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Adoption spotlight: Big Guy

Posted on Saturday, July 20, 2019

After 1,128 days in our care, Richmond SPCA’s longest resident cat, Big Guy, found a loving, lasting home.

Manager of Adoptions Tommy DeSanto shared his office with Big Guy for three years and was one of his closest friends. In our fond farewell blog, Tommy shares some special memories and how happy he is that this incredibly special boy found the right home to provide lifelong care for his medical needs and his big personality.

Every morning I came into work and Big Guy greeted me, hungry for attention. He was always a little hungry for everything, given his name, but especially attention. I’d walk in and throw my keys in the top drawer of the desk. He was usually sleeping. He’d yawn in his little yellow car bed, stretch, then walk lazily over and rub up against me. He was a very sweet cat, and he was always a little magnetic towards his small group of chosen people. I could name a few here, but I don’t want to make anyone jealous.

Every night I worked, I turned off the light in the office and I said goodnight to him. After a couple months, I added “love you, buddy” to our goodnights. This, to me, has always been the saddest part of working in adoptions. We’re the last ones here. We say goodnight and turn off the lights. They didn’t find homes that day. It’s not that they aren’t good enough, or they don’t deserve it; they just didn’t find homes that day. And you wish you could tell them that, but instead you just look them in the eyes, say “love you, buddy” and turn off the light.

I carried that weight with me for the 666 days that he stayed in my office until he was adopted. He was in the shelter almost twice as long. His adopter now sends me pictures here and there — Big Guy sprawled by the sliding glass door, watching the hummingbirds feed in her backyard, a sly grin on his face. Or the one I got of her daughter holding him over her shoulder, the way I used to.

After adoption, Big Guy quickly picked a favorite lounging spot in his new home.

I take on this weight because someone has to. I’ll do it again and again because I know deep down, it’s never because they aren’t good enough, or they didn’t deserve it; they just didn’t find a home that day. And you know what makes it all worth it? When I turn off the light to an empty room.

Tommy with his dog Sprout

Tommy DeSanto is the manager of adoptions at the Richmond SPCA.

He is the proud owner of three special needs pets, all adopted from the Richmond SPCA. Because of his own pets’ medical conditions, he has always been drawn to the special needs pets in our care. He also occasionally opens his home to foster pets in need of a break from our shelter.

In his free time, Tommy enjoys collecting hot sauces, thrift store shopping, and hiking the trail and river systems around Virginia with his two dogs Beet and Sprout.

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