Hurricane Sandy Survivor Finally Going Home

Special Needs Hurricane Sandy Survivor Wins Over Sacramento Area Adopter

Tommy, a Hurricane Sandy survivor, finally going home

Tommy, a Hurricane Sandy survivor, finally going home

Tommy Update – February 10!

Tommy on the dresser of the cat room

Tommy on the dresser of the cat room

For all those Tommy fans out there, we have an update from Tommy’s mom, Ann! 

“I just wanted to let you all know that Tommy did well on the long drive up to Rocklin, California, and he is settling in. We stopped twice along the way and let him get out of the carrier so he could roam around the back of the car to stretch his legs. He was actually a doll getting back into the carrier and didn’t fuss.  He did talk to me off and on throughout the trip!”

Tommy exploring his new home

Tommy exploring his new home

Read about Tommy’s Adoption below…

The Unsinkable “Tommy Cat”

A very special Helen Woodward Animal Center resident meowed his final farewell to the staff he had come to know as family, on Tuesday, February 4.  Despite the lack of dry eyes in the building, every tear shed was full of joy for the inspirational, diabetic, Hurricane Sandy survivor who has finally found his forever home.  The adoption was made all the sweeter due to the idyllic union of Tommy and his new family – a Sacramento-area based physical therapist named Ann E. Collins who had been diagnosed with diabetes over 51 years ago and her family of special needs pets.

Tommy charming staff and volunteers

Tommy charming staff and volunteers

Tommy, an 11 year-old-domestic short haired tabby, was one of 47 orphan pets who made national news when they were flown across the country to Helen Woodward Animal Center on November 17, 2012.   The East Coast shelter dogs and cats had been waiting for forever homes when Hurricane Sandy hit and left their facilities uninhabitable.  Upon arrival, Tommy’s prospects looked rosy.  Despite his advanced age, the friendly feline with a reputation for affectionate head butts had tons of media attention to help him land the perfect new family.  Unfortunately, Center veterinary staff soon discovered that Tommy was suffering from diabetes, as well as diabetic neuropathy – a condition that affected his nerves and made it difficult for him to walk – and required serious medical care.

Help more pets like Tommy – give directly to orphaned pets with medical challenges

Tommy’s Medical Journey

Throughout months of insulin injections and laser treatments, Tommy befriended every vet tech and adoptions staff member who came his way establishing himself not only a staff favorite, but as a true example in the art of survival and never giving up. The spunky cat refused to let his illness get him down!

In early October, 2013, Tommy’s neuropathy showed remarkable signs of improvement.  Although his diabetes remained, his legs were back in great condition and Center staff hoped his chance at a new life would arrive swiftly.  But months went by and Tommy remained.  The few who inquired expressed concerns about his age and his insulin injection requirements.

“I think every single staff member considered adopting him at some point,” said Helen Woodward Animal Center Customer Service Supervisor Jonelle Lenz.  “We all loved him so much but we also understood the challenges.  We wanted him to find someone who would be home for most of the day to attend to his medical needs.  He deserves it.  He had a rough go of it and he never let it affect the amount of love and devotion he expressed to anyone who showed him kindness.”

Tommy and New Family

Tommy and his new mom meet for the first time

Tommy’s Forever Family

The happy ending Tommy hoped for came from miles away in Northern California.  Ann E. Collins, from Rocklin, in the Sacramento area, had seen Tommy’s story shared on multiple pet blogs.  Insulin dependent for over 51 years herself, she has a soft spot for special needs pets and plenty of experience with diabetics.  Collins’ family of pets currently consists of a 12 year old Lab with diabetes, a tripod Afghan hound, an emergency rescue Pit Bull and a senior cat.

After multiple phone conversations with the Center adoptions staff and Center Pet Trainer Rob Kuty, Collins decided to take the long drive down the coast to adopt Tommy.  “This is what I do,” said Collins.  “This is where my heart is – with these animals.  It’s time for Tommy to come home.”

Tommy’s fans at Helen Woodward Animal Center, and beyond, couldn’t agree more.  We are grateful to Ms. Collins for her devotion to pets with special needs and we wish our beloved Tommy a fond farewell and a purrrfect life.

Helen Woodward Animal Center is dedicated to providing our orphan pets whatever medical care they require and the same loving concern we would provide to our pets at home.  This financial commitment is made possible through the generous support of our donors.

Volunteers and staff tearfully, but happily, say goodbye to Tommy

Volunteers and staff tearfully, but happily, say goodbye to Tommy


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