About three months ago, I took my cat, Joao, on the Fall Paulie Antiques Vintage Lookbook shoot. See the lookbook here and here! I knew a lot more people were involved in the shoot than normal... but I just insisted on bringing Joao to the shoot because he's a big part of my life and I knew he would look beautiful in the photos along with my models. I have a VERY soft spot for this cat and I am so thankful to have had him in my life for over 3 years now. He makes me so happy and is literally my baby..... but he loves to be outside. I had him in his carrier while we were on location, but he was getting very antsy and fed up with wanting to relax with the girls on the blanket I'd provided for the shoot. He kept getting up and heading towards the cornfield we were shooting beside. I was getting tired of constantly looking after him and saw him lay down in the cornfield in plain view. I figured he was happy there and wouldn't stray too far.
I took my eyes away for about 5 minutes and glanced over to where he was lying and he was gone. I started to feel a sharp pain in my chest as the models continued to pose for photos. I went up and down the cornrows and back and forth without seeing him and my heart sunk further into my chest: I had lost Joao. I tried to mask my panic and heartache in front of the news reporter for our local newspaper, the photographer for the newspaper, my two photographers, and the four models. I didn't know what else to do... but I had an OVERWHELMING intuition that my relationship with Joao wasn't over.
(The last photo taken of Joao before he ran off into the cornfield and became feral for three months!)
After the shoot, the models and photographers went into the cornfield and yelled his name, but he was no where to be found. I knew this feeling all too well... and I knew that Joao LOVED to be outside. He was having the time of his LIFE! So, we decided to pack up everything and go home. We drove to the only house in the area and I introduced myself and told them I had lost my cat. Their names were Thena and Robert... and little did I know that they would play a huge role in finding Joao. I couldn't escape the incredibly overwhelming feeling of being alone when I returned to my apartment. I was in a very low place and I just wanted to forget about everything. As the weeks passed on, I visited Thena and Robert's farm about 12 times with flashlights looking for Joao. It became very clear that he wasn't coming out. Eventually, the farmers harvested all of the surrounding corn down and Thena and Robert spotted Joao for the first time! This gave me so much hope because I knew he was still alive and still in the area! I rushed out to their house thinking that I would definitely find him... but he wasn't ready to come home yet. Last night I got a text from Thena saying that she kept seeing Joao around and she knew he would eventually come inside. The next thing I knew, I was driving to their house and holding him in my arms. Baby Joao is back and he is safe! I am so relieved and so is my family! Thank you to everyone who helped me look for him and consoled me when I lost him.... it means so much to me. Special thanks to Thena and Robert who looked out for Joao and helped rescue him and return him back to me. Our friendship is only just beginning.
*first three photos taken by the astonishing Nathan Adhikari
love, polly :)