Happy Tails

Pogo’s Story: A Happy Tail

By Carol Laughner
Pogo enjoying participating in life with his foster family.

It had been a long day at the Monadnock Humane Society veterinary clinic. Dr. Martino, MHS shelter veterinarian, had just finished working a 10-hour day doing spay/neuter surgeries. But, when someone reached out earlier that day to Emily, MHS Shelter Director, for help with a tiny kitten with a traumatic leg injury, she knew that kitten needed immediate attention.

Pogo was only 4 weeks old and weighed about 1.5 pounds. Her front leg had been crushed in an accident and began to deteriorate quickly. It wasn’t healing and it started to have other negative health effects on the rest of her fragile body. After consulting with Emily, Pogo’s owners made the difficult decision to surrender her to MHS. When Pogo arrived, Emily and Dr. Martino fully assessed her injuries. They knew her chance of surviving a significant surgery was a long shot, but there was a chance. And, it was one well-worth taking. Her situation grew worse by the minute, and they worried she might not make it through the night. She would not survive much longer without surgery, and so the medical team made the life-saving decision to operate and remove her injured leg that night.

Thankfully, the surgery was a success … however Pogo was still not out of the woods. Emily knew she would require close monitoring and medication for the next several days. Emily had taken many pets home post-surgery to nurse them back to health, so it was not a surprise to her family when she came home that night with a tiny, helpless kitten who needed them. They also knew this would be a longer recovery than others due to the extremely difficult surgery Pogo had just been through.

In addition to her injuries, Pogo was semi-feral, so Emily’s family prepared for managing possible behavioral challenges during her recovery. But this tiny kitten came around quickly. She hid in her carrier for the first day, and by the second day she was purring and interacting with Emily’s family. It was truly a miracle how she bounced back from such a traumatic injury and subsequent surgery. She learned how to navigate with three legs – first crawling on her stomach, then hopping on her front leg. By the second week of her convalescence, she was jumping up on the couch and even crawled up Emily’s leg to sit on her lap. Emily had always been amazed by how quickly kittens bounced back, both behaviorally and medically, but Pogo amazed her even more. Having three legs didn’t hold this feisty little girl back one bit. Emily now felt certain that Pogo would continue to live a full and happy life.

Emily hoped for a home for Pogo where she would grow up into a confident, social cat who loves to play with dog tails and climb up on sofas or onto a windowsill to get a better look at what’s going on in the outside world. While Pogo was recovering, a good family friend and her 4-year-old daughter, Livy, had visited her. Little Livy had always wanted a cat to call her own, and she immediately fell in love with Pogo. Emily could sense another miracle about to happen.

Livy gently held Pogo for the first time and petted her, whispering “I love you, Pogo.” From that moment on, an excited Livy would frequently ask to visit Pogo at Emily’s home. Whenever Livy visited, she would spend all of her time doting on the little kitten. Livy began to ask if she could take Pogo home. She talked about what it would be like for Pogo to join their family, how she would pet her, feed her, and snuggle with her. She was completely smitten with this tiny kitten.

A young girl embracing a cat.
Livy meets Pogo for the first time.

Livy’s mom had been allergic to cats in the past, which presented a potential obstacle to adopting Pogo. They decided to foster/babysit her for a week to see if mom had an allergic reaction to her. Luckily (yet another small miracle!) Livy’s mom was not terribly allergic to Pogo. They were ready to adopt Pogo! When they told Livy that Pogo would be coming home with them, she was over-the-moon happy and could not wait to share the good news with everyone she knew!

The family arrived at MHS for their adoption appointment. Livy was so excited and couldn’t wait for Pogo to be by her side. They finalized the paperwork, and began the journey to her new forever home. Livy sat next to Pogo in her carrier in the back seat of the car, talking soothingly to comfort her. Whenever Livy stopped talking, Pogo would start to cry! They had already formed a strong bond.

Pogo recovering and happy.
Pogo recovering and happy.

Livy and Pogo now have a wonderful life together. Pogo is growing up quickly and is learning what she can and can’t do with her disability – but it doesn’t stop her from having the full and happy life that Emily envisioned for her. She loves to play with balls and strings, and she loves to chase the wagging tail of her sister, Jules (a 12-year-old dog – also adopted from MHS). Pogo lays on the windowsill to watch birds, and she darts around the house, keeping her balance pretty well! Livy gives her lots of love and treats. Pogo is now living life to the fullest, and has made little Livy so happy. Therein lies the true miracle – the bond they share and the experiences they will have together in the many years to come.