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Close Call

Laura Beil

Tri-City Tales Issue No. 7

A frantic call came to the shelter one afternoon in May of 2020: A two-month-old orange tabby had suffered life-threatening injuries after climbing into a car engine for a nap. When someone started the car, the fan belt seared the left side of her head.

Tri-City shelter staff raced to the scene to extract the kitten from the motor. They also called Dr. Donna Fuller, DVM.

A veterinarian and Tri-City volunteer, Dr. Fuller arrived at the shelter and immediately rushed the patient – who weighed just 2 pounds – into surgery. For the next painstaking hours, Dr. Fuller worked to save the kitten’s life, cleaning and suturing the gashes to her skull. Bandaged and frightened, the kitten went home with staff member Elaine England, who named her Fanny.

England had never seen an animal survive such severe wounds. The kitten’s stitches needed to be flushed several times a day. Dr. Fuller had to remove Fanny’s left ear, but England worked to keep the remaining delicate auditory canals free from infection. After months of recovery and care, Fanny was finally ready for a fur-ever home.

That was when Faith Upton was looking through Facebook and stopped scrolling when she saw Fanny’s photo. “Her eyes drew me in,” Upton says. “I was so in love with those eyes.” A veterinary technician, Upton knew she could handle any ongoing care Fanny might need. She took Fanny home, and introduced her to her other cat, a Tri-City alum named Cheddar.

Fanny now goes by Birdie – a testament to her fondness for perching on high places. After a few days of initial skittishness, she and Cheddar have become fast friends. Today, no one even notices that she only has one ear— not even Birdie herself.

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