Cathy Free reports for PeoplePets, June 12, 2017, that two years ago, Raymond McNamara, 50, rescued an old, deaf and blind Siamese cat from the streets in Washington state. He named the cat Lily and traveled coast-to-coast with her, never worrying about the cat running off at hotels or rest stops because she’s blind and “always sticks close.
Early last February during a trip to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the now 20-year-old Lily wandered off and go lost. As McNamara recounts what happened to People: “we were at a sand dune, I walked 10 feet away and turned my back for a brief moment. And when I turned around, she was gone.”
McNamara frantically searched through the surrounding brush for more than four hours, then had fliers made up about Lily, listing his contact information. For three weeks, he painstakingly searched eight square blocks, knocking on doors, hoping that somebody had seen her. He said: “I was so upset, I just stopped eating and I lost a bunch of weight, and it got to the point where I was exhausted and running out of money. Finally, I figured, ‘She’s gone — sad as it is, I need to accept it and move on.’”
McNamara then drove to California to look for work as a bartender or waiter.
Three months passed. In mid-May, McNamara received an urgent message from his mother: Animal rescue volunteers were trying to reach him because Lily had been found at a Fort Lauderdale construction site, near the beach where she’d gone missing. Dehydrated and malnourished, she was covered with cuts and scrapes, but alive.
McNamara said: “I climbed in my car as soon as I could and started driving back to Florida, with tears of joy all the way. What a glorious occasion. Really, it’s a miracle.”
The emotional reunion between the unemployed service industry worker and his cat was videotaped at a veterinarian’s office and posted on YouTube. Kathy Bieniek, vice-president of Saving Sage Animal Rescue in Miami, a foundation that had helped search for Lily, said McNamara “and that cat have such a strong bond — he’s never going to let her out of his sight again. It was a very happy day.”
In April, a volunteer at Raymond McNamara spotted a skinny and weak cat with matted fur and scraped paws, hiding beneath a trailer at a construction site near where Lily had gone missing. The good-hearted volunteer posted a picture of the cat on Facebook and several people in Fort Lauderdale who remembered McNamara contacted Bieniek at Saving Sage Animal Rescue.
Bieniek took Lily to Pet Express Animal Hospital for several weeks of recovery and eventually tracked down McNamara’s mother with the good news.
Bieniek said: “It’s so incredible that Lily was able to survive for two months on her own in the heat and torrential rain we’d been having. She was in bad shape with liver and kidney issues and we had to put her on IV fluids. But with a lot of loving care, she made it.”
On May 19, 2017, McNamara fought back tears when he was reunited with Lily, who gave her person a head bump. Vowing that “She’s never going to get away from me again,” McNamara gently patted Lily’s frail body and marveled at her determination to live. “She is my world. There was no greater moment for me than being able to hold her again.”
Watch their tearful reunion:
Unlike large outfits like Humane Society of the United States, small animal rescue foundations like Miami’s Saving Sage Animal Rescue Foundation really need our support. Saving Sage is certified by Adopt-a-pet.com as an “approved rescue”. To donate to this worthwhile cause, click here!