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She arrived by ambulance the night before. But she had to leave her cat behind.

The call came on a sunny Sunday afternoon from Oregon’s largest hospital. A patient was in critical care, arriving by ambulance the night before. Her cat was home alone. The woman in tremendous pain, made even worse knowing her cat was left behind. The call came from the caseworker on duty. She’d never heard of The Pongo Fund but others had so she made the call.

Could The Pongo Fund help?

We were there within the hour.

Security moved me to the elevator that took me to where this sweet woman was being treated. I needed to get her keys and then return to her apartment to get her cat. The building she lives in, is not one of Portland’s finest. This is a woman who greets each day from a broken wheelchair, compounded now with a more broken body.

A feisty senior with fond memories of life in the deep South from years gone by. Now getting by on the bare minimum of social security with little extra money to care for her best friend.

A best friend named Tom that she met about a year earlier when he fit in the palm of her hand. He lived happily in her small apartment, with two windows where he could watch the birds in the trees. He had a closet to hide in, with another favorite place under the bed. And four different food and water bowls.

Tom told me he had it all. And that’s why it was so hard on him. His Mom, she was gone.

I called my friend the Kitty Wrangler, a woman who gives her all for every cat every where. She met me at the apartment and we entered together, quickly scooping this little guy into the carrier that would transport him to safety. And that was more than a month ago.

Yes. More than a month ago.

To feel what that moment was like, take a look at his eyes. You don’t need to speak Cat to see the fear he felt. But at least he was safe in his carrier, and then we were off.

What The Pongo Fund did, others don’t. There are really no programs for moments like these. I understand why not. But still, these are not uncommon moments. We get calls from many hospitals for dogs and cats, asking if we can find space for one more.

One more. One more. One more.

Sounds easy, right? It’s not.

Because what if that dog or that cat’s person, needs extended care of many months? Then what? Or what if that dog or cat’s person doesn’t make it? Then what? Or what if that dog or cat is sick and needs immediate veterinary care? Then what?

Not so easy then.

And that’s why no one does it. Because the downside risk is great. So we try not to think about that.

Tom needed help. We said yes.

The vet care proved true. Since he’d never seen a vet before, he needed all his vaccinations and boosters. He also needed to be neutered, treated for fleas, microchipped and dewormed.

Thankfully one vet did the vaccinations, and another one dropped everything to get him neutered, chipped and brought back to good health.

That first call, on the sunny Sunday afternoon? The call that was more than a month ago?

Everything changes tomorrow.

Because Tom goes home.

Home to his Mom who is still hurting and healing, but desperately missing her boy. She said he’s all she has. I believe her. Thankfully he’s going home with a clean bill of health.

For the past month he’s been under the loving care of a wonderful Portland group who loves cats. They’ve patiently and lovingly kept him safe and well fed, even after he refused to eat anything the first few days. This guy, he was scared out of his mind.

Everything he knew, was suddenly gone. But so many rallied to be there for him. And tomorrow, he’s going to explode with happiness.

Here’s the thing.

When we got the emergency call, we dropped everything and got to the hospital. We got the cat, we got him safe. But The Pongo Fund could not have done any of it without the Kitty Wrangler or this other group who found a way to welcome one more cat into their already crowded home.

Who were they? They asked me to not say. So if you know, please don’t post their name. But they will both be receiving donations from me, with gratitude.

Because what they did for this cat, is not what they do. And they don’t want a lot of other calls to do the same thing. But this time, they did it. And I am forever grateful.

Just one more reminder that I get to spend my day working with a lot of great people.

The veterinary care we paid for was about $350. A bargain under the circumstances. If you’d like to help Tom, please click here:

I’ve been wanting to share it for several weeks but held off because there were a lot of things that didn’t go according to plan. And I’ve had a few sleepless nights because of it. Because moments like these are not part of the work I ever dreamed The Pongo Fund would be doing.

And yet, here we are.

And Tom goes home tomorrow.

Best of all, his Momma is going to burst. Bet she doesn’t even sleep tonight.

I’ll tell you more about this story in the next few days. Again, I’ve struggled with the details. I was with her in the hospital. I’ve talked with her many times. Last time we spoke, when she knew he was coming home, she said she was Blessed.

Despite all she doesn’t have, she still said she was Blessed. Think about that. Blessed. Because she has Tom.

And according to her, she doesn’t care about anything else.

If she has to sleep on the street again, she will. If she has to go hungry herself to keep him fed, she will. Anything. That’s what she’ll do for him. Anything at all.

She has Tom. He’s healthy. He’s going home tomorrow. And more than anything else, she feels Blessed.

Just wait until tomorrow. Because she’ll be feeling even more Blessed then.

Tom’s going home.

And this is why we Pongo.

Two more things. Tom isn’t his real name. But for privacy that’s the name we’ll use. And if you’d like to donate for his continuing veterinary care that The Pongo Fund will be providing, please click here:

Thank you for letting me tell you about this cat and this woman. With little else, they have love.

I love them too.

Sit. Stay. Eat. Live.

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