By Velia Tarnoff Special to Published Nov 22, 2007 at 8:55 AM

Watch this space for a "Pet of the Week" coming soon, but please indulge me as I share a story that seems especially apropos during this season.

While every companion animal at the Wisconsin Humane Society is special, every now and then there comes along an animal that is truly extraordinary.

One such animal is Conrad, an adult cat who is deaf and blind. He'd been at WHS for months, and, before that, he spent several months at the Ozaukee County Humane Society.

Luckily, Conrad wasn't lonely. What makes his story even more bittersweet is that he has his own long-time "companion animal," Casey, an adult cat who watches out for Conrad and "lends" her ears and eyes. As you might guess, Conrad needed to remain with his furry friend, so any potential, adoptive individual or family would need to be open to taking in two cats.

Last week, Conrad and Casey found a perfect home. Kathy, pictured above with Conrad, was born in Ireland completely deaf, and the condition was undiagnosed until she began school. She heard her first sound at age 23 and still has extremely limited hearing. Today, she enjoys a career as a nurse and her husband is an architect who sometimes designs modified buildings for the disabled.

I have lots of things to be thankful for this season. I'm adding people like Kathy and cats like Conrad and Casey to the list. 

Velia Tarnoff Special to

Velia Tarnoff counts among the loves of her life her daughter, her husband, her friends, writing, developing theories, dancing, live music, Southern California, black coffee and red wine. She's happiest when she can put as many of those together as possible. WWith more than 20 years of experience as a radio reporter and public relations professional, Velia is a natural communicator who loves to hear stories, to share stories and to tell it like it is.

Velia earned her B.A. from the UW School of Journalism and is thankful for every moment she spent on that wonderfully wacky campus.

And, in the interest of full disclosure, Velia is the wife of Publisher Andy Tarnoff.