Hero was brought into a shelter at eight weeks of age, badly injured and needing immediate surgery. His front leg had severe nerve damage and needed amputation.
Hero was thrown from a car and picked up by some kids who saved some money, named him ‘Shadow’ and then brought him to the shelter for treatment. When I adopted Shadow, I renamed him Hero because he was a hero for surviving all that he did! Now, Hero lives up to it by doing crazy heroic things like jumping onto the top bookshelf.
Despite being treated badly by humans, he was the most affectionate, extroverted, curious kitten who purred every time I so much as looked at him. So, I told him I would take him when he came through the surgery. He woke up, wanting to play with the other feline patients in the hospital, and I took him home!
Hero joined my rescue dog, a Maltese Chihuahua cross named Phil, who I adopted a few years earlier. He is 16 years old and thankfully, still in good health.
When Hero arrived, he didn’t skip a beat missing a leg… just ran around my house exploring everything fearlessly! He has taught me a lot about resilience. He hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for life despite not having the best start and every reason to resent humanity.
He sleeps on my bed and sits on my desk. When I have Skype meetings he is by my side and sometimes gently headbutts me in the middle of it all. Occasionally, he drives me crazy climbing somewhere you don’t want a three-legged cat to be – like on the roof! We do have a deal that he comes indoors at night, but he likes to push the envelope.
Hero is loved, patted and cherished every day. He absolutely loves cat grass, corrugated cardboard and – unfortunately – scholarly papers about animal welfare that I would like to read. He loves tearing these up! You know that old excuse about the dog eating your homework? Well, Hero has actually done that.
What does Hero mean to me? He’s my ‘Hero’! He is missing a front leg, which is a pretty big deal, but he can do anything you would expect a cat to do. He learned to unpick the cat door with his teeth!
Message to rescue groups
I am so grateful to the rescue group that took him in. Life isn’t perfect so we need these organisations to provide excellent temporary care, love, and affection so these animals can find loving forever homes. I am just so grateful there was a safe space for Hero to be taken so he could heal.
I think the people who work in these groups go to a huge effort to provide care. They’re passionate – so many volunteer their time – and it’s not easy work. They see animals in distress, and that takes its toll. I think the Rescue Awards are a really unique, important acknowledgment of this often unsung work for animal welfare.