Bob is a cat on a mission.
If all went according to plan, Bob arrived in New Jersey this morning and is purring in his owner's arms. After living at the Valley Humane Society for several weeks, Bob is finally being reunited with his owner Bud (whose last name has been omitted out of privacy for the family) thanks to the hard work and kind hearts of many people in this community.
"To think that people that didn't even know Bud have helped so much is incredible," said Mary Ellen Tully, sister of Bob's owner Bud, who lives in New Jersey.
Bud recently lost his wife Stacy to cancer. In the midst of her deteriorating health, and then her death, Bud lost the will to live. Bob was the only source of joy in his life as he fell deeper into alcohol abuse, health problems and despair.
The 15-year-old cat that had been with him and his wife for most of their marriage, and Derek Ott and Carol Ott Olson hope Bob will remind Bud of the good times when he arrives, just in time for what would have been Bud and Stacy's 17th wedding anniversary on Sunday. Ott and Olson were instrumental in getting both Bob and Bud to New Jersey.
As Bud's health and mental state visibly declined, Ott got involved and sought help from Tully after finding her information on a birthday card she had sent to her brother. After Bud (and Stacy's ashes) arrived in New Jersey, Bob needed to find a temporary home. After a short stay at Town and Country, Valley Humane Society offered Bob a free and caring stay for the time it took to get Bob's safe passage organized.
Natalie Giordano, operations manager at Valley Humane Society and Bob's handler during his time there, said Bob is a wonderful cat, and it is stories like Bob and Bud's that have shown her another side of helping animals.
"I came because of the cats and the animals, but I've realized you're helping people," she said.
Thanks to Ott, who took interest in an acquaintance and therefore saved a life, both Bob and Bud are healthier. Bud is getting treatment in New Jersey for the physical and mental problems he now faces, and the steady diet of food and love Bob received at VHS has made his eyes clearer and coat shinier.
Many people responded quickly to the call for help in getting Bob back to Bud. Olson expressed her gratitude to all of those people and was impressed by the willingness of people with their own problems to help someone else.
"[Bud would have been dead. And Bob would have been dead," she said. "This is community here. It just ignited."
VHS Bob the Cat Fund
Checks should be mailed to Valley Humane Society, 3670 Nevada Street, Pleasanton, CA 94566. Please indicate that the money is meant for the Bob the Cat Fund. Once the cost has been met, the fund will close, and it will be up to the family's discretion how any excess funds will be spent.
If you have any questions about the fund or the Valley Humane Society, please contact Dave Stegman, VHS executive director at 519-9881.