It was approximately 4:00 a.m. on Monday, April 23rd when Jeannette Walker was awakened by an unfamiliar sound emanating from her bathroom. Unbeknownst to her, an intruder had managed to gain entry into her residence through her pet flap. Filled with both courage and fear, she cautiously traversed the room, venturing into the obscure darkness. The mysterious trespasser appeared unfazed by the commotion they were causing. With great care, Jeannette extended her hand around the door frame and activated the light switch. The sight that greeted her startled her to the very core.
Contrary to her expectations of encountering an assailant, the intruder had left an indelible mark on her life in a different manner. Illuminated by the harsh bathroom light, a battered and severely injured feline gazed up at her. This was the offender who had found his way through the “doggy door” or pet flap. The ginger-colored tomcat was emaciated, his fur saturated with grease, oil, and fleas. Despite the broken spirit reflected in his eyes, there was a glimmer of desperate hope.
Fate had led him through her door and into the depths of her heart. Jeannette made a solemn vow to do everything in her power to aid this unfortunate feline. The thought of him being euthanized at a shelter due to his evident trauma filled her with dread. As her first course of action, she posted a message on a local lost and found pet page on Facebook. Sadly, the feline wore a collar, but it lacked any identification tags.
The post caught the attention of the FieldHaven Feline Center in Lincoln, California. Swiftly, they coordinated with the Yuba County Animal Care Services to collect the suffering feline. Subsequently, he would be transferred to the experienced staff at the Marysville Veterinary Hospital for a thorough examination.
Judging by the scruffy appearance and odor emanating from the intruder, it was speculated that he had taken refuge inside a car engine. However, when the engine was ignited, he was not spared from harm.
Not only was he severely malnourished, but his jaw was also grievously fractured. Consequently, he had likely been unable to eat. His survival hinged upon the necessity of undergoing surgery. Remarkably, despite the excruciating pain he endured, he never ceased to emit a gentle purr.
At the veterinary hospital, the staff christened him O’Malley. They administered pain medication to alleviate his discomfort and thoroughly cleansed his grimy fur. His injuries did not deter him from eagerly devouring the nourishing sustenance generously provided.
If no owner came forward to claim him by the following Friday, the decision was made to proceed with the necessary procedure. In addition to his surgery, he was also scheduled for neutering while under anesthesia.
The veterinary hospital displayed remarkable generosity by substantially reducing the cost of the surgery, and FieldHaven initiated a fundraising campaign.
Witnessing sweet O’Malley’s countenance, all who beheld him were moved to extend their assistance. Within a remarkably short span of time, donations exceeding $2000.00 were raised to cover the expenses of his surgery.
O’Malley now rests comfortably, tended to by the hospital staff who provide pain management, delectable soft cat food, a warm bed, and an abundance of affection. The staff joyfully reports that he exhibits a hearty appetite and relishes the attention lavished upon him.
The sheer magnitude of your benevolence is truly awe-inspiring! Not only has O’Malley’s surgery been fully funded through your contributions (estimated at $800), but the excess amount of over $2,000 has facilitated the establishment of the “O’Malley Fund.” This fund will provide crucial medical interventions for other animals at the Yuba County Animal Care Services, thereby enhancing their adoptability.
O’Malley would spend the ensuing days at the hospital to ensure his speedy recovery. Expected swelling was minimal, and the procedure was unequivocally successful.
On the 30th, FieldHaven shared a heartwarming update with O’Malley’s burgeoning fan base. He was joyfully released into a foster home, where he would receive the love and care necessary for his healing process.
His progress was readily shared by Donna, O’Malley’s foster mother, on the center’s Facebook page. May 2nd: “He is thriving! He eats with voracity. At the mere sound of a can being opened, he vocalizes his desire for food! Today, we discovered his aversion to the outdoors. When we placed him in the yard outside Buck’s Barn, he promptly expressed a longing to return indoors!”
May 30th: “O’Malley Update! Guess who paid us a visit for a check-up yesterday? He is flourishing under the care of his foster mother, Donna. He is the epitome of good health!”
In June, the wire that had delicately held his fractured jaw together was finally removed. During his time in the foster home, O’Malley not only became an ardent snuggler but also discovered a new vocation. He devoted part of his time to providing free cuddles to residents at a senior home—a truly heartwarming endeavor!
While his adoption fee had already been generously sponsored, finding a permanent home for O’Malley proved to be a challenging task. Could it be because he initially expressed a desire to be the sole feline in his new home?
Then, on August 2nd, the enigmatic cat with access through the pet flap apparently experienced a change of heart!
Those were the words O’Malley shared with us that week. It turns out he does, in fact, enjoy the company of other cats. Initially, his self-centeredness led him to declare his preference for living without feline companions. However, he now confesses his guilt and retracts that statement. To all those who expressed a willingness to adopt him provided he gets along with other cats… we eagerly await your response!
Merely a week later, a wonderful woman crossed the threshold of the center, forever changing both her life and O’Malley’s.
Tracy fell head over heels in love with the handsome ginger tomcat and gladly welcomed him into her life and home. Most notably, she is a nurse who intends to utilize his natural talents as a professional cuddler!
Heartfelt gratitude is extended to everyone involved in rehabilitating this intrepid furry intruder who ventured through the pet flap!
10 Mental & Physical Health Benefits of Having Pets
Pets are family members. Like humans, they need love, health care, and attention. But pet parents’ relationships with their pets are not one sided. Pets give so much back in return, improving the health of our minds, bodies, and hearts.
The benefits of having pets are plentiful — and scientifically proven. Pets help their humans live longer, happier, and healthier lives mentally and physically. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) gathers the latest information on the positive health effects of companion animals. These researchers help make the case for adding a pet to a household.
From reducing the risk of heart attacks to alleviating loneliness, these furry family members are contributing to healthy communities.
Let’s talk about those benefits.
Better Mental Health
Pets can contribute to positive mental health through emotional work and practical work. The emotional work can be described as alleviating worries, stress, and depression. You may have noticed that your pet wastes no time noticing and springing into action when you are upset or sad. Their intuition is what makes them great support and therapy animals, and animal-assisted therapy is effective in treating PTSD, anxiety, and depression.
Then there’s the practical work that comes with caring for a pet. This means making sure their individual needs are met. Developing a daily routine of walks and feeding times can help pet parents with mental health conditions feel a sense of purpose that affects other areas of their lives.
The Data: Pets and Mental Health
A 2016 HABRI study explored the role of pets in the social networks of people managing a long‑term mental health problem.
- Pets were found to contribute to a stronger sense of identity in pet owners with mental health conditions, including reducing negative perceptions of a mental health condition or diagnosis.
- Pets provide a sense of security and routine in the relationship, which reinforces stable cognition.
- Pets provide a distraction and disruption from distressing symptoms, such as hearing voices, suicidal thoughts, rumination, and facilitating routine and exercise for those who care for them.
Better Physical Health
Every little bit counts when it comes to physical health benefits, and those daily walks really add up for dog owners. Since they are more likely to meet the criteria for regular moderate exercise, dog parents have lower instances of obesity.
Your heart is one of the biggest spots to see the full benefits of pet ownership. Just the presence of animals has significant impacts on blood pressure, with pet owners having a lower resting blood pressure than people without pet babies.
Cat parents aren’t left out of the healthy heart race. A feline friend in your home reduces your risk of death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attacks. According to the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), people without cats have a 40% higher relative risk of heart attack than non‑cat owners.
The Data: Pets and Physical Health
- Approximately 60% of dog walkers met the criteria for regular moderate and/or vigorous leisure‑time physical activity compared with about 45% for non‑dog owners and dog owners who did not walk their dog in a 2005 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey.
- In a study of adults over the age of 50 with mildly elevated blood pressure, the presence of a pet dog or cat had a significant impact on blood pressure, with dog ownership being associated with lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure compared to people who did not own pets.
- A study of over 2,400 cat owners concluded there was a significantly lower relative risk for death due to cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack, compared to non‑owners during a 20‑year follow‑up.
Healthier Aging Process
Research has shown that older adults get social and emotional support from their pets that combats loneliness and depression. Aside from promoting exercise and reducing stress, pets also assist in the treatment of long‑term diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Pet companionship is also key for hospital and cancer patients. When coupled with animal-assisted activities, pets help patients with pain management and in interactions with doctors and nurses. Those patients also responded better to treatments and reported improvements in their quality of life.
The Data: Pets and Aging
- Results of a study of older adults who live alone suggest that pet ownership may act as a buffer against loneliness.
- Results of a one-year study that examined the impact of animal‑assisted therapy (AAT) on patients with chronic pain demonstrated that, following AAT, patients reported reduced pain, discomfort, and stress. Additionally, stress among nursing staff was found to decrease significantly following AAT.
- A study of older adults with mental illness living in long‑term care facilities concluded that AAT reduced depressive symptoms and improved cognitive function.
When we look at the data on mental health, physical health, and aging, it’s clear that pets contribute much to people’s lives in these areas, as well as being the loving companions we’ve always known they are.