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Buddy's Story, our rescue kitty

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by jhall, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. jhall

    jhall

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    My wife and I adopted Buddy a while back. This is his story as written by one of the State Park workers who found him. It's long but a good read. I know we have some cat lovers on the board, so I thought I would share! I'll add some pics later.

    The Ninth Life of Buddy the Cat

    I don’t know the whole story about what happened to Buddy, but I can guess at what might have been. After meeting Buddy and watching him behave, it’s pretty clear that at some point in his life, he was somebody’s darling. I can see him strolling through a cozy kitchen, rubbing against the legs of someone who really loved him. I can see him curling up in his own private little kitty bed, snuggling down for the night, completely secure in his surroundings and company. How he lost this, I do not know, but lose it, he did.

    I met Buddy on a hot day in June, 2008, just outside my office door. My co-worker, Karen came to my office and said “There’s a cat outside”. The look on her face indicated that it was not a cute furry kitten, but a not so desirable cat. She went on to say “I hope you like cats because this one needs somebody”. It’s an unfortunate truth that people tend to use my place of employment, Tyler State Park, as a dumping ground for unwanted pets and animals. We had seen lots of them over the years. Mostly dogs, but sometimes cats, and even once, a pot bellied pig.

    I am an animal lover, it’s true. And I especially love cats. Always felt a bond with them, and I’ve actually never met a cat who didn’t like me. We just immediately know that we like each other. I went outside to look for this cat, and didn’t see him right away. “He’s under the bushes” Karen said. I bent down and there was Buddy, crouched under the hedge.

    [​IMG]

    I was shocked at what I saw. I had never seen an animal in such bad shape and still be alive. Where I live, the first thing most people would have said was “shoot him – put him out of his misery – too far gone to help”. His head looked like it had been chewed up and spit out, no hair was visible, just scabs, bloody places and raw looking skin. This went from his head to past his front shoulders. I spoke softly “kitty, kitty”?? He looked at me and screamed a raspy “MEEOW!!” He moved out from under the bush and came toward me. For an instant, I was afraid he was going to attack me, but of course, I was wrong. He was coming for help, begging for help. His cries were not angry or vicious, they were his way of weeping from the pain and misery he was in. He was actually “crying” like a person would cry if they were in this much distress. Even the physical effort of meowing seemed to cause him pain.

    [​IMG]

    I was afraid to touch him, afraid I would hurt him, and afraid he had something catching. It was obvious that he had been “on his own” and out in the wild for a long time. All I could think of was what could I do at this very moment to make him feel better. I went back inside and got my turkey and cheese sandwich and a cup of water. When I offered it to him, he ate ravenously, bread, mustard and all. He didn’t waste a single scrap. Karen got in her car and went up to the store across the road from the park where we work, and bought some milk and canned tuna. The clerk in the store said “Are you buying that for that stray cat? He’s been up here. We tried to run him off”. I guess they ran him to our park.

    Watching the cat eat, I started calling him “Buddy”. He looked like he needed a friend and more. He looked like someone had poured gasoline on him and set him on fire. Or maybe thrown out of a moving car and run over. He just looked really bad. There was a hump on his back and yellow pus was draining from it. His hair was matted and awful, where he had hair. Like I said, his head and shoulders appeared to have none, just raw, bleeding scabby skin, with several large bloody crusty patches.

    [​IMG]

    About that time, one of our rangers, Marvin, drove up and walked over to where we were. He looked at Buddy and the draining places and the head and shoulders, put on his nitrile gloves and went to work, squeezing and draining the abscesses on Buddy’s back. It was not a pretty thing to watch, but I was amazed at Buddy. He must have been in terrible pain and I’m sure the squeezing and mashing did not feel good, but he did not complain, did not try to scratch or bite. He just lay there with his eyes closed, knowing that someone was trying to help him. And I was so grateful to Marvin, who instead of saying “just put him out of his misery” just went to work doing what he could to help.

    I couldn’t work for worrying about the cat, so I told Marvin to wait while I ran home. I jumped in my van and went off to get first aid supplies that we did not have at the park. I brought back a small pet taxi, a clean towel, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, and aspirin. Buddy was still nibbling on the milk and tuna (we only gave him small amounts, fearing it would upset his stomach after starving so long). Marvin worked on him some more trying to drain the wounds, then he washed off all he could with the hydrogen peroxide. It foamed and foamed, even after several washings, indicating there was much bacteria there. After a while we figured we had done all we could.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2010
  2. jhall

    jhall

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    [​IMG]

    I folded the towel in half and put it on the sidewalk by the back door. After being worked on and after having eaten all he could, Buddy feebly stood up and crept over to the towel and laid down. He didn’t “curl up” but rather just collapsed on the towel with his head on his front paws. He was exhausted and sick. That one thing he did just tore my heart out. Somewhere, back in a former “kitty life” he had been someone’s pet, someone’s special who was accustomed to having his own bed, his own place and this towel, he knew, was there for him. He looked up at me and Marvin and meowed pitifully. With our gloves on we petted him, rubbed his head and back. He closed his eyes and soaked it up. I think he needed that as much as he needed the food.

    I went back inside but could not concentrate for thinking about Buddy on the sidewalk. It was hot that day, even in the shade, and Karen had looked out and had seen flies. We became worried that flies would light on Buddy and lay eggs in his wounds. That was just too much. Even though we have a rule about animals in the office, I went back out and got the pet taxi and brought it in my office and set it between my desk and the wall, partially hidden. At least Buddy would have a cool place to sleep and no flies would be on him.

    When I got the pet taxi and put his towel in it, Buddy slowly obliged and walked into the pet taxi, once again affirming that he had had a better life somewhere and knew what pet taxis were. Once again he did not protest or object to anything we suggested, but instead obeyed, in complete trust that we would help him. Once inside the office, he did “curl up” so to speak and went to sleep. I checked on him often to be sure he was okay. He slept as though he were in a coma. I guess out in the wild, restful sleep was hard to come by.

    I took out the telephone book and started calling vets. I was far too broke to pay for one, so I had to ask that they do the work “pro-bono”. I called several with no luck. Everyone had a good excuse but no one could offer help. I called the Humane Society and they referred me to a vet in Hideaway Lake, Dr. Jason Beard. I called him and left my name and number and a description of the problem we had.

    About an hour and a half later, I got a call from Dr. Beard’s clinic. Yes, he would take Buddy. At first I couldn’t believe my ears. I was thrilled, overjoyed, elated. I grabbed the pet taxi and jumped in my van and quickly delivered Buddy to Dr. Beard’s office, about a 15 minute drive away. It talked to Buddy in the van on the way to the clinic. Told him not to worry because help was on the way. I wondered what Dr. Beard would say when he actually saw Buddy. Would he still be willing to try and save this mangled cat? Maybe the wounds and disease were too bad, too far gone. What if there was no answer for Buddy except merciful euthanasia? Dr. Beard was surprised when he saw Buddy and all the damage done to the little body, but assured me he would do all he could to save him.

    I left the vet’s office feeling wonderful and apprehensive. My mind had jumped ahead to the next hurdle, the next big problem. I hoped Buddy could be saved but if he did live, he would need a new home. I could not take him, no matter how badly I wanted to. I decided just to thank God for today and not worry about tomorrow until tomorrow.

    [​IMG]

    I went back to visit Buddy as often as I could. Each time I went, he looked better. Dr. Beard said he had not been doused with gasoline but instead had what is called sarcoptic mange. Little mites had literally eaten his skin up and he had scratched it and made it worse. The treatment for this was tedious and extensive. Buddy had to be shaved where there was hair and scraped where there was none. Dr. Beard put him to sleep to do this so Buddy didn’t have to suffer the pain. The wounds on his back were thought to have been made by a larger animal, maybe a coyote. Perhaps Buddy had gotten into a bad fight with something while he was on his own out in the wild. He had other wounds, places where the skin looked like it had just been rubbed off. Dr. Beard patiently attended each one and stitched up the open wounds.

    Buddy also had feline leukemia, making it impossible for him to have a home with other cats because of the chance of infecting them with this incurable kitty disease. Each time I went to the clinic, I had to put on gloves to pet him, but oh, did he enjoy the head stroking and back rub! At first he would close his eyes, then he would look up at me. His eyes were the eyes of an old man, a tired, and sick old man, and they were full of gratitude. Everyone at the clinic had fallen in love with Buddy. For even though his outward appearance was grotesque, his personality was irresistible. And he ate like a horse!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2010

  3. jhall

    jhall

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    Time passed and Buddy continued to improve. But we were having no luck at all finding a home for him. Gayle Helms from the Humane Society was doing all she could to help and I was checking with everyone I knew but for one reason or another, no one could take Buddy. Our friends at KLTV came out and did a nice piece on Buddy, hoping that would catch the eye of some kind hearted cat lover, but none of the inquiries we received lead to a home. On the day of the shoot, Buddy was dressed up. The staff at the vet’s office had shampooed and brushed him and put a flag patterned bandana on his neck. He behaved more normally on that day than any time I had seen him. He seemed to know he was “performing” and that his life literally depended on it. He tried to play a little with Dr. Beard, and meowed softly for the camera a couple of times. I wanted so badly just to grab him up and take him home with me, but my heart ached because I knew it was impossible.

    [​IMG]


    Time passed, and no one appeared to want Buddy. I carried around an internal feeling panic most of the time. I had exhausted all options to find a home for Buddy with no results. Surely we had not come this far only to be defeated by indifference.

    Finally, one of the clerks at the clinic said she would take Buddy, but it would be two more months because she was moving and didn’t want to take him until she was settled in her new apartment. Dr. Beard however, needed to get Buddy out of the clinic. He was taking up space needed by other animals, and eating a ton of food. Dr. Beard had already extended kindness and love to Buddy in such magnanimous proportions, how could I ask for more. No, Buddy had to find a permanent home.

    Then one day, my guardian angel in a ranger uniform, Marvin, came by the office and said I could bring Buddy to his house and he could live there with their tiny little dogs. So I picked Buddy up and took him to Marvin’s house. Dr. Beard gave me a print-out of Buddy’s medical records (several pages!!). At first it didn’t work out very well. Marvin and his wife Debra let Buddy inside and he immediately thanked them for their hospitality by “marking” all the furniture with “kitty pee”. So he was banished to the outside porch. Debra made him a good home outside with a bed and food and water so Buddy roamed the outdoors (never going too far!) and continued to recover from his ordeal.

    When Marvin and Debra sold their house and moved, Buddy had to move also. He now lives with Marvin’s daughter and her family. His fur has grown out into a glorious lion-like mane and his best friend and constant companion is a little shiatsu named Lexie.

    As for Dr. Beard, I can’t put into words the debt I feel for him. I know lots of people wear bracelets that say “W.W. J. D.”, but he doesn’t need one of these. He knows what Jesus would have done, and he did it. I asked him once, why he decided to extend his help to this hopeless looking cat and he said “if you have the knowledge to help, you should use it”. Those words are so much easier said than done, it’s really wonderful to know there are still people in the world, willing to do the right thing, the hard thing, for no reward other than the knowledge that you did the best you could for a fellow living creature. No less thanks goes to Marvin and Deborah Hart and their daughter for the help they provided at the beginning of this story and at the end.

    [​IMG]

    Buddy continues to improve and appears to be perfectly healthy even though the feline leukemia can never be cured, he seems to be living with it remarkably well. It’s hard to see him now and remember the way he looked back on that day in June. And even with his glorious coat, and impressive physique, he seems to still have a look of sadness in his eyes. Whether it’s really sadness or not, we’ll never know. Maybe he’s remembering his other master, the one who loved him so much, and that he loved in return, or days gone by of a happier life. Whatever is in that little kitty head, he remains today, the sweet loving gentle friend that I know he is, that I knew he was back in June.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2010
  4. jhall

    jhall

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    This is Buddy as of this week -

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Buddy is the greatest cat we have ever had. It's like he thanks us everyday for caring for him. He runs to us as soon as he sees us and never leaves our side when we are outside. He will play with anything you give him, and will even fetch occasionally.

    I should also add that Marvin is my father in law. The daughter and family talked about in the story is my wife and I.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2010
  5. TiltbackJack

    TiltbackJack

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    Wow, great story! Congrats to you, Marvin, and the good Doctor. Quite a nice surprise ending too. Kudos to you sir! Buddy looks MUCH better now!
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2010
  6. OldLincoln

    OldLincoln

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    I love that story and the way you told it. Buddy is fortunate to have found you and I believe you feel likewise fortunate.
     
  7. jhall

    jhall

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    Thanks for the comments! I wasn't sure anyone was going to read all of that! We are very glad we have Buddy!
     
  8. 3glkdog

    3glkdog

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    That was a good story, I'm a cat lover, I have two cats. Thank you for caring.
     
  9. Razrbk444

    Razrbk444 Sumthin' Witty Silver Member

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    Excellent story! Buddy is a lucky and beautiful cat.
     
  10. goldenlight

    goldenlight

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    Thank you for saving this wonderful cat's life.

    If you had not taken him in, and found the marvelous and wonderful Dr. Beard to tend to his wounds and illnesses, he would surely have died by now.

    He really is a beautiful kitty, now.

    I hope he lives for many, many years, providing companionship and love for those who are fortunate to share his life.
     
  11. JuneyBooney

    JuneyBooney

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    Great kitty story. It is hard to believe he is the same kitty as in the first pics. I think he used up some of his nine lives.:faint:But it is great that he has a loving home with marvelous parents now. :supergrin:
     
  12. G19Tony

    G19Tony Sneet CLM

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    Best post on the site. Thank you. :wavey:
     
  13. Blitzer

    Blitzer Cool Cat

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    Great story! :cat:

    Buddy looks like my old boy Red, who passed away 15 years ago. He was a sweet tommy and I miss him still today.
     
  14. GlockerMike

    GlockerMike God Help Us

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    Great story. He will repay you many times over for your kindness.
     
  15. 23skidoo

    23skidoo Deceased

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    Great story! From a fellow cat lover and staff member of a rescue, thank you.

    Mitch.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Dr. Leaky

    Dr. Leaky Know-It-All

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    Great posting - shows the rewards YOU got from helping the helpless.
     
  17. deputy tom

    deputy tom

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    Great story with a very happy ending.Buddy is very lucky and so are you.tom.
     
  18. Blinky

    Blinky Rocket Surgeon

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    What a fantastic story.
     
  19. ExxoticOne

    ExxoticOne

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    I can't even believe it's the same cat! Thanks for sharing this...great thread. I'll be showing this to all my co-workers :wavey:
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2010
  20. Lone_Wolfe

    Lone_Wolfe Sandbox Refugee CLM

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    Buddy sure turned out to be a beautiful cat.

    God bless you for taking him in and doing so much for him. :thumbsup: He'll return the love many times over. That vet is an angel, all right.