Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
The outpouring of community support for Lucky the cat has overwhelmed Lucky's rescuer, Jenny Larson.
When area residents learned how the cat was shot through the abdomen with an arrow and found on Oak Street Sunday night by Larson, who willingly agreed to pay the more than $1,100 veterinary bill for the cat that didn't belong to her, they responded with cards, cat toys and donations to help pay the large vet bill.
As of Thursday, about $1,200 had been raised through donations to pay for the vet bill at Lakeland Veterinary Hospital in Baxter. Extra funds that arrive at the vet hospital in Lucky's name will be used to have the female cat spayed. The rest will be donated to Heartland Animal Rescue Team's Dina and Abby funds which help pay for emergency veterinary care for injured cats and dogs found by strangers who take responsibility for them.
"I was just like, whoa, in less than eight hours the bill was paid for," said Larson, who picked up Lucky from the veterinary hospital Thursday. "I was really surprised. It makes you think there's hope. It's a really terrible thing to happen but you can still see that people still care about a lot of the little things. It's just really super cool. She's a really special cat."
Larson moved to Brainerd a week ago to stay with friends so she could find a job and an apartment in order to attend Central Lakes College this fall. She plans to become a First Responder and certified in underwater search and rescue.
"She's got eight more lives left and hopefully she won't use them."
Larson said she was taking Lucky back to her parent's home in Park Rapids Thursday to spend the next week healing from her injuries. Her parents live in the country with 140 acres of woods, a quiet place for the cat to recover. They also have three other cats there. She'll then return to Brainerd to have Lucky's stitches taken out and find an apartment that allows cats so she can bring Lucky back to Brainerd.
Larson said she has been reading the many cards and letters people have written to Lucky and will likely make a scrapbook about the cat. Many people told her they cried when they learned how Lucky was found with an arrow lodged through its back and abdomen and how two area veterinarians saved her life.
"Thanks for your caring love of animals," one woman wrote.
"I wanted to tell you how wonderful I think you are," another wrote. "We need more people like you in this world."
"God bless you and your kind heart," said one well-wisher. "My pets are my family, too."
Larson was particularly touched when she received a note from a 12-year-old Brainerd boy named Luke who donated his entire allowance to Lucky and asked that Larson buy something special for the cat with the money. She bought several cat toys with the money and called Luke and his family to arrange a meeting between the boy and Lucky.
"How many boys would donate their allowance to a cat they didn't ever know?" said Larson. "I thought that was one of the most special things in the world."
Larson said Lucky was following her everywhere, despite her injuries. She purrs loudly and gets into your face if you're not giving her the attention she now craves, she said.
"She's so happy. You can just tell she's happy," said Larson. "She's got eight more lives left and hopefully she won't use them."
JODIE TWEED can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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