This is a story that has been three months (almost to the day) in the making, and I just had to share it with the readers here. Out of the tragedy of the Julianne Westberry there were very few survivors and Whiskers is one of them. He is alive today, thanks to the determination of a number of people.
From the beginning, Whiskers had good care when he was transported to Anderson County P.A.W.S., the local shelter who cared for all of the Westberry cats who survived the hell house. He was then rescued by Susan Schreck of Saving Southern Kitties (SSK) and helped along greatly by his foster mom (who had to make a 200 mile round trip for each vet visit), and the veterinary staff who took such excellent care of his medical needs.
Susan describes what it was like in the first days, when it appeared Whiskers would likely die.
“By all accounts, I’ll never forget my stomach drop when we learned how bad his blood work was and that his organs and lymph nodes were enlarged. He was very ill. I tried to prepare myself and his foster mom for the worst, afraid he was possibly just too far gone. We vowed to give him every treatment possible, he was a fighter with a strong will to live with the most trusting and loving nature ever. His foster mom was diligent with his care, her dedication to driving over 200 miles for each and every vet visit remarkable. He grew stronger, he gained weight, his eyes which looked as if he’d had cataracts before, began to shine clearly, his wheezing subsided, his breathing better and better, viral and upper respiratory infections clearing… the spark of life and will that this boy had seemed to catapult him to get better.”
“When his last set of Labs were taken, we were all pleasantly surprised, even the Dr… A complete turn around, completely normal values, normal organs, normal lymph nodes and he’d doubled in size. We’d gotten the MIRACLE we’d hoped for! He was cleared to undergo his neuter surgery and did just perfectly. ”
Whiskers has one more vet visit ahead of him, where he will head to Charlotte, North Carolina for his final check-up before finding his forever home. Susan often wonders how her miracle baby ended up at the Westberry house.
“We’ll never know how Whiskers ended up with the evil Julianne Westberry at the Belton SC home where so many suffered long and painful deaths, and so many others are unaccounted for. We will never ever understand this intentional level of cruelty all in the name of greed, and even worse in the name of rescue.”
Susan would like to thank all of those who donated to SSK to cover the medical bills for Whiskers, along with the other cats in her care. SSK rescues a LOT of cats facing euthanasia at the high-kill shelter in Greenville, South Carolina. She can’t save them all, but she tries. Sometimes it gets frustrating, until a little miracle like Whiskers comes along and confirms the good work she and her network are providing to cats who would otherwise be killed.
Take a look at the photos for this article. The first photo is Whiskers several days after being confiscated from the house. The second is one of him at his first visit to SSK’s local vet, after several prior vet visits in Greenville. The third and fourth photos are of Whiskers now.
Julianne Westberry is still awaiting trial, where she’ll have to answer to one charge of animal cruelty and one charge of torture. Most likely the fraud charges being investigated will carry a heftier sentence than the abuse charges. Let us never forget what Whiskers went through. We may never know whether Julianne “rescued” in the name of greed or just got overwhelmed.
When it comes right down to it, the cats in her care died a slow and painful death from starvation, dehydration and illness. Several died at the shelter after rescue, including the few kittens who survived.
To face only two charges total is an insult to the intelligence of animal lovers in South Carolina, who are fighting hard for increased penalties for abusers. Dog abusers already face heftier charges. I think it sad that cats are considered second class pets.
It’s nice to see one little miracle come out of this nightmare.
Please feel free to leave a comment thanking Susan and her staff for working so hard to save this one little life. Whiskers, may you find your forever family, where you’ll be placed with the best of cat caregivers. Susan will be sure whoever is lucky enough to share your life will be worthy of you, as you are truly a miracle kitten.
To see more cats Susan has given a second chance, check out her Facebook page.