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Five years ago, I found a little kitty meowing on the staircase in front of my apartment. Her owner, my next door neighbor, threw her out early that morning. I picked up the scared and trembling kitty and knocked on my neighbor’s door to ask her if she had lost a cat. My neighbor didn’t want her or her sister. So I took them both in, and Freckles and Tipsy have been part of my family ever since. They have to be the most affectionate cats I have ever known. Tipsy always wanted to sit by my side with her paws on my lap. Tipsy was very active cat with a mischievous streak because she always tried to sneak outside or find her way into the attic. Freckles liked to jump 5 feet up so I could catch her in my arms and also played fetch as good as any dog could. Tipsy always let Freckles lay on top of her when they slept. Freckles always let Tipsy get the first bite when they ate. They brought so much joy to my life and didn’t mind moving with me from home to home. Last year on Feb 21, a terrible house fire changed things. The electrical fire started in the middle of the night while everyone slept. I woke up to a smoke-filled room and saw a blazing fire in the living room. I yelled for my mom and brother and we all barely made it out with some minor injuries. But there was not enough time to get my kitties out from hiding. As house cats who were normally not allowed outside, their natural instinct was to hide, not to run for the nearest exit. Their fate was left in the hands of the valiant fire fighters.

As we helplessly waited outside, a fire fighter finally brought out one cat, still smoking from the fire. She was alive but badly injured. All of her fur was burned and charred to a point beyond recognition. A fire fighter suggested VERGI, so we called the clinic for directions and prepped them on the situation. We brought her to VERGI where Dr. Southerland was awaiting her arrival. She quickly took her back to triage and assured me that she would do everything she could to save my baby.

Because I could no longer tell which cat she was, my Tipsy was renamed as Freckles that night. It was not until I returned home from the clinic that I saw the real Freckles in a box, fur intact. She had died of smoke inhalation. Meanwhile, her sister Tipsy, aka “Freckles,” fights for her life with burns all over her body, even inside her mouth.

The best news came in the morning with a phone call from Dr. Southerland, telling me that my kitty made it through the night and appeared in stable condition. And to top it off, Dr. Noaker graciously approved the use of VERGI’s HOPE fund to secure Freckles’ long and difficult battle back to health. And since we did not have house insurance, I cannot honestly say that Freckles would still be with me today if it weren’t for VERGI’s HOPE fund and EVERY member of VERGI’s wonderful and caring team.

Freckles spent over a month at the clinic, under intense care and observation. First, they weren’t sure if she would have lung damage from the smoke. Then, they weren’t sure if she would be blind from the heat of the fire. Surgery after surgery was required to remove necrosed tissue from her ears, face, tail, and paws. Next, it was unsure if she would still have ears. She lost all the tips of her toes and paw pads. The doctors weren’t sure how well or even if she would be able to walk after her ordeal. She hadn’t walked for over a month since her all her feet were constantly bandaged. Finally, after her feeding tube was removed,they weren’t sure if she would regain her appetite to eat on her own. It was a very trying time for me and Freckles.

But as a result of the incredible care she received from all the doctors and technicians at VERGI, Freckles made a miraculous recovery. Eyes, ears, paws all still work. She likes to run and play on carpet and will still venture just about anywhere. She’s a little picky about the type of litter she uses, but after everything she’s been through, she is entitled and can have anything she wants. Her spirit is as alive as it’s ever been. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t purr and wag her tail. And it is all thanks to the kindness and expertise of everyone at VERGI. I really cannot express how grateful I am for everything that VERGI has done for my family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Freckles and Christie Vu and family