To Ireland, Who Stole Our Hearts

Earlier this month, a cry for help was posted on the Facebook page of the Lincoln Pet Exchange. A woman from outside of Lancaster County shared a video of a neighbor’s pregnant cat that had been hit by a car. The cat had been hurt severely and was now in a lot of pain. The neighbor didn’t have any viable transportation, nor could she afford medical bills. The plea to the public was for help from anyone who could transport the ailing cat to an emergency clinic and/or pay for the bills.

Responses to the post were so fast and furious that many participants in the discussion, including the neighbor who had posted the plea, had a difficult time keeping up. What quickly became apparent was how many pet lovers were willing to help. Some were offering to pay all of the cat’s medical bills. Others offered to transport the cat to a vet. Many were throwing out names of vets and rescues. In the end, a volunteer from Dolly’s Legacy Animal Rescue made the trip and brought the cat back to Lincoln. It was a shining example of how a community of animal lovers can unite for a cause.

The cat was in shock upon arrival at the emergency clinic and was immediately given pain medication and IV fluids. X-rays revealed that the cat had a collapsed pelvis from a severe fracture, her tail was fractured and she likely had a spinal cord injury, and she was not moving her back legs.

After this dire news, I and others anxiously awaited more updates. Soon more details began to unfold. The cat had been offered on social media for free, allowed to roam outdoors, and she was on her third pregnancy. She was also being renamed to Ireland by her rescuers, in honor of the approaching St. Patrick’s Day.

On Facebook, those following Ireland’s story started trying to learn from the tragedy. There were many possible lessons being noted such as the importance of spay/neuter, keeping one’s pet inside, and the necessity of having an emergency plan. But primarily everyone was just concerned about Ireland’s welfare.

Sadly, the next update revealed more bad news: Ireland was losing neurological function in her hind end, and her unborn kittens were likely killed in utero. Dolly’s Legacy Animal Rescue stressed that, “We will stop at nothing to get Ireland the care she needs. If we need to take her to Kansas State, we’ll do that for her. Just waiting to hear back from surgeon to see what our next step is.”

Please help us honor the memory of Ireland. She deserved better than what life handed her. Help to educate our community on the importance of spay/neuter, pet ownership responsibility, and the dire consequences of letting cats outside.

–Kerri Kelly, Director of Dolly’s Animal Legacy Rescue

IrelandTragically, the final update brought the news that Ireland’s injuries had proved too severe. Her two 5-month-old sons, given the names Dublin and Limerick by the rescue were brought to Ireland’s side for a final goodbye. The director of Dolly’s Legacy shared that Ireland, “was surrounded by love as she softly took her last breath and left her broken body behind.”

Although I wish the ending to Ireland’s story had been a happier one, I was impressed with how so many had rallied late at night in response to a cry for help for an injured pregnant cat. Ireland’s life and death touched many in our community.

While none of us can bring her back, we can ensure that something good comes out of this heart-breaking situation. For starters, we can share the message that her two kittens need someone to step forward to foster or adopt.

We can also do what we can to inform everyone about responsible pet ownership, and about the resources available to pet owners in need. Here at LAA Pet Talk, we post articles on pet care as a way to educate. Lincoln Animal Ambassadors itself also offers a pet food bank to those in need, as well as low-cost spay-neuter services, with the goal of eliminating pet homelessness.

Let’s work together to make a difference in an animal’s life today. For Ireland’s sake. And for the sake of all pets.

To our dear Ireland, you were loved by so many who only knew you a short time. You stole our hearts … Run free with the angels, sweet girl.

–Kerri Kelly, Director of Dolly’s Animal Legacy Rescue

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