Spice the Miracle Kitten will be Home for the Holidays

This story was selected for our series: “Top Stories of 2014.”

We all know that cats can be very curious, but you have to wonder just how curious a cat would need to be to travel from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Portland, Maine in only 5 days time. That’s over 2,300 miles! It would be an amazing feat for a grown cat, let alone a 6-month-old kitten.

The story of Spice
On November 5th, Spice the cat was found outside of the Catholic Charities Maine Thrift Store in Portland — in a duffle bag full of kitty litter and cat food. Bob Watterson had moved the bag inside, assuming it was filled with donations, that's when he noticed it moving, reported the Portland Press Herald. With no sightings of tags or a collar, Watterson took the cat home and eventually brought her to the Greater Portland Animal Refuge League in Westbrook after she exhibited signs of stress.

ARL has been taking good care of Spice since then. She was diagnosed with (and has been treated for) an upper respiratory infection – a kitty cold.

Patsy Murphy, the executive director of the Animal Refuge League explained to Scott Stump of, “We have been around 103 years, and I will tell you this is the first time an animal has arrived at the shelter from anywhere further away than a 100-mile radius. What are the chances?”

Stump reported that once the animal shelter discovered Spice’s microchip, they contacted HomeAgain, a company that handles microchip data. They were able to get in touch with Spice’s guardian in Albuquerque. The guardian, who wishes not to be identified, was “floored,” and “absolutely stunned.” She told Murphy that, “she doesn’t know anyone in Maine and has never been here, so she had no idea how the cat got here.” There is little doubt that had Spice not been microchipped, finding a guardian so far away would have been impossible. Click here to learn more about these amazing devices.

While elated that her cat was found, the guardian could not afford to get the cat back home. Here’s where the story took yet another amazing turn.

How will Spice get home for the holidays?
When Jonathan Ayers, President and CEO of Laboratories, Inc. Laboratories read the story, he was inspired to help. He has four rescue cats of his own and through Laboratories, Inc. he already had a relationship with the Animal Refuge League.
“Laboratories, Inc. has a long standing relationship,” said Jon Ayers, “They do a fabulous job as a shelter… we help them by funding veterinary care that they provide foster pets… It’s an important part of our giving back to the local Portland community.”

Jon quickly reached out to the Greater Portland Animal Refuge League and offered to cover the cost of getting Spice home. Spice’s story became personal right away. He could tell that she wanted to go home. “It was just nice that I could be able to complete the miracle of Spice and reunite these two.”

Spice’s cold kept her in Maine until it was resolved, but now that she’s healthy, Spice is flying home on December 4th. Southwest Airlines, also moved by the story, is providing complimentary airfare, an FAA approved cat travel carrier and a seat for Spice in the main cabin. Spice won’t be traveling alone either. Companions Patsy Murphy and Jeana Roth (Community Relations Manager of the Animal Rescue League) will be joining her.

Jon Ayers will cover all other related costs of travel for the trio and, to ensure the best possible care for Spice, Laboratories, Inc. will sponsor six months of free diagnostic testing once she is returned to her family in New Mexico.

More of 2014's top stories:

  • The Unbelievable Christmas Reunion Nobody Saw Coming
  • CDC Releases Information about Ebola and Pets
  • Former Marine Turned Dog Savior Wins Hero of the Year
  • Dramatic Bald-Eagle Rescue; Lead Poisoning to Blame
  • Grumpy Cat and Other Feline Celebrities Meet in Los Angeles
  • Oldest Cat in the World Enjoys 24th Birthday!

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.


Yearly Departed — The Amazon Original comedy special hosted by Phoebe Robinson will feature a female-led lineup including Rachel Brosnahan, Ziwe, Tiffany Haddish, Patti Harrison, Natasha Leggier, Natasha Rothwell and Sarah Silverman delivering eulogies for all the thing we’ve lost in 2020. Premieres Wednesday, Dec. 30 on Amazon Prime Video.

United in Song: A Celebration of America’s Resilience — PBS’ New Year’s Eve broadcast features performances encouraging the nation to come together in the face of a difficult year. Premieres Thursday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. on PBS.

Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2021 — Lucy Hale and Billy Porter will join Ryan Seacrest in Times Square with Ciara hosting from Los Angeles. Premieres Thursday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

NBC’s New Year’s Eve 2020 — Carson Daly returns to host live from Times Square alongside Julianne Hough and correspondent Stephen “tWitch” Boss (The Ellen DeGeneres Show DJ). Performances from X Ambassadors, Brett Eldredge, Hough, NE-YO, Leslie Odom Jr., Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani, and The Struts. Part 1 premieres at 10–11 p.m. ET and Part 2 at 11:30 p.m.–12:30 a.m. ET on on Dec. 31.

Fox’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2021 — Ken Jeong And Joel McHale count down to 2021 and welcome celebrity and musical guests in this special. Part 1 premieres at 8 p.m. and Part 2 at 11 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31 on Fox.

Doctor Who special “Revolution of the Daleks” — Yaz (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Graham (Bradley Walsh) are far away on Earth and must carry on with their lives without the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker), who has been imprisoned however, they soon discover a disturbing plan involving a Dalek forming. John Barrowman reprises his role as Captain Jack Harkness, alongside Chris Noth (Sex and the City), who will be back as the disgraced Jack Robertson. Harriet Walter (Killing Eve) makes her Doctor Who debut, alongside television star Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (The Trial of Christine Keeler).

Great Performances: “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2021” — Host Hugh Bonneville is joined by guest conductor Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic performing a festive selection of Strauss Family waltzes. Premieres at 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 1 on PBS.

Hello 2020, YouTube
YouTube’s five-part streaming event is a New Year’s Eve celebration spanning across the Americas, the U.K., Korea, Japan, and India on December 31. Each localized celebration will include inspiring speeches, live musical performances, DJ-hosted dance parties and more. The Americas presentation will include Matthew McConaughey, Demi Lovato, RuPaul, Dua Lipa, J Balvin, and more, while the U.K. welcomes Katherine Ryan, Michaela Coel, Natasia Demetriou, Dua Lipa, Anne-Marie, and MNEK South Korea’s lineup includes GGILGGIL Market, Tester Hoon, and Balming Tiger Japan’s includes top creators Tokai On Air, Puritto Channel, and Mochizuki Rie India’s includesTiger Shroff, Badshah, Zakir Khan, and more.

Revry Wrapped: 2020 — The global queer digital TV network’s top 20 countdown of fan favorites includes celebs like Billy Porter, Janelle Monáe, Hugh Jackman, Angelica Ross, Dan Levy, Regina King, Laverne Cox, Laura Linney, Shangela paying tribute to the romance, comedy, drama, and reality shows available for free on demand on Revry beginning Jan. 1.

Count down to the holidays with these foodie Advent calendars

The holidays are going to be a little different this year and we’re going to have to get a bit more creative to make the season bright. Perhaps it’s time to start a new tradition – one that brings a little bit of holiday cheer into every day. We’re talking about Advent calendars, the gift that actually keeps on giving.

The tradition of Advent calendars started in the mid-19th century with German Protestants who would use the calendar to mark the period of Advent, counting down the days until Christmas. From December 1st through December 24th, one would open a door on the Advent calendar, and out would come either a small picture, Bible verse, or, more commonly these days, a piece of chocolate.

But Advent calendars have gotten more elaborate in recent years, offering up daily gifts of cheese, hot sauce, beer and even wine! So add some joy to your holiday season with some of these incredible food and drink Advent calendars.

Friday, Nov. 27

5 a.m. "Christmas Getaway" HALL (2017) Bridget Regan. A recently single travel writer’s plans to spend the holiday season alone are dashed when a mishap forces her to share a cabin with a widower and his family.

7 a.m. "With Love, Christmas" HALL (2017) Emilie Ullerup. An advertising executive is forced to team up with her cross coworker on producing a new commercial for an upcoming Christmas project.

7 a.m. "The 12 Wishes of Christmas" LIFE (2011) Elisa Donovan. A life coach tells a fashion designer to make a list of 12 wishes and meditate on them, but as the wishes come true she searches for a way to undo the process.

8 a.m. "To Grandmother’s House We Go" AMC (1992) Mary-Kate Olsen. Twin sisters Sarah and Julie decide to give their mother a break and journey to their grandmother’s house for Christmas, but their trip goes awry.

9 a.m. "Christmas Next Door" HALL (2017) Jesse Metcalfe. When a workaholic father loses his job shortly before Christmas, his lack of parenting skills is displayed when he spends the holiday with his children.

11 a.m. "Nine Lives of Christmas" HALL (2014) Brandon Routh. When a firefighter adopts a stray cat, a veterinarian teaches him how to care for his fragile pet, which leads to unexpected romance.

11 a.m. "Dear Santa" LIFE (2011) Amy Acker. A 24-year-old woman aimlessly drifts through life until she finds a letter to Santa that is written by a little girl and asks him to bring her daddy a new wife.

1 p.m. "Christmas Reservations" LIFE (2019) Melissa Joan Hart. After a chance encounter with her old college sweetheart, an event coordinator at her family’s Treeline Ski Resort questions her reservations about love.

1 p.m. "Sleigh Bells Ring" HALL (2016) Erin Cahill. A single mother hoping for a promotion must put together a successful town parade for Christmas, and a magical sleigh may hold the key to everything she needs.

3 p.m. "Good Morning Christmas!" HALL (2020) Alison Sweeney. Squabbling TV hosts are sent to a festive small town over Christmas, and discover that there's more to each other than they thought.

3 p.m. "Christmas Unwrapped" LIFE (2020) Amber Stevens West. An ambitious reporter is assigned to profile a man who uses mysterious funds to donate Christmas presents every year, insisting that Santa Claus pays for it.

4:30 p.m. "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" AMC (1987) Steve Martin. A businessman trying to get home for the holidays is paired up with a loutish salesman who turns his journey into a three-day stretch of errors.

5 p.m. "Crown for Christmas" HALL (2015) Danica McKellar. A woman becomes a governess after being let go from her job at a hotel and discovers that her new employer and his young daughter are European monarchs.

5 p.m. "A Welcome Home Christmas" LIFE (2020) Jana Kramer. While supporting a local Christmas toy drive, a woman is partnered with a veteran who has recently returned home, and they begin to form a bond.

6:30 p.m. "Four Christmases" AMC (2008) Reese Witherspoon. A couple scramble, reluctantly, to make it to four separate family holiday celebrations.

7 p.m. "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town" ABC The stop-motion-animation story of how Kris Kringle became Santa Claus.

7 p.m. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" NBC The Grinch tries to stop the Whos down in Whoville from celebrating Christmas in the 1966 animated holiday classic.

7 p.m. "Frosty the Snowman" CBS A group of kids are thrilled when their snowman magically comes to life, but they must travel north with him when spring arrives to prevent him from melting.

7 p.m. "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" CW

7 p.m. "A Christmas in Vermont" COZI (2016) Abigail Hawk. A business executive comes to a small town to shut down a factory during the holidays, but she soon gets other ideas.

7 p.m. "Christmas From Great European Organs" WVCY

7 p.m. "Dear Christmas" LIFE (2020) Melissa Joan Hart. A host of a podcast on holiday romance finds some of her own when she goes home for Christmas.

7 p.m. "Five Star Christmas" HALL (2020) Bethany Joy Lenz. A family tries to convince a travel writer they're all guests when he shows up at their B&B, but romance complicates things.

7:30 p.m. "A Minions Holiday" NBC

7:30 p.m. "Frosty Returns" CBS

8:30 p.m. "Fred Claus" AMC (2007) Vince Vaughn. Santa’s brother ends up in jail, so Santa gets him to work at the North Pole to help pay off his debt, but his bad attitude begins to try Santa’s patience.

9:03 p.m. "Christmas Hotel" LIFE (2019) Tatyana Ali. An aspiring hotel manager enlists the help of an old childhood friend to win over her small hometown as she struggles to open a new chain hotel.

9:03 p.m. "A Timeless Christmas" HALL (2020) A man ends up traveling from 1903 to 2020 and meets a woman who helps him experience what Christmastime is like in the 21st century.

11 p.m. "Four Christmases" AMC (2008) Reese Witherspoon. A couple scramble, reluctantly, to make it to four separate family holiday celebrations.

11:01 p.m. "Dear Christmas" LIFE (2020) Melissa Joan Hart. A host of a podcast on holiday romance finds some of her own when she goes home for Christmas.

11:03 p.m. "Switched for Christmas" HALL (2017) Candace Cameron Bure. When estranged twin sisters get together, the two realize their envy for each other’s life, so they decide to swap places to learn how the other half lives.

1:03 a.m. "Jingle Around the Clock" HALL (2018) Brooke Nevin. When a woman plans a Christmas celebration with her college friends, she is forced to work on an advertising campaign for her job.

1:04 a.m. "Christmas Hotel" LIFE (2019) Tatyana Ali. An aspiring hotel manager enlists the help of an old childhood friend to win over her small hometown as she struggles to open a new chain hotel.

3:03 a.m. "Christmas at the Palace" HALL (2018) Merritt Patterson. When a woman plans the holiday skating pageant for the Kingdom of San Senova, she must bring the royal family together for the festivities.

3:30 a.m. "To Grandmother’s House We Go" AMC (1992) Mary-Kate Olsen. Twin sisters Sarah and Julie decide to give their mother a break and journey to their grandmother’s house for Christmas, but their trip goes awry.

Spice the Miracle Kitten will be Home for the Holidays - pets

As an essential business through the ongoing pandemic, Brookshire Grocery Company’s top priority is the health and safety of our employee-partners, customers and communities. Even after the statewide mask order is removed, BGC will strongly encourage customers and require employee-partners and vendors to wear face masks while in our stores. Following the CDC’s guidelines, we will continue to uphold our COVID-19 protocols to take proactive and preventive measures, including face masks, social distancing and sanitation practices beyond our normally stringent standards. We look forward to the day when our employee-partners have access to the vaccine as frontline workers, and we recover from the pandemic together.

We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in fighting the spread of this virus.

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