As with most things, this started small. When I saved my first two cats who were abandoned in a field in Bradenville; I had no idea that 14 years later I would have an entire building full of them. But like most things that start small, it grew. After I rescued Bermuda & Tykota, word had got around that I had a soft spot for that sort of thing. I received a phone call from a friend, of a friend, of a friend, who had a cat who had just had a litter of kittens and when they opened their eyes, he realized that one of them had been born with no eyes. He wanted to know if I would take her. At the time, I had no way of knowing what I know now. What I know now is, you don’t normally see this kind of birth defect because a cat with this type of birth defect usually has so many other congenital birth defects, that it is still born. The fact that she was alive at all was a miracle. What I did know was that she needed to stay with her mother until she was 9 weeks old if she had any chance of being healthy. Fate, however, didn’t see it that way.
The day before I was to go pick her up, the owner threw a party. A drunk girl was sitting in a broken chair when this poor unsuspecting kitten came meandering under it’s leg and the chair came crashing down. The kittens head had been crushed in. They took her to the drive way. They stood around deciding who was going to off her with a shovel. My best friend drove by and saw what was going on. He scooped her up and called me. We met at the veterinarian’s Office. The poor thing wasn’t even a pound. The vet recommended that I put her down. Something inside of me said she was going to make it. The vet gave her a shot for the swelling and for the pain. She was too small for an I.V. so I had to give her a dropper-full of pedia-lite every 15 minutes. I brought her home at 6 p.m. Around 11a.m. she started to come around. My beautiful little Rhashja Bear was going to make it!
We were far from out of the woods though. She had two holes in her skull where the bone had been crushed. I had to massage the tiny bone fragments out to her eye sockets so they would not become lodged into her brain. She was also paralyzed down the right side of her body, so I had to do physical therapy with her 3 times a day. She was on steroids for months. They tried to wean her off of them too soon and she went into seizures. I got pulled over twice running her to the emergency room in the middle of the night. But eventually she recovered and she was the spunky, medium haired, chocolate colored. fuzzy center of my universe! I lived for her. She got around the house by memory and she yelled at me relentlessly if I accidently left a chair sitting out or put an unauthorized item in her path. She gave me a reason to live during a very dark time in my life. But as I said before, she had other birth defects and after 2 1/2 wonderful years, her misshapen heart and kidneys finally let out. I had to have her put to sleep.
During this time period, I had received several other call about “will you take this cat” or “I have a litter of kittens.” When Rhashja passed away, I believe I had 20. Five years later, I had 45. Then one day I was standing in my rental house and realized I had 65 cats in my basement. I needed a bigger place and odds of me talking a Fourth landlord into letting me move in with all these cats was pretty slim; so we decided to start shopping for a building just for the cats. In December of 2007, we bought a house that came with a Polish-Catholic Church that was built in 1903 that we could use for the rescue. The Church needed a lot of work but it was perfect. The rescue would be a mere 70 feet from my back door. We got our business license and went to work repairing what we could on a shoestring budget. We currently pay for everything out of pocket and receive almost no funding. Occasionally, a very generous individual will make a donation, but for the most part, I work one full time job for the privilege of paying to work yet another full time job. Last year it cost me almost $30,000 to run the rescue. I have poured my time, my money, my blood, sweat & tears, my hopes, & my dreams into these animals. If that doesn’t prove my convictions to these poor unwanted animals, I don’t know what will. But we have come to a point where we can no longer do it alone. We need your help.
With the assistance of The Mullen Foundation, we were able to get our 501c3 Non-profit status.
Then in August of 2016 we were hit by a Tornado. It did a massive amount of damage to our roof. We tried for 2 years to raise money. The news wouldn’t cover us. The insurance wouldn’t pay out, and people just didn’t seem to care. Every time we reached out for help, it would backfire and make our situation more dire than before. Just when we were about to lose it all. I received a settlement from being injured at work. I had a choice: I could save my house and have money to live on for a while until I could go back to work or I could buy the Rescue a new building. I went with the latter. Although I bought a new building, we are not out of the woods just yet. We need to do a bit of remodeling to bring it up to code and make it ususable as a rescue before we can move the animals in to their new home.
That’s where you come in! Whether it be $5 or $500, it all adds up. Prehaps you would like to pledge a monthly donation of $10, $50 or , $100. That would help us more than you could possibly imagine. It costs over $1500 a month just to buy food and litter! So Donate Today! The animals are depending on your generosity! Thank You For Your Support!