Ex-Hospice Cat Thriving After Clear the Shelters Adoption

Clear the Shelters

She’s helpful, affectionate and will always lend a paw to hold when you listen to sad music or watch a soap opera.

Baby, a 15-year-old cat who was adopted after being a hospice resident at a Massachusetts animal shelter, is loving life and no longer needs medication after Bjarna O’Brien welcomed her into her family.

Baby was adopted from the MSPCA at Nevins Farm last year during NBC and Telemundo Owned Stations’ Clear the Shelters campaign. She was on medication for kidney failure and frequently vomited because she was unable to stomach her food. Often low on energy and missing patches of fur, Baby’s prospects of being adopted appeared low. 

Luckily, O’Brien showed up — and immediately knew she was interested in the feline.

“I was looking for a hospice cat because I work with animals and I know I can work with them,” the Derry, New Hampshire, resident said. “I saw her online and asked when I could see her in person.”

O’Brien took Baby home the same day and the love between the two was instant. O’Brien said she clothed Baby in outfits meant for small dogs in order to hide her bald spots. The dresses and sweaters she donned made Baby an instant with visitors.

With some love and tender care, O’Brien nursed Baby back to health in no time. She switched her diet to raw cat food, which O’Brien said did wonders for Baby who has since gained weight and grown stronger. Her strength showed on Christmas Day when she garnered enough energy to play for the first time.

“I sat down and cried when she played during Christmas,” O’Brien said. “I bought a piece of wood that has string and a feather on it. She had been interested in it but was always too tired to do anything about it. I just took it out again that day and she started to bat at it and began running around.”

O’Brien described Baby as a sweet, affectionate cat whose name suits her.

“The real reason Baby’s name fits her is because she cries when she’s lonely,” O’Brien said. “She likes being held in your arms. When I get home, I have to pick her up immediately.”

Baby is certainly more than just a pet in the O’Brien household. She is a member of the family who often tries to help others out.

When the brother of O’Brien’s boyfriend was hit by a forklift, Baby was there to offer emotional support. 

“While others were at work, she kind of became a comfort animal to him,” O’Brien said. “She’s now taking care of her ‘uncle.’ She’s kind of become a therapy animal. As much as I think we take care of her, she takes care of us.”

Aside from being an affectionate cat, Baby is also empathetic.

“With sad music or a soap opera, she puts one of her paws on your hand. She actually holds your hand,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien said adding Baby to her family has brought more joy to her life and she encourages others to adopt a pet.

“If you have the space in your heart to let another life in, I think you’ll realize how rewarding it is to look after a pet,” she said.

However, she warns that adopting a pet is a real commitment. O’Brien suggests others consider taking in a senior animal.

“People seem to think they’re (up for) adoption because there may be something wrong with them or they’re undesirable, but you never know why they’re there,” she said. “Maybe they had an owner who could no longer care for them or maybe their owners died.”

“Taking in a senior animal is its own kind of experience and it’s rewarding in its own way,” O’Brien said. “Don’t overlook them because there’s so much more heart there than people realize.”

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Clear The Shelters

Shelters near you



TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - Thousands of pets are looking for their forever homes and News Channel 8 is On Your Side helping to make that happen in the Tampa Bay area.

We are teaming up with hundreds of shelters across the country to host Clear the Shelters, a nationwide pet adoption drive on Saturday, August 17, 2019, to help find loving homes for animals in need.

More than 150,000 pets found their forever homes since 2015.

Now is the time for shelters to register by completing the online application located here. Organizations interested in participating in Clear the Shelters must complete the Commitment Registration form to ensure proper verification of all interested participants.

When registering, please make sure you select the TAMPA-ST.PETERSBURG-SARASOTA, FL region. This will put your shelter on our CLEAR THE SHELTERS online map, driving families to your shelter. 

Here are the local shelters that are offering no-cost or reduced-fee adoptions for this event:

  1. Citrus County Animal Services - 4030 S. Airport Rd, Inverness
  2. Humane Society of Polk County - 3195 Dundee Road Winter, Haven
  3. Barking Out Loud Rescue, Inc - 300 N Lake Drive, Lorida
  4. Paw Warriors, Inc. - 355 Spring Time Street, Spring Hill
  5. SPCA Florida - 5850 Brannen Rd S, Lakeland
  6. Friends of Strays Animal Shelter - 2911 47th Avenue North, St. Petersburg
  7. Pinellas County Animal Services - 12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo
  8. SPCA of Hernando County - 9075 Grant St, Brooksville
  9. Humane Society of Tampa Bay - 3607 N Armenia Avenue, Tampa
  10. SPCA Tampa Bay - 9099 130th Ave North, Largo
  11. Highlands County Sheriffs Animal Services - 7300 Haywood Taylor Blvd, Sebring
  12. St. Francis Animal Rescue - 1925 S. Tamiami Trail, Venice
  13. FLUFF Animal Rescue - 11220 Park Blvd N, Seminole
  14. Manatee County Animal Services: Palmetto Shelter - 305 25th St W, Palmetto
  15. Manatee County Cat Town - 216 6th Ave E, Bradenton
  16. Pasco County Animal Services - 19640 Dogpatch Lane, Land O'Lakes
  17. St. Francis Society, Inc. - Pet Smart - 12835 Citrus Plaza Dr, Tampa
  18. The Humane Society of the Nature Coast - 7200 Mobley Road, Brooksville
  19. Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center - 440 N. Falkenburg Road, Tampa
  20. Humane Society of Manatee County - 2515 14th Street W, Bradenton
  21. Save Our Strays Inc. Safety Harbor, FL - 3223 San Jose Street, Clearwater
  22. Polk County Sheriff's Office Animal Control Section - 7115 De Castro Rd, Winter Haven
  23. Hernando County Animal Services - 19450 Oliver St., Brooksville
  24. Bishop Animal Shelter SPCA of Manatee County, FL - 5718 21st Ave W, Bradenton

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