Many people would look at Buddy the cat’s traumatic attack, his remarkable rescue and recovery story and say he found his human angel and that his destiny was meant to be.
A rough start but a happy ending
The poor, black kitty’s ordeal started last March in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, when two dogs, nudged on by their juvenile walkers, were caught on camera brutally attacking and mauling Buddy, a stray neighborhood cat. Authorities brought the cat to the Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia, and then he was taken to BluePearl Pet Hospital for emergency care.
Buddy was barely responsive when he arrived at the clinic. But Dr. Katie Venanzi, who examined him, noticed the thumping tail — a telltale sign of feline annoyance — and she knew she had a fighter who just might make it.
Dr. Venanzi fostered Buddy through his healing process, and he not only pulled through but found a happy ending. Dr. Venanzi and her family adopted Buddy, who became an international celebrity through social media and news outlets, and now is a pampered puss with his rescuer.
“He’s living the best life,” says Gillian Kocher, director of public relations for the Pennsylvania SPCA, which received more than $250,000 in donations as Buddy’s story went viral. “He is officially in his forever home. … Of course, (Dr. Venanzi) being a vet certainly helped.
“Think about how crazy that is for one cat to have inspired people around the globe to give that kind of money,” she says. “Our work goes on every day to rescue animals just like him.”
Inspiring an anti-animal-cruelty campaign
Indeed, Buddy has become an inspiring ambassador and hero for victims of animal cruelty, and he touched hearts around the world with his remarkable story of recovery. The shelter used his story to start its Save Every Buddy
promotion, and the money left over after Buddy’s veterinary bills is now designated to help other cats facing illness and injury.
“We certainly see ourselves in animals in certain ways,” Gillian says. “I think this is just one of those stories people connected to because they can see their own trials and tribulations in Buddy’s story. You can go through some really challenging times and have some bad things happen to you, but you can come out the other side and have it all. … If you have that fight in you, you can get that happy ending.”
Dr. Venanzi could not be reached for an interview, but she has described Buddy as a real love bug who is, indeed, a buddy to her other resident cat named Teddy.
“He’s become like my little shadow,” Dr. Venanzi told The Washington Post about Buddy. “Everywhere I go, he’s right behind me.”
Gillian says that Dr. Venanzi and Buddy just seem destined for each other. “Of course, this horrible thing happened, but in certain ways you feel that Buddy ended up where he was always meant to be,” she says.
The Buddy story illustrates the resilience of animals and the transformation they go through when rescued.
“They teach us that, again, something horrible could have happened, but there’s still love to be found,” Gillian says. “They’re just amazing. So many of the dogs and cats we see every year — once they recover, they can just go into a home and love people all over again.”
Learn more about Buddy’s story at pspca.org/buddy. The shelter is still selling T-shirts with the Save Every Buddy campaign logo to raise money for the Buddy fund at bonfire.com/store/pennsylvania-spca-store.