Category Archives: blind cats

Paintings of Animal Heroes

Freddy

By Sue Hains

In the winter of 2009 – 2010, I was commissioned to paint a picture of Freddy, an FBI dog who had been killed in service. In preparation for working on the portrait, I was sent a photo of Freddy but required other pictures of Belgian Malinois, Freddy’s breed, since some details in his photo were unclear. Searching online, I began to learn about service animals and discovered that Belgian Malinois are often chosen to become Military Working Dogs and police dogs. As I painted, I received emails about Freddy’s life, death and memorial service, and thought more and more about the life of this heroic animal.

Freddy was born in 2007, and served with the FBI from September 8, 2008 to October 28, 2009. The FBI had raided a warehouse being used as a mosque in Dearborn, Michigan, looking for several of its members who were wanted for a number of crimes. The Imam, who had a criminal record and refused to surrender, shot the FBI dog, Freddy, before the Imam himself was fatally shot by agents. Freddy was helicoptered to a veterinary hospital in Detroit, and although the doctors did everything they could to save his life, the wounds were fatal.

At his memorial service in Virginia, local police motorcycle officers escorted Freddy’s flag-draped casket to the FBI Academy, where the FBI Chaplain gave a moving invocation and where K-9 Police Officers and their dogs stood at attention behind a large crowd which included the veterinarians who tried to save his life. Other speakers followed and it was said that Freddy not only fit in with his team but also saw the humans as his pack!

The brass plaque added to the portrait I painted of Freddy reads:

FREDDY

February 17, 2007 – October 28, 2009
Then I heard the voice of the Lord
saying, “Whom shall I send?  And
who will go for us?”  And I said,
“Here am I.  Send me!”
Isaiah 6:8

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Interview with Homer, the “Blind Wonder Cat”

By Julia Williams

When a tiny homeless kitten was just a wee lad of three weeks, he developed a terrible eye infection. His eyes were surgically removed to save his life, but that was not the biggest obstacle the brave little kitty would face. Finding a forever home for a blind kitten is a daunting task, and his fate seemed all but sealed. Luckily, he met a kind woman named Gwen who knew at once that she loved this plucky little ball of fur despite his handicap. She took him home and named him Homer.

That decision proved to be life-changing for Homer and for Gwen, as this spirited kitty who didn’t know he was different has taught Gwen many things. Among them, that “love isn’t something you see with your eyes.” Gwen wrote a book about her life-changing decision to adopt the little blind kitten no one wanted, and Homer’s Odyssey: A Fearless Feline Tale, or How I Learned About Love and Life with a Blind Wonder Cat became a national bestseller. It’s a wonderful book that would make a great Christmas gift for a cat lover, and Gwen gives 10% of her royalties to charities that serve blind cats. Homer graciously agreed to an interview so our readers could get to know a little more about him. You can also follow Homer on Facebook!

JW: Why does your Mom call you a Wonder Cat?
Homer: Because of how amazing I am! ;-p  Seriously though, nobody ever expected a blind cat like me to be able to do much.  So the fact that I can do everything any other cat can do— and even some things they can’t—makes mom say that I’m a real wonder!

What are some of the challenges you face not being able to see?
It takes me a little longer to learn my way around new rooms (although once I learn where everything is, I never forget!), and if my mom leaves something like a pair of shoes lying around, I usually trip over them.  Mom says I force her to be neat, which is a good thing!  I used to be more startled by loud noises if I didn’t know where they were coming from, but my mom always made me feel very safe and secure.  Loud noises haven’t scared me much since I was a kitten.

If you could have your sight for just one day, what would you most like to see?
I’d most like to see the faces of everyone in my family.  I know what they look like in my head, but not what they really look like.

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Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary

By Julia Williams

It can be difficult for adult cats in animal shelters to find their forever home, since many people prefer to adopt a cute playful kitten instead. For cats with special needs, the chance of being adopted is almost nil. Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary (BCRS) was started in 2005 to provide a safe home for blind cats that are deemed unadoptable by regular shelters. This lifetime care facility for blind cats is located in St. Pauls, North Carolina on a 24-acre farm that’s also home to numerous horses, donkeys, chickens and turkeys.

Blind Cat Rescue is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that gives a second chance at life to kitties that have been certified by a veterinarian as being blind. Cats with 20% or less sight are accepted as blind. Most of the cats that come to the sanctuary will stay for the remainder of their life, although they could potentially be adopted out if the right family came along.

As often happens in life, Blind Cat Rescue’s inception came about through a twist of fate. In 2000, the organization’s founder, Alana Miller, was volunteering at a local rescue group with her daughter Stephanie. At an adoption event, a man brought in a tiny kitten he’d found; its eyes were crusted shut due to a severe eye infection. The rescue group didn’t have the resources to accept the kitten, and when the man said he was going to abandon it in the parking lot, Alana made a split-second decision to take it herself. From that day on, the Millers seemed to be a magnet for blind cats in need of a safe haven. When Alana realized they had become the go-to resource shelters would call when they had a blind cat, she decided to fully commit to the mission. Now, Blind Cat Rescue offers a safe, clean, climate-controlled home for approximately 40 special needs felines.

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