Caring for Meeka and Houdini While Their Mom Is Deployed

Elizabeth and Cyndy have never met, but they have two very important loves in common

– a 13-year-old cat named Meeka and a 12-year-old cat named Houdini.

Elizabeth, the proud mom of the feline pair, is also a surgical technologist in the U.S. Navy (or, in military lingo, a Hospital Corpsman First Class for the Navy Medicine Readiness & Training Command). When she learned of her current deployment to Guam, it came with a new sense of dread – what would she do with Meeka and Houdini?

“I mean, there are no words to truly capture what this service means”

“For many years, my parents always took in my cats,” Elizabeth said. “They were the best and allowed me to do what I needed in the military for quite some time.” But her father wasn’t in great health when her deployment was approaching this past January. She feared she would have to give her beloved cats to an animal rescue and never see them again. Desperate, she googled local foster care and discovered Anderson Humane.

Tony Stamper, who heads up our Military Veterans Program (MVP), responded right away. “He was a great surprise for me. We immediately connected, especially since he has also served in the Navy.” Tony told Elizabeth about our STAR (Short-Term Animal Refuge) program, which offers temporary foster care for pets when their people are in crisis or deployed. “He even said worst case scenario he would foster them himself, if needed!”

But that’s where Cyndy came in. Cyndy has fostered cats for Anderson Humane for years. Her two cats both died last year, so when an Anderson Humane staff member called and asked if she would foster two older cats for a deployed service member, she readily agreed. “It was a win-win situation. It feels good to be helping out a service person,” she said.

Since January, Cyndy has been caring for Meeka and Houdini in her home, sending regular updates and photos so Elizabeth can keep connected to her furry family members. “They’re very loving – though not always toward each other,” Cyndy said with a laugh.

“I love the updates! They let me know that my cats are doing well,” Elizabeth said. She is not surprised that Houdini, named for a disappearing act when Elizabeth first got him, is sometimes an annoying brother to his sister. Deep down, she knows he loves Meeka, who resembled a raccoon as a kitten – earning a name inspired by the raccoon character in the movie Pocahontas. “The updates are proof that you have wonderful people as part of your foster program!”

Elizabeth is a fan of the whole program. “I mean, there are no words to truly capture what this service means,” she said, then tried anyway. “Life-saving, stress relief, amazing people, a true blessing. I truly appreciate the wonderful foster program you provide because you are saving me from a heartache I really didn’t want to have on top of leaving family and friends.”

When Elizabeth’s deployment is done, she will be reunited with Meeka and Houdini. In the meantime, she is freed to focus on her current assignment, knowing her cats are in Cyndy’s loving care. “I hope Anderson Humane continues to help the military with their foster program,” Elizabeth said, “because you are truly a blessing!”

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