionate about animals and her work.
Unlike like some shelters that simply find homes and never follow up, Baypath provides thorough preparatory care, enrichment activities and training to assure a successful adoption and then follows up a couple weeks later to address any issues the new family or pet are having, offering advice and assistance. Making adoptions successful for both pet and family is very important.
I was impressed to learn Baypath has many approaches to give shy and frightened animals the extra attention they need to help them learn that humans are friendly and good. Volunteers may even sit by a dog cage and play soft music and read a book to the dog, which helps the animal connect good feelings and trust with humans.
When illustrating FOREVER HOME, illustrator Erica Leigh wanted to feature a Baypath volunteer in the Cat Adoption Day scene. After learning of Kathy’s dedication to the animals at Baypath, we knew we wanted to have her in our book.
“I felt honored to be featured in FOREVER HOME,” She commented, “I sent a copy to my family saying, ‘I’m a star!’ It was wonderful to be thanked in that way.”
Finally, Kathy shared that because of Covid, many of their volunteers have had to leave because of schedules changing and family needs. So, Baypath is eagerly looking for new volunteers and foster families to help with the animals.
With Volunteers, most of the training can be done online before you come to Baypath. Volunteers may help with feeding, walking, cleaning litter boxes and socializing the animals. If you have sometime and a lot of love to give, you can reach Kathy Lundgren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beardsley's human- Cathy
My sister-in-law Sue, was a “Kitty Angel.” She had taken in a litter of kittens, giving them food, shelter, and lots of love till they were old enough to be adopted.
At Christmas, my husband Scott decided to surprise our children with a kitten. While the kids and I were away visiting my parents in Florida, Scott went over to Sue’s house and chose a sweet fluffy kitten named Beardsley to join our family. When he arrived at our house, Beardsley was understandably a bit confused where he was, with all the new smells and surroundings. Scott didn’t get much sleep that first night, trying to make Beardsley feel safe and comfortable.
A few days later, I arrived back home with the kids. The moment we got in the house, Scott brought us into the living room and had us sit on the couch. He asked us to call, “Beardsley.” As we watched the doorway, a tiny, fluffy ball of gray and white fur timidly peeked around the corner. We were in love!
From that day on, Beardsley enjoyed much love, attention and many snuggles. He was a wonderful cat, and we were blessed to be his forever family for many years. I wanted to honor him in FOREVER HOME and was thrilled that Erica Leigh found a place on the adoption page to include him in the illustrations.
Can you find him?
Honey's humans - Erica and Sean
Me: Good morning, Honey.
Honey: Hey there, Grammie.
Me: I am excited to share the story behind your illustration in "Forever Home." For full disclosure, I should let the readers know that I may be impartial in this interview, as you are my new "grand dog." :)
Honey: Good idea, Grammie.
Me: Tell me a little about your journey to find your forever home.
Honey: I was living on the streets of Texas, hanging out with a pack of stray dogs. It was a scary life, just trying to find food and shelter. Luckily, I was rescued along with a few of my buddies in the hopes we could find our forever homes. The ride up to Baypath Humane Society in Hopkinton was very long and tiring, but the people at Baypath were very nice. They checked us out and made sure we were healthy and ready to be adopted.
Me: Tell me how you met Erica and Sean.
Honey: Most of my brothers from the pack had been adopted and I was beginning to wonder if I had made this trip up for nothing. Erica and Sean wanted to adopt a dog and saw my picture online, along with a couple other dogs. When they came to meet me, Erica saw my sweet face and immediately fell in love with me. I do know how to work those big brown eyes! I started to feel the same way and had to let her know. First, I dropped toys in Erica’s lap to see if she liked to play. Check. Then I got closer to see if she was good at rub downs. Check. Then the final test, I licked her cheek. She let out a big, “Awwww.” That sealed the deal. :)
Me: I’m so glad they found you, Honey. You are a wonderful addition to our family.
Honey: (Tail wagging in circles.) From the first step inside their house, it felt like home. This is a video taken of me and my new "Momma" just a day after going home. Do I look happy or what?
Me: Tell me what a typical day is like for you.
Honey: I am Erica’s studio canine assistant. She works very hard as you know, illustrating, making music and all kinds of creative stuff. It’s important that I take care of her. My job is to be sure to remind her it is time to eat, go on a walk or visit the ladies’ room. I try to look as cute as I can till Erica has no restraint and I can get her out on a walk. I may even invite her by bringing her my toy for a little game of fetch. This aerobic exercise helps loosen up her drawing arm and I have a little fun. Win, win!
Me: I’m so glad you take such good care of her.
Honey: Don’t get me wrong, she and Sean take very good care of me too. I get snuggles and a full belly rub twice a day - when I wake up and before bed. Erica even treats me to a “Spa Day” where I get my teeth brushed and nails done. I am living the life for sure.
Me: I love the illustration in “Forever Home” of you and Sean arriving at the shelter.
Honey: It was scary to get off the bus with all the new smells and commotion, but the Baypath volunteers made me and my brothers feel loved and cared for from day one.
Me: It was nice talking to you, Honey.
Honey: Thank you, Grammie. And thank you for buying me doggie ice cream and laying out a doggie bed for me when I visit. I hope you feel how much I love you when I put my head on your lap.
Me: I know Honey. :)
Honey: I love my forever family.
Kato's humans - Mike and Marina
Me: Good afternoon, Kato. Thank you for being here.
Kato: My pleasure.
Me: Do you mind my asking how old you are?
Kato: Not at all. Six years old…. That’s 42 in human years. Most are surprised by my age when they meet me. I have that movie star quality, but always with a puppy's heart.
Me: Can you tell us how you found your forever home?
Kato: About a year and a half ago, my humans, Mike and Marina, wanted a new puppy after their dog, Muffin, passed over the rainbow bridge. I was living with an owner who could not give me the time and love that I needed, so he offered me for adoption. It was love at first sight! I feel so ‘dog-gone’ lucky to have a forever family.
Me: What is your typical day like?
Kato: I love to go to the puppy playground to meet my friends. We have so much fun chasing each other around and playing find the doggie toys. I try to get my humans out on a walk three times a day. I bring them my toy basketball or football to let them know it’s time. It’s sort of a secret code. Good thing I keep them on a leash though, as they might wander off.
Me: Do you have a favorite food?
Kato: Yes! Pup-peroni treats. Original Bacon flavor is good, but the Prime Rib flavor? Oooh La La! A little bite of heaven!
Me: Do you do any tricks?
Kato: I talk back to my humans when they talk to me. As time goes on, I can tell they are understanding more of what I am saying. But luckily, they have learned some of the important basics like:
Can you rub a little to the left?”, “I’m bored“or “One more treat, please.” I do try to be patient with them, as it takes time to learn a new language.
Me: What did you think about being featured in “Forever Home”?
Kato: It was an honor to be featured with my humans, Mike and Marina. I think Erica Leigh captured the softness of my fur and my handsome profile well. Check out the twinkle in my eye as I look at Marina. It worked…she fell for me hook, line and sinker.
Bear's human - J.D.
Their story coming soon!