Phoenix (left) and Vesta have been through quite an ordeal in their young lives. They’re not even a year old, and have already survived a dump fire and cuts that were crawling with maggots. — Photo by Matt Molloy/The Beacon
The Gander and Area SPCA is home to many adorable animals begging to be adopted. They all have their own story, but a few of them have stories of such incredible hardship and survival it can’t help but tug at your heartstrings.
Two of those animals are cats Vesta and Phoenix, and what they went through before being saved by an unnamed woman in Glenwood is horrific.
It’s not known if the two are siblings.
After they were abandoned at the Glenwood dump, the two cats were left to survive or die. Their situation didn’t get any better when a fire spread through their new home. Shortly after the fire was extinguished, a young Glenwood woman, who tends to stray cats, took a trip to the dump to see if she could find any stray survivors.
She got out of her vehicle and immediately heard two cries for help. One was from Phoenix, and the other was from Vesta.
The woman brought them to the home of Gander and Area SPCA manager Bonnie Harris.
Although Harris admitted to seeing worse cases of animal cruelty, she won’t forget her first glance of Phoenix and Vesta.
“When we first got them, they looked like mummified kittens,” Harris said.
“Their eyes were swollen shut, their fur had been singed, especially little Phoenix, because she looks like she’s a longer hair than what she is. There are no burns on their bodies, which is very odd, except Phoenix has a little burn on her back. All of the burns were on their faces and their feet. … The feet are extremely, extremely burned, and I believe a lot of their toes are burnt off, and they were declawed by burning. There were a lot of maggots in their toes … but we have those taken care of.”
Vesta and Phoenix were abandoned at the trash site when they were 12-14 weeks old.
Initially it was believed the kittens wouldn’t survive their ordeal.
It wasn’t the burns or cuts that worried Harris, it was where the cats were found.
“I called the vet clinic and we brought them there the moment they got in. We were thinking they would probably have to be euthanized because if kittens are normally born at the dump, they end up being wild,” Harris said. “But we really don’t think they were. They’re too calm.”
Both Phoenix and Vesta have been put on antibiotics and go through a treatment of soaking their feet two to three times a day.
Shortly before Phoenix and Vesta arrived at Harris’ home — where they still live — another litter of kittens was saved from the Glenwood dump.
Harris said if people can’t afford kittens, they should have their cat spayed. If they can’t afford to spay their cat, she suggested bringing home a plant instead of something with a heartbeat.
“This is what can happen when you decide to take your kittens and throw them in the dump. There are all kinds of things that can happen to them there. They can get burned, sustain injuries from glass, tin cans and other cats. And we heard cases of kids up there shooting at them,” Harris said.
Hopefully, when the day comes when someone can adopt them, they’ll go together.
“They are extremely affectionate with each other,” Harris said. “They’ll groom each other, nuzzle up with each other, and when one is over-eating, the other will drag herself over to eat.”
Phoenix means rise from the ashes; and Vesta is the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family, and is symbolized by a ring of fire.