Sierra’s Haven has an opportunity to win a $25,000 grant, all thanks to a compelling story of one cat’s adoption.
Willy, the cat and his owners, Joe and Nancy Steele of the Portsmouth area, have won for their story in the PetCo Foundation Holiday Wishes campaign. The story won $1,000 grant for Sierra’s Haven for New and Used Pets; now, the public can vote by Dec. 20 online at petcofoundation.org/vote to help the shelter win even more money.
Nancy’s story about visiting Sierra’s Haven for New and Used Pets and finding the young black and white kitten is both heartwarming and award-winning. She said that the minute the kitten, formerly known as Bojangles, came up to her in the “Kitten Room,” butted his forehead against her chin and started purring loudly, she knew he won her heart. Add in the fact that his long beautiful tail curled up over his back and she said she didn’t need to look any further for her new companion cat.
Here’s Nancy’s story, the PetCo Holiday Wishes Honorable Winner 2019:
“Our old cat, Miss Kitty, had died and we and our other adopted cat, Pumpkin, were grieving and lonely. For days, Pumpkin wouldn’t eat or play and slept all the time – in Miss Kitty’s favorite spots. Her grieving was as painful to us as Miss Kitty’s death.
Our granddaughters insisted they accompany us to the shelter, Sierra’s Haven for New and Used Pets, to find the perfect companion for Pumpkin. In the room full of “older kittens,” we fell in love with Willy. He was a handsome dude that stood out from the others with his black and white coat, a black goatee and a tail that curled over his back and touched the top of his head when he saw you. But it wasn’t his looks that melted our hearts; it was his purr. When you picked him up, he held on with his paws and rubbed his head on our chins and purred – right into our hearts.
Willy did his job, and he and Pumpkin became BFF’s very quickly. They run and play and snuggle. You can certainly say the story has a happy ending, but you would never know then how much Willy has affected the lives of the rest of his family.
The granddaughters still come to play with him and get their “Willy fix.” Our legally blind adult son, who proclaimed him “a keeper,” comes to visit him every Sunday. I don’t know who enjoys those visits most: Jeff, Willy, or us watching the two of them together. But it’s my husband and myself, who are senior citizens that Willy has affected most. Willy’s like a breath of fresh air for us. He reminds us of the importance of sunshine when he jumps in our laps with his black coat warm from lying in the sun. How important laughter is when he’s playing cat games on the iPad and is trying to get the mice. He likes to keep us physically fit by having us crawl around on the floor, reaching under the furniture, pulling out his favorite toys he’s stuffed under there. Oh, and he loves to snuggle close in bed, but if you have “hot flashes” at night as I do, you know someone has to move a little and it’s not Willy!
We live by a river, so we bought Willy a kitty halter to take him outside. The halter makes him feel safe (and me happy I can keep him safe). Walking him outside is like watching the delight of your child discover the world. He learned about the birds and the bees (LOL) and the rain and the trees. But the one that still makes me smile the most is when he discovered butterflies on our butterfly bush. Kitty heaven! We like sitting by the river best, enjoying the peace and quiet and the love we share.”
According to Tony Suriano, general manager at the Chillicothe PetCo Store, there were many thousands of stories submitted from which to choose the award winners. Tony presented Nancy with BOBS from Skechers shoes and PetCo cat toys and then he presented the honorable mention $1,000 grant to Sierra’s Haven. “Dedicated efforts of organizations like Sierra’s Haven for New and Used Pets reflect the purpose of Petco Foundation’s Holiday Wishes campaign – to celebrate the life-changing impact of adoption and to help these dedicated animal welfare organizations save more animal lives – at the holidays and year-round.”
“We’re so excited to have been named a Holiday Wishes honorable mention recipient. Now we need our community’s help! Vote for Sierra’s Haven in the People’s Choice competition,” said Dr. Gail Counts, Executive Director. “Help our holiday wishes come true by voting for our story and help us extend our lifesaving work this holiday season and beyond.”
Now the public can help Sierra’s Haven win up to $25,000 by voting for Willy’s story on the PetCo Foundation website. Through Dec. 20, noon CST, the public can vote for their favorite Holiday Wishes story at petcofoundation.org/vote. Just go online to the website and look for Nancy and Willy’s story to cast a vote.
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