Tommy Cat, feline diabetic Hurricane Sandy survivor got the surprise of his life this week when Sacramento area adopter, Ann E. Collins, took him to his forever home. Tommy will have a special place there, as Ms. Collins has devoted her life to special needs animals just like him.
Tommy was fondly bid farewell by the loving staff at Helen Woodward Animal Center located at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe, California on Tuesday, February 4th. The long-time resident will be greatly missed but the entire group wishes him well in his new home setting!
This feline was one of 47 orphan pets who made national news when they were flown across the country to Helen Woodward Animal Center on November 17th, 2012. The East Coast shelter dogs and cats had been waiting for forever homes when Hurricane Sandy hit and left their facilities uninhabitable.
Everyone knew that this tomcat was special right from the very beginning – even before it was discovered that he was diabetic and suffered from diabetic neuropathy. The 11-year-old cat was thought to have a fighting chance when he arrived, despite his age, but after the diagnosis, it was unclear if and when he would ever be adopted!
So he became a part of their family and developed quite a reputation because of the loving head butts he distributed to all those he knew and loved. He did so often when the diabetic neuropathy was not acting up, his nerves were working in sync with his body and he was able to walk.
The spunky cat didn’t let his illness get him down, however. Throughout months of insulin injections and laser treatments at Helen Woodward Animal Center, Tommy befriended every vet tech and adoptions staff member who came his way establishing himself not only a staff favorite, but as a true example in the art of survival and never giving up.
In early October of 2013, Tommy’s neuropathy showed remarkable signs of improvement. Although his diabetes remained, his legs were back in bounding condition and Center staff hoped his chance at a new life would arrive swiftly. But months went by and Tommy remained. The few who inquired expressed concerns about his age and his insulin injection requirements.
“I think every single staff member considered adopting him at some point,” said Helen Woodward Animal Center Customer Service Supervisor Jonelle Lenz. “We all loved him so much but we also understood the challenges. We wanted him to find someone who would be home for most of the day to attend to his medical needs. He deserves it. He had a rough go of it and he never let it affect the amount of love and devotion he expressed to anyone who showed him kindness.”
Thankfully there is someone out there for everyone as is evident when HWAC staff was contacted by physical therapist Ann E. Collins. Collins is from Rocklin, in the Northern California, Sacramento area. She drove the distance to meet Tommy Cat because she, herself, has been a diabetic for 51 years and she understands the throes of the disease. She is also a great believer in special needs animals and her family of pets currently consists of a 12 year old Lab with diabetes, a tripod Afghan hound, an emergency rescue Pit Bull and a senior cat.
Ann saw the story of Tommy on multiple pet blogs and just had to meet him. After multiple phone conversations with the Center adoptions staff and Center Pet Trainer Rob Kuty, Collins decided to take the long drive down the coast to adopt Tommy. “This is what I do,” said Collins. “This is where my heart is – with these animals. It’s time for Tommy to come home.”
Tommy’s fans at Helen Woodward Animal Center couldn’t agree more. On Tuesday, Tommy Cat was able to meow his final farewell to the staff he had come to know as family. The staff is grateful to Ms. Collins for her devotion to pets with special needs and they wish their beloved Tommy a fond farewell and a purrrfect life. To see evidence of how great Tommy really is and how lucky Ann is to have him as part of her family, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT7qem8dyU8.
Helen Woodward Animal Center is dedicated to providing orphaned pets whatever medical care they require with the same loving concern they would provide to their pets at home. This financial commitment is made possible through the generous support of their donors. For more information on Helen Woodward Animal Center or on adoption, contact: 858-756-4117 ext. 1, go towww.animalcenter.org or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.