The very best thing that Santa Claus could bring any of us is love. For Austin Brooks, 12, that is exactly what happened this week. Last month the family cat passed away and he was devastated by the loss but he carried on. His mother, Mari, works for the Humane Society of Genesee County, Michigan, and Austin spends a lot of time volunteering at the shelter. It was this activity that led him to experience a Christmas miracle.

Austin with Santa and Gizzard
Austin with Santa and Gizzard

Austin goes to the shelter to walk dogs and play with the kitties to keep them socialized. Among Austin's recent volunteer activities he helped the shelter put on a yoga event with adoptable cats. He met a beautiful black cat named Gizzard (Gizz for short). It was love at first sight. Mari was not blind to the fact that her son had just found a furry soulmate. So she started to work out a plan for the surprise of a lifetime.

Austin Finds Out Gizzard is His for Keeps
Austin Finds Out Gizzard is His for Keeps

A few days later the shelter was having a holiday event with Santa in attendance. Naturally Austin was there too and he was asked to participate in a photo shoot with the jolly old elf and Gizz. While cameras were catching the scene Santa suddenly turned to Austin, handed him the cat, and told him that Gizzard was his to keep.

Gizzard
Gizzard

Austin burst into tears of joy, completely overwhelmed. And here he thought he was too old to believe in Santa. His emotion spilled over and there wasn't a dry eye in the house, except maybe for Gizz who hadn't yet caught on that he had found his forever home. To check out the video that mom took of this cherished moment, click here.

Nappily Ever After
Nappily Ever After

The boy and his cat are nearly inseparable now. When Austin calls his cat Gizzard comes tearing to see what his best buddy is up to. Naturally they sleep together every night.

Austin giving of himself at the shelter while grieving makes me think of a quote by Nelson Mandela: "There can be no greater gift than that of giving one’s time & energy to help others without expecting anything in return." The rewards come anyway and when you least expect it.

May love find its way into your home this Christmas season.

Images via The Dodo, Facebook

Sources: The Dodo, Facebook, Pop Sugar

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