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Banjo's big escape
The Paw Shop's resident cat Banjo is recovering after a big night out in downtown Cranbrook on Saturday night.
The pet store's owner, Stephanie McGregor, said she got a phone call at about 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 23 from a customer who had driven past the 10th Avenue store and noticed the storefront window had been smashed.
"I came down and there was a big hole in the window and Banjo was gone," Stephanie said.
"It was awful. I didn't know if she got cut, or if people took her, or if she got totally spooked and bolted."
The first thing Stephanie did was post a photo of Banjo to the store's Facebook page, telling customers that Banjo was missing. She'd learned the power of social media about 18 months ago when a foster kitten was taken from the store. Through Facebook, the person who took the kitten was found and the kitten was returned.
"As soon as (Banjo) wasn't here, I knew I should put it on Facebook right away."
Then Stephanie began walking around downtown Cranbrook, looking and calling for Banjo.
It didn't take long for the community to respond.
"We had about eight of us – other business owners, Carla from the Playpen, Erin from Lotus Books, customers and friends.
"It made me feel really great. I was really frustrated that someone would smash my window, but everyone coming down to help out – instantly, they were here in no time to help me look for her. That was amazing and it made up for the bad feelings towards whoever smashed the window."
It only took about an hour and a half for the crew to find Banjo.
"A gentleman who lives above the York saw a cat and then he remembered that the Paw Shop had its window smashed and the Paw Shop had a cat. So he was nice enough to come up and tell us," said Stephanie.
He took Stephanie to where he had last seen Banjo – behind Dewey's – and there she was, sunning herself on the back porch.
"She wasn't stressed at all. She wouldn't even come to me; she would come close, to tease me, but she was really enjoying the sun.
"I was so relieved that she was there, living it up, having a night out on the town. It was a Saturday night out for her."
Now Banjo is back home, a little tired but no worse for wear. Her biggest complaint is that the window is boarded up so her cat tree has been moved from its regular spot in the sun.
As for the store, Stephanie said nothing was taken when the window was smashed, and only a few items in the storefront were destroyed.
Meanwhile, the original Facebook post was shared 152 times by loyal Paw Shop customers who were concerned for Banjo's safety.
"It's so nice – it really is heartwarming," said Stephanie. "I was just praying that it would be a happy ending."