SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, SC (WIS) – A kitten that somehow got stuck in the engine of a large military vehicle found a loving home, but the couple who rescued it were hit hard by bills veterinarians and one of them is leaving for Afghanistan soon.
When Senior Airman James Hemlick arrived at the Shaw Air Force base on June 26, he had no idea he would be on a rescue mission anytime soon.
This mission was prompted by the discovery by his supervisor of strange sounds coming from their vehicle. A first search did not yield anything and he continued his work of the day.
He later made an unfortunate discovery. Hemlick found an 8 week old kitten that had been trapped in the engine. The kitten was grabbed by the fan blades and spent an hour inside the motor before being spat out.
James and her supervisor believe she tried to escape the extreme southern heat for a drink because of a tiny water leak in their vehicle.
Kat says James quickly grabbed the kitten and asked her to call the vet. James picked up Kat and they drove an hour to the emergency vet with the kitten they later named “Mila”.
“The kitten had a large bleeding head injury, the tip of its nose had been severed, its eyes were dilated and blurry,” said James’ wife, Airman 1st Class Katharina Hemlick. “And worst of all, she could only crawl with her front legs. Her back legs didn’t seem to be working at all.”
“After eight hours in the waiting room, we were taken to the examination room and given the full extent of our brave baby girl’s injuries,” Kat said. “His head injury had caused severe swelling of the brain, his right eye was lacerated which permanently disrupted his depth perception, his nose would need stitches and … his right leg had been mutilated from irreparably. “
“We were told that she would need an amputation operation to remove it permanently or that she would drag it out unnecessarily for the rest of her life,” Kat said.
The couple picked her up the next day and paid the bill for $ 1,703.
James and Kat took the kitten to their senior veterinarian and had her leg amputated. “After paying an additional $ 525 for the amputation, we got another family member,” Kat said.
Kat says Mila is doing very well without her back leg. “She’s hopping around the house, playing with our other cat, and getting used to having big dogs in the family,” Kat said. “I think she’s just happy to be fed twice a day and to be cuddled and loved whenever she feels like it. I’ve never heard a cat purr so loud as soon as you touch her! “
“I wouldn’t hesitate to help this kitten again, but unfortunately all of this medical expense has taken a heavy toll on our wallet,” Kat said. “With my husband deployed to Afghanistan at the end of the year, we are doing our best to pay those vet bills before he leaves.”
“Even if you can’t donate,” Kat said, “please share Mila’s story and let others know about our brave little cat who has persevered through thick and thin. ”
Click here to learn more about Mila and to contribute to Mila’s medical fund.
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