Helen had lost her sight long before her rescue. A petite black cat, Helen had been trying her best to survive, unable to see and with little food in a home that had been foreclosed on. Un-fixed pets were running rampant, left behind by the former home-owners, now trying to fend for themselves. Learning of the situation from concerned neighbors, we jumped into action and agreed to take in the 8 pets that were in the most severe need of medical attention. For the remaining pets (which neared forty dogs and cats), we arranged for other approved rescue organizations to each step up and take in a few. By working together with a network of no-kill rescue groups, we were able to save every pet that had been abandoned on the property.
Helen was one of the 8 pets in dire need of help. She had not been born blind, rather her eyes had been infected for so many years without treatment that she had gone blind. She, along with the other 7 we took in at A4A, all had severe upper respiratory infections and many of the rest of the cats in the group had also gone blind in one or both eyes. After getting the cats the necessary medical care they desperately needed, each one was spayed and vaccinated and entered their individual volunteer foster homes.
Helen was my foster cat. As a blind cat I was unsure of how she would do with my two large flights of stairs in the house. But to my surprise she learned not only to walk up and down the steps with ease, but to sprint up and back. In just several weeks Helen also began to play with toys- toys that had sound when they moved. She bathed the other foster cat and she learned to jump up on the couch and climb into my lap. It seemed that once she purred, she never stopped!
Although her eye-sight was never able to return, Helen basked in the warm rays of sunlight that poured through the windows of our home and she became everything a happy, healthy cat should be. Sadly, we learned that Helen was a senior cat and after one year of staying with us as a foster cat, Helen passed away peacefully. She passed away in our arms, surrounded by love in her final year of life. We miss her every day as she touched our lives in a very special way. I have been involved in animal rescue my entire life and co-founded Advocates 4 Animals ten years prior to Helen’s rescue. Every rescue pet is special, but Helen was extra special. She reminded me of the amazing resilience of animals no matter what their past may be. She reminded me that we each set a different set of obstacles in our lives and the important thing is how you handle the hurdles when they come your way- your attitude is everything.
Although she was a senior cat with a difficult past and she had no vision, Helen persisted and lived each day to the fullest. When she heard a toy roll across the floor- she would pounce; when she felt the warm sunlight filtering through the windows she would find the spot and bask in the moment. And when she sensed that I was sitting down to read a book or watch television, she found her way comfortably to curl up in my lap. Helen reminded me to focus on what we have in life, not on what we don’t. She reminded all of us that it’s your perception of life that creates the reality. Focus on the positives instead of the negatives and inevitably happiness will come your way. It’s a lesson I hold close to my heart forever and always. Every rescue pet is special, every life is precious. Helen’s life will forever touch my soul as she taught me the most important lesson there is, to never give up. No matter how difficult things may seem if you believe in yourself and if you find the silver lining in each day and in everything that you do, better days are just around the bend.