"Gator and Prince"
These loving brothers traveled all the way from Seattle, Washington to find a home in New England. Read the feature from the Weekly Sentinal newspaper:
Two cats from Seattle, Washington, are now calling Maine home, as part of a rescue effort by the Animal Welfare Society of West Kennebunk.
Steve Jacobsen, executive director of AWS, said it's a real example of what the organization does.
"We see about 3,400 animals come in a year. We serve 21 communities in York County", he said. "We also see animals come in from out-of-state. We have cats and dogs later this week coming in from Louisiana."
The trek from the Pacific west coast is the longest he has heard of, Jacobsen said, but there are often long excursions for pets in need.
"This is the farthest trip, but believe it or not we once helped with a rabbit seizure in New Mexico, and maritime Canada, " he said, adding "nearly 90 percent of all animals that come into the place find a home."
John Rhoades, vice-president of the board for AWS, told the story of Gator and Prince, two cats coming in from Washington State.
"I received an email from a dear friend," Rhoades said. "Her niece and husband are a military family. He's been to Afghanistan a couple of times. Dave and Carol Hammerschmidt- they got the cats seven years ago, when their daughter Wendy was born." Dave went to Florida State, so Gator was an easy pick for a name.
"He's back from the service now," Rhoades continued, "and they recently had a boy who is allergic to cats. The boy is too young for shots, and the cat hair has exacerbated his asthma. They checked several area shelters, but the cats would be put down in seven days if not taken. They looked into four no kill shelters, but they each had a six-month waiting list."
So they were desperate, and contacted her aunt Carol Strunnin in Florida who sent the email blast.
"Lets network," Rhoades said, "We have to save these cats' lives." Rhoades called Jacobsen and said "what can we do?"
They are already bringing animals in from New Jersey and New York City, which have been displaced in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
"We have an understanding with York County Emergency Management to step in when animals are displaced because of natural disasters," Jacobsen said. Because of their philosophy, that assistance extends to national emergencies as well, so their staff is always busy. Despite the current workload, AMS took on the challenge.
The cats were scheduled for a non-stop flight on Alaska Air from Seattle to Logan International Airport in Boston, where they were to be picked up.
"Gator and Prince are brothers and have never been apart," Rhodes said.
"They had a full check up and were pronounced fit, healthy, and safe to fly," Now they are looking for a house to call home.
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