Written by Patrys Niemand, Board Member – Lucky Lucy Foundation
Professional photography by Ingrid Owen Photography
One of the hardest parts of life is deciding whether to walk away or try harder. ~ anonymous
We’re not known for walking away… especially when it comes to animals that really need us the most – the ones that have no hope left. Everyone deserves a second chance. We’re trying harder every day, and we do get emotionally drained – life’s been very difficult for everyone lately, but it’s been even harder for the animals.
A kitten in a box
On Tuesday, November the 17th, as we were leaving to go to our vet in Malmesbury, a gentleman stopped us and handed us a box. Inside was a tiny white-and-grey kitten. He asked if we could please help the kitten and mentioned that he’d been stopped by a lady who asked for assistance with the kitten.
The kitten was in severe pain due her front leg being terribly injured. When we first looked at her, it felt as if a mountain came down on us – she was so tiny and so badly hurt. We can speculate as to what exactly happened to her, but, sadly, none of us will ever know the real facts.
Her leg needed amputation
We rushed her to our amazing vets, Bergzicht Dierehospitaal, where Dr Andries Groenewald assessed her injury. The leg was destroyed, and all that could be done was a full leg amputation.
But, at that stage, she was unfortunately far too weak to undergo such a huge operation to amputate her front leg. We made an informed decision to first get her stronger before any operation could be performed. She was given subcutaneous fluids under the skin and we started her on an antibiotic treatment plan for the infection; fortunately, she tested negative for FIV (“Feline AIDS”) and Feline Leukaemia.
We took her back to our farm near Malmesbury where she was made comfortable and given all the extra care and food needed to prepare her for her huge operation on the Thursday morning. We needed to ensure that she was strong enough to undergo the procedure.
We weren’t sure if she was alive
She was estimated to be between seven and eight weeks of age. It was heartbreaking to think that our tiny little girl had to suffer next to the road, and no one knows what happened or for how long she was there. There were moments when we weren’t sure if she was still alive – she was so tired that she had no energy to do anything.
But the next day, she was amazingly already feeling much better; she even started playing with her little mouse toy. This little girl proved to us that she’s a little fighter, and we named her Yarina, meaning “peace”.
When you look at this small scrap of life, so determined to survive, you forget about the distress she went through. You feel peace deep inside yourself that she’s now safe and loved – a new beginning for her.
We might feel broken and despondent at all the cruelty and neglect that’s currently going on, but we made this little girl a promise that she’d never, ever be alone again. We’d walk next to her. We’d help her take the next step in this new chapter of her life. And so, we welcomed this little miracle girl to our Lucky Lucy Foundation cat family.
It’s still a long and difficult road for her to make a full recovery, but we had confidence all along that she’d get the second chance that she so clearly deserved.
Little Princess Yarina was a real hero and champ before, during and after her big operation. Once she’d had the amputation, she went into foster care with our “special needs animal” foster dad, Chris Viljoen, where she received around-the-clock care to ensure that her wound was kept clear of any infection and her healing began.
We thank each and every supporter for your amazing donations, thoughts and prayers for Yarina – we’re speechless by the overwhelming response. We also want to thank the amazing team of vets at Bergzicht Dierehospitaal who perform miracles for our animals on a daily basis.
We sometimes wonder if this little girl will ever know the huge support and following she has and how much love was sent her way. She’ll never have to go without love for another day.
Every moment of each day, we stand in awe looking at her. Her courage to live life to the fullest is absolutely amazing. To the people who are of the opinion that these cats (with amputations) can never have quality of life: the limitation is in the human mind, because this little one has no limitation. She adapted perfectly, and just watching her makes you so grateful for the chance given her.
You can imagine our joy when Chris let us know that Yarina had indeed FOUND her forever home…
Chris Viljoen, Yarina’s foster dad, shares…
Yarina found her forever home… she was an epic foster fail!
She’ll stay with the Viljoens, along with her brothers and sisters that she’s bonding with very nicely. She’s a wonderful personality full of kitten energy.
The cage rest didn’t last long; in fact, she only made it through the night before she decided it was enough for her. From day two she’s been running around here, exploring the house, graduating from jumping onto a step, to the bed, the windowsill...
Having three limbs instead of four hasn’t stopped her explorations one bit, nor has it hindered her running around here. She shows no pain or side effects from the operation, and she’s growing each day. She now sleeps with us – she doesn’t want it any other way.
During the day she plays with me and sleeps in my office while I work. She loves the attention, and her purr is extra loud for such a small being. A tiny kitten that’s stolen a large part of our hearts!