On January 16, 2014, a badly burned cat was rushed to vets at an animal clinic in Raleigh, North Carolina. The cat, Russell, was barely alive, with the fur burned off his face and feet. Russell's frantic owner, Leta Mae Strickland, told the vets the sad story: Four days before, her house had caught fire and burned to the ground. Leta had tried to rescue her pets, but it was impossible. Leta assumed all her pets had died, but four days after the fire, someone had heard cries coming from the wreckage and had dug out the kitty. Could they do anything for him?
The vets set to work on Russell, and slowly he improved. Over the next year, Russell’s burns started to heal, most of his fur grew back, and he began to eat and walk around. Russell kept getting better, and soon the friendly cat decided he would help out his fellow patients!
Russell began to make the rounds at the clinic, comforting animals in pain, cuddling up to homesick dogs, and welcoming frightened newcomers. This past May, an orphaned baby deer named Darla was brought in. Russell stayed by her side and slept beside her until Darla moved to a rehabilitation center, to be prepared for release into the wild. Sometimes staff have to confine Russell so he will get the rest he needs - he’s too busy with his job! The vets don’t know when Russell will be able to go back home, but the happy cat does not seem to mind. He loves his job and his new friends and is content to stay where he is!