First, the orange cat’s owners moved away and left him behind. Luckily he had a neighbor who fed him and checked on him as he roamed his neighborhood. One day, however, he showed up with severe burns all over his head. Poor guy!
That is when his luck started to change. Keegan was taken to Good Karma Pet Rescue of South Florida, where a veterinarian tended to his burns, and a team of volunteers gave him much love and care. He is still recovering, but he is doing well.
Keegan had mange, leading the veterinarian to believe that his burns were due to a chemical that someone had applied to treat his skin condition. Because of the burns, he lost most of his fur on his face and neck. Eventually, he should have a full fluff around his neck again.
A donor and volunteer for Good Karma Pet Rescue commissioned me to paint a pet portrait of Keegan to be placed in the rescue’s new adoption room/cat cafe. Keegan will soon go on to a forever home (yay!), but his pet portrait will remain for all see and to remember the great work that is done there for cats. The pet portrait was painted in my Contemporary Folk Art Style.
Good Karma Pet Rescue is an amazing organization that rescues animals from challenging circumstances in the Fort Lauderdale, FL area. Learn more about their great rescue work by following their Facebook page. You can also send donations here.
I am so glad that they shared some of their “good karma” with Keegan, and many other animals in need!
I offer discounts to those interested in donating artwork to animal rescue organizations. Contact me if you would like to learn more about the process of purchasing art for donations.
My new friend Diana is one of those people who quietly go about their business, doing great things in the world with few people noticing. Seeing a need in her community to offer accommodation to cats in unfortunate circumstances, she started a rescue and shelter for cats over 25 years ago.
Diana has made that her life’s mission ever since. She also created a low cost spay-neuter clinic to encourage her community to reduce the overpopulation of pets as a part of the Stop The Overpopulation of Pets Inc (STOP). organization.
Being connected to numerous animal rescue advocates through social media, I see posts like this from time to time. Usually they are connected to major disasters in far off places. This one, however, was isolated and not part of a bigger event. And it was close. Mansfield is about 70 miles from my home in Canton.
My first thought was that my favorite rescue organization, Peace for Pets, could offer live traps to assist with catching the missing cats. I made a call. That is when I first met Diana.
Diana told me that they did not need traps. But they did need help with raising funds for the veterinary care of the cats that survived. She was beside herself, as the animals that she had been carefully tending as they recovered from previous injury and hardship were now suffering from smoke inhalation.
Cats are cats, I told myself. Regardless of whether they are in my hometown or elsewhere, cats in such a crisis need more than a local community can offer. I checked the organization out to make sure it was legitimate (it was). I had skills and connections that I wanted to offer. Diana gladly accepted my offer to develop an online fund raising campaign to help her out.
As of this writing, people from all over the world have already contributed $2240.00 to the Cat Shelter Fire Disaster Recovery Fund for Stop The Overpopulation of Pets Inc (STOP). This is nothing short of amazing! Much more is still needed, however, to get the cats treatment and to help the shelter obtain items to manage their ongoing care.
In my first and subsequent conversations with Diana, I have repeated these words to her, “You are not alone.” I know this to be true, because I know people all over the world who do great works for animals, and I know that they care about others doing the same work in distant places. I also know that it can feel as though you are alone, because the day in day out job of caring for animals that have been cast off by society is rigorous.
But Diana is not, and YOU are not, alone, if you rescue animals.
Please let Diana know this by considering a small (or large) donation to the recovery fund. And let the animal advocates close to you know that you care too.
Thank you Diana, and everyone else who takes care of animals for no acclaim, each and every day. And thank you to those who help to support their great work.
Fanny, the cat pictured above, is one of the cats who survived the fire. She is like many of the cats tended by STOP. Prior to the fire, she was rescued after losing a leg to a fan belt in a car. She recovered well from the surgery, and was ready for adoption. We hope that she and her fellow feline friends recover well from the present tragedy and will soon be ready to go to her forever home. You can see Fanny’s Petfinder page here. Youcan read more about the fire from the Mansfield News Journal here.
But Slick is extra special. She has been my faithful companion for 18 years, and she is truly the greatest cat in the world.
Slick has been with me through the loss of our other feline companions, Bub and the original Beezie. She has been with me through relationships that did not last. She was with me when I went to Texas to bring my mother back to Ohio, and she was with me through the challenge of coping with my mother’s Alzheimer’s Disease.
She has been with me through different jobs, a career change, the eventual death of my mother, and other events that both challenged and enriched our lives.
It is hard for me to imagine that such a fun and loving animal came very close to a shortened life due to abandonment before she ever had a chance to bring her immense love to someone.
Slick was found along a riverbed when she was about 3 months old. She was rescued by state wildlife officers who were engaged in a wildlife rescue on the Tuscarawas River. An oil pipeline had ruptured and sullied the waters, threatening the wildlife that lived along the river. I was a volunteer with the rescue effort, and was surprised to find that the officers had rescued a domestic animal.
Slick has tortoise shell markings, which were mistaken for oil by the officers back then. She did not have oil on her, however, she did have an injured paw, which decreased her odds for survival if she had been taken to a shelter. So this wonderful cat came home with me, and what joy she has brought to my life. (Read more about her rescue story here.)
Slick is in the waning years of her life, now. She was diagnosed with chronic renal failure 2 years ago, and her illness has taken a turn for the worse this week. She is not keeping enough fluids in her body, so the vet says I need to give her subcutaneous fluids daily.
I am not looking for a miracle, and I am not looking to perform heroics with her. If I can keep her reasonably healthy and comfortable, though, while she lives out her remaining days, I will do what I can.
Anyone who has pets that are receiving intensive veterinary care knows that this does not come cheap. In order to finance her care, I plan to offer some special deals and arrangements to sell artwork rapidly. Stay tuned.
I am sharing this story now, because it is affecting me deeply, and I feel the need to share with others who have felt similar feelings towards their pets’ care.
I also am sharing this story because many cats have never had the opportunity to love and be loved as Slick has had. Many cats that were abandoned like her make it to shelters, but never find homes.
In my mind, that means that both cats and people have missed out on one of the greatest experiences to be had – the loving relationship between a human being and a cat.