The odds are against a tiny kitten surviving in the woods. Period. Add to it, for a tiny kitten unable to move her back legs. Anastasia was found on the edge of a wooded area—stranded. She could not move her back legs at all. At a first glance, it looked as though this wide-eyed little beauty may have been hit by a car. But after a series of tests, our medical team determined that she has a type of congenital condition resulting in weakened cartilage. She is not in any pain and all systems function normally aside from this issue. Even if she never walked, it is the no kill view that her life matters, she has a right to it and our job is to protect it. Quality of life is always a focus and it became clear that her indomitable spirit, joyful energy and innate curiosity made her a perfect candidate for a little out of the box work to see if we could help her walk. This was not a kitty who could be content not getting to explore her world on her terms.
Her custom wheels were designed by Eva Flores, a newly minted RVT in our Wellness department. She thought since Ana was not in pain it might be possible to rig something that could help her strengthen her legs to walk—maybe for the first time. Eva worked with other staff members to build the cart and the special harness. She sewed extra padding in. They adjusted wheels. They glued pvc. They practiced with her in it and worked with her every day. Ana loved it! And after some halting tries, she wheeled around the shelter! At the time they couldn't predict whether she would always need the help of her wheels but experts do unanimously concur we can predict she will always be adorable.
Our staff worked with her several hours a week, ensuring that she got the exercise she needed to strengthen her legs. Ana got the hang of her walker very quickly and loved to chase the leaves outside and toys inside.
After only two short weeks of Ana’s therapy in her walker, an amazing thing happened. We witnessed Anastasia’s first steps walking on her own. She was still a little wobbly, but that didn't stop her from playing or heading towards her food and water bowls.
Each day we noticed how well she was improving - and recently, we captured this video of her not walking, but running down the halls! Can you believe it? The same little girl that was found abandoned in the woods and unable to move, is now chasing everything that moves - on her own!
Anastasia is a happy girl, good natured and very curious. She is affectionate and thankful for the love and attention she has received and shows that gratitude to everyone she meets.
Last week, Anastasia was adopted into her forever home! After weeks of time spent working with Ana, Eva couldn't help but fall in love with her and has made her a part of her family. She has the perfect home for her – full of flat surfaces for her to roam around on, and other dogs and cats to keep her company – and on her toes!
No Kill is a philosophy.
No Kill is a shelter model.
But in its elemental form, it is a young RVT and the team asking the question we believe should be at the core of everything a shelter does, “How can we innovate to save lives today?”
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