Thanks to the actions of a group of Forest Park employees and a concerned resident, a stray kitten went from a frigid, snow-filled parking lot to a new home in less than eight hours on Nov. 26.
Police Chief Tom Aftanas said a resident brought the kitten to the police station around 3:30 p.m. that day, saying he found it in the parking lot in the 7400 block of Washington Street.
Aftanas explained that the department policy is to take strays that are dropped off at the police station, as well as ones that officers find and pick up, to the Animal Care League in Oak Park, which is a no-kill shelter. He said they kept the kitten for a while in case its owner came looking for it, then started searching for somebody to take it home.
As people started filtering into the council chambers in advance of the village council meeting, Aftanas was showing a picture of the kitten on his cell phone, describing it as "very friendly," and asking if anybody was interested in taking it home.
Karen Dylewski, director of the Howard Mohr Community Center, claimed the kitten after seeing it in-person.
"I wanted to keep it from going to the shelter," she explained, admitting her love for cats is known among family and friends.
Although she said she would have kept the kitten herself, her daughter, Diana Puente, wound up taking the kitten.
The kitten, which she and her husband, Max, named Archie, is a house-warming gift of sorts since Diana and Max, who married recently, are moving into their new home in Naperville.
"I'm sure he just wandered off from his mother and the rest of the litter," Dylewski said of Archie. She estimated him to be about six weeks old, which she said is the time a kitten typically starts out on his own.
She brought the kitten to the village council meeting and he stayed with her without incident through the 20-minute session.
"It's definitely a happy ending," Aftanas said.