Published on July 18, 2013
Sona, the cat shot in both eyes with pellets, is now receiving treatment from Natalie MacDonald, registered veterinary technician and practice manager, as well as others from Avalon Animal Hospital in St. John’s after being rescued by SCAPA in Stephenville. — Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram
Published on July 18, 2013
Sona continues to heal at the Avalon Animal Hospital in St. John’s.
— Photo by Rhonda Hayward/The Telegram
Cat blinded by pellet gun to benefit from pro bono veterinary services
Sona, the town of Mainland cat that underwent extensive surgery in Stephenville after being shot in both eyes, was moved to St. John’s Wednesday in order to receive the rest of her acute medical care for free.
Dr. Beth Marshall, co-owner of the Avalon Animal Hospital, has offered pro bono services for the remainder of the feline’s treatments.
“When my business partner Jillian Morris and I ... heard about Sona’s case we thought that she would be a perfect fit for our skill set here. And we’ve got a very dedicated, very passionate team who really wanted to be part of her care,” Marshall said.
Just as Sona’s medical care was changing hands, the cat’s rescuer, Gwenn Samms, found herself in need of care as well.
Samms, a volunteer for SCAPA (Society for Care and Protection of Animals), suffered a heart attack and was brought to the intensive care unit in Stephenville.
“She’s got no prior history of heart problems,” Samms’ friend and fellow animal advocate Linda Sheppard said.
“I think it’s all the stress of all the animal rescues, and the pace that she does with the animals. It’s just so fast-paced right now, with all the abuse cases.”
Sheppard went to visit Samms on Tuesday, and then brought Sona back to Deer Lake. From there, Scaredy Cat Rescue founder Janice Higgins drove the cat to St. John’s.
“(Samms is) very worried about Sona,” Sheppard said.
“She wanted to be the one to take Sona to the vet herself, in St. John’s. She just got the call from Dr. Beth Marshall and was making the arrangements when she got sick.”
Sheppard, the owner of the Foodland in Deer Lake, saw Sona for the first time when she picked the cat up.
“You don’t realize how bad everything is until you see this kitty up close. It’s awful. But her strong will to survive is just awesome,” Sheppard said.
“We got her back (to Deer Lake) and she was purring, and she was eating. I’m not one of these people that believes you keep an animal going no matter what, if they’re suffering. But, you know, she wants to live.”
By now, Sona’s care in Stephenville has been covered by donors, and the remainder of her care in St. John’s will be donated by the clinic. However, Sheppard says many other donors recognize the importance of their continued help.
“Everybody (participating in the online auction for Sona) jumped in and said, ‘We should continue,’” Sheppard said.
“Because when she gets into her permanent home, she is going to need continuing care. She is going to need medication. She may need more surgeries down the road. They’ve also said that SCAPA is always in need of funds. They’re always taking in the worst cases of animal abuse, (even when) the SPCA won’t.”
Marshall has been keeping Samms, Sheppard and others in the loop about Sona’s condition.
“We just got another update from Dr. Marshall (on Thursday). Sona has to have another surgery on the eye she has already had surgery on. She’s probably got a bacterial infection,” Sheppard said.
Sona is going in for surgery today.
“Really, our first step is to assess the extent of all her injuries,” Marshall said.
“We’re continuing a lot of the really excellent work that was done at a veterinary hospital on the west coast. There are a few problems that we’re seeing emerge with the eye that she has been shot in, so we have to deal with that (today). ... We’re dealing with her (problematic teeth). I want to get an idea of the extent of any gun pellets left in her, and following that we’re going to be looking at dealing with her injured leg.”
Marshall says that even though Sona has been through hell, her prospects are encouraging.
“She is a sweet little girl who settled in really well, and she just seems to steal the hearts of people wherever she goes,” Marshall said.
“We feel privileged to be a part of this.”