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Koko’s Kitten   <  Page 13  >

On a foggy December morning, one of the assistants told me that Ball had been hit by a car.  He had died instantly.

I was shocked and unprepared. I didn’t realize how attached I had grown to Ball, and I had no idea how the news would affect Koko. The kitten meant so much to her. He was Koko’sbaby.

I went to Koko at once. I told her that Ball had been hit by a car; she would not see him again.

Koko did not respond. I thought she didn’t understand, so I left the trailer.

Koko signs “SAD”

Ten minutes later, I heard Koko cry. It washer distress call—a loud, long series of high-pitched hoots.

I cried, too.

Three days later, Koko and I had a conversation about Ball.

“Do you want to talk about your kitty?” Iasked.

“Cry,” Koko signed.“

Can you tell me more about it?” I asked.

“Blind,” she signed.

“We don’t see him anymore, do we?

What happened to your kitty?” I asked.

“Sleep cat,” Koko signed.

A few weeks later, Koko saw a picture of a gray tabby who looked very much like Ball. She pointed to the picture and signed, “Cry, sad, frown.”

It was an unhappy time.

Koko’s Kitten   <  Page 13  >

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