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Picture courtesy of The Turlock Journal

Cat and dog survive tragedies and hope for new homes

Josie and Courage have a second chance at life thanks to a local vet and an animal rescue organization.

Renae Zumstein, a veterinarian at Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital, and The Friends of Turlock Animal Shelter, an independent non profit rescue organization, were instrumental in the rescue and rehabilitation of Josie, a gray and white shorthaired cat, and Courage, a black and white terrier mix.

The pair lived through the same misfortune but, hopefully, both will soon become members of loving homes.

Their story begins in the middle of February, when 1-year-old Josie was brought in by her owner after being hit by a car. Her back left leg was broken and because her owner was unable to afford the type of treatment she needed, she was relinquished to Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital. Josie was in shock and had to be stabilized with fluids and antibiotics for a few days before going into surgery.

When Josie's condition improved, Zumstein operated on her, inserting two pins and a wire near her ankle. Since then, one pin has been removed and the second will probably stay unless it migrates, in which case it may need to be removed. She is still in the process of having her bone heal and is building muscle back up, but has recovered greatly since the weeks following her operation.

Courage, too, was hit by a car. The incident occurred at the end of February. His left front leg was shattered, dangling from his body, and his pelvis bones were crushed. Also, like Josie, his owner was unable to afford the type of treatment he needed and relinquished him to the veterinary. His condition was worse than Josie's. In shock and very pale, he was stabilized with fluids for a week and a half before Zumstein could proceed with his treatment.

When his body could tolerate surgery, his limb was amputated, because the nerve damage was too severe. After his operation, he remained in a cage at Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital for two months while his pelvis healed. Because his pelvis will forever be in an abnormal shape, Courage must never be fed bones of any kind or rawhide. But he can eat normal dog food, dog biscuits and dog treats.

Both Josie and Courage will be available for adoption at Pet Extreme, located 2840 Countryside Dr. Prospective owners may visit them from noon to 4 p.m. today and Sunday if they haven't been adopted. They will be among almost 20 other animals that are also up for adoption.

"I think Josie has a great personality. She is social, calm and a friendly cat who gets along with other animals. She doesn't have litter box problems and is almost 100 percent healed," said Zumstein.

"Courage does great on three legs. He has built up muscle and instantly got up after the anesthesia wore off. He is already used to it. I thought his recovery was excellent. He was an excellent patient who fought very hard. He's very social, good around other animals, very intelligent and curious but well-behaved. These are special cases. They belong in special homes and need special care. We have grown attached to them and want to see them in the right homes," she added.

To contact Fiona Chin, e-mail fchin@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.