Every once in a while you hear a story that just chills you to the bone. The tale of how Tracy and Joshua Sanchez of Stafford, Virginia saved a little orange tabby is one of these. Have the tissues handy, you are going to need them!
Tracy saw the rescue stories on our site and sent in the following to us. Her story is so incredible, we were compelled to share. **Warning: Graphic Images**
On December 28, 2010, shortly after returning to Virginia after a long 16-hour drive from Wisconsin following the Christmas holiday, a much unexpected meeting occurred.
I was out taking the dog for a walk when I heard a faint sound. At first I thought it was a child’s voice in the distance. I looked and listened further and realized it could not be a child’s voice; it was too late in the evening, it was cold, and the sun had just gone down. I looked ahead into the brush of trees and noticed a kitty that I had seen on a few occasions around the neighborhood.
He was a friendly kitty. In the past, I had seen him and even called him over to me. I’d give him some attention, love and even food. That night, however, he was crying for attention.
As I crouched down, the dog still on the leash and sniffing another area of the brush, I noticed something on the cat’s left hind leg. It appeared to be mud. I thought he had gotten dirty somehow and gotten mud caked on his fur.
He took a few steps closer to me, slightly apprehensive and keeping a close eye on the dog who was paying no mind to him whatsoever. I continued to call him to me – I wanted to clean the mud from his fur. But, he did not want to get too close to the dog.
Finally, he was close enough that I could see the leg clearly.
His leg was nothing more than pure exposed bone. A gruesome sight. All fur and flesh, gone. Right down to the bone. His paw, black and flattened, dead. The patch I thought was mud, was his thigh at the very top of his leg, scraped and bloody, missing exposed flesh.
Tracy knew she had to help this kitty. She tied the dog to a tree (telling him she would be back) and grabbed the kitty.
My heart was pounding. I proceeded to a fast-paced walk back to the house. Running would only scare him.
My husband was downstairs, watching T.V. and relaxing when I got him. I threw the door open and started yelling. “Hurry, cat carrier! Get it now! Bone, bone!”
My husband didn’t know what was going on, I was shouting random words. He saw the cat and caught a glimpse and knew I was serious.
Tracy tried to put the injured kitty into the carrier. As soon as she got him in, he escaped and took off. Without a second thought, she went after him again, knowing she couldn’t leave him on his own.
While her husband took her dog back inside, Tracy spied the orange tabby huddled alongside the outside of a fence that encompassed a pond and a drainage ditch.
But this time as she got close, he skirted away from her into the culvert. It was dark; her husband grabbed a flashlight and some kitty food and joined her. They followed the sound of his mewing and found him inside the drain, rolling on his back.
After what seemed like forever and using food as bait, she was able to grab him once more.
When I felt it was safe, I grabbed him and this time held him even tighter. I held him by the fur on the back of his neck, and walked back to the house. My heart was pounding. I took him inside a small bathroom so that he could not escape. The cat hissed, scratched, flew around the bathroom, thumping his peg and bone leg against the wall. I finally placed him into the carrier.
She then rushed him to the vet. The vet said they wouldn’t do anything unless she paid for the treatment. They told her to call animal control. With her husband on the phone, she spoke to animal control:
Animal control would treat the animal for minor injuries. Scrapes, burns. They are required to keep the animal for five days if it is not neutered. If neutered, they are required to keep it for ten. If no one claims the animal, and the cost to treat the animal is too high, it gets euthanized.
“They are not going to treat this kitty.” I said to my husband who was still on the phone.
“I know. You decide what you want to do. If we pay for it, we are keeping him. I support your decision.” My husband told me.
“I can put it on my credit card. I can’t let him die. He survived this injury for who knows how long, by whatever caused it. He’s a fighter. He deserves to live.”
And that was it. The decision was made. In a split second, in the blink of an eye, and without even thinking. I was guided by my heart, not with my wallet.
Tracy walked back into the vet’s office and told them her decision. They were astonished that she would pay for a stray. Then they were even more astonished when they saw his leg. The vet said he should have been dead.
Amazingly, the cat’s blood levels and cell counts were normal and the leg did not appear infected. He did have an undescended testicle and was not neutered. He also only had a quarter of his tail, making balancing for a three-legged cat even harder.
Tracy was quoted 00-1800 for his treatment.
“Oh my gosh,” I thought to myself. “Oh this will really set us back, but I can’t leave him helpless.” Without blinking, hesitation or reaction, I said, “Ok. Let’s do it.”
They named him Captain Jacks, their own “peg leg” pirate kitty.
At first Jacks had a hard time adjusting to life without his leg. As soon as they brought him home he pooped in his bed.
He kept backing up and his rear-end would go flying upward. Then he would bang into the wall. He would fall over constantly and then growl and hiss at his own frustration.
Our other kitty, a six year-old Balinese that was rescued from the desert in Arizona, knew something was up, and she wasn’t happy about it.
But four and half years later, Captain Jack is “an absolute joy to be around.”
He mastered life without his leg rather quickly and can run just as fast as ever. Maybe not in a straight line but he makes me chuckle when he runs. He is constantly seeking affection from us humans and the other animals. Even when our other cat growls and hisses as she adjusts to a new animal in her territory, he couldn’t be more accepting of her. He makes playful and calming sounds in order to soothe her, to let her know, hey, I’m just happy to be here.
When we asked Tracy if they ever found out what had happened to him before that fateful night, she responded:
His life before coming into mine will forever remain a mystery. He was friendly from the first time I found him. Or maybe he was meant to find me. Either way he changed my life and I changed his.
Have a rescue story to share? Email me at Kristina@homelifemedia.com