In-house veterinary care is crucial to shelter’s success

Three-legged kitten finds love, new home after surgery at P.A.W.S.

P.A.W.S. Auction for the Animals ends December 9
Fri, 12/04/2020 - 12:00pm

    CAMDEN—A nine-week-old stray kitten was brought into P.A.W.S Animal Adoption Center last August badly injured from being hit by a car—a situation tragically far too common.

    Initially nicknamed “Mulligan,” after a golfing term that means getting a second chance, the kitten was stabilized by P.A.W.S.’ staff veterinarian Jodi James with the hope of saving the leg. However, her little body was fighting the infection so hard, that ultimately, the hard decision had to be made to amputate the left front leg up to the shoulder bone in order to save her life. Jodi’s daughter, Annie James, volunteered to foster the kitten while she healed. As it turned out, their bond was so strong, Annie adopted Mulligan and gave her a new name: Maizie.

    “I have fostered cats before that needed medical care, especially the ones my mom needs to have watched 24-7,” said Annie. “She sets them up in my room and I will take care of them. Right after Mazie’s surgery, I was fostering her with no intention of keeping her, but something really clicked between us. We were meant to be.”


    If the COVID-19 virus has decimated your income and your pet needs medical attention or food:

    P.A.W.S. has a free pet assistance program for residents of Knox county.

    Waldo County Pet Food Pantry serves Waldo residents.

    Here’s a list of national organizations that help with financial support assistance with pets.

    Maizie’s recovery was surprisingly fast, but the kitten was still struggling with trauma. “She had a lot of road rash and would barely eat,” said Annie. “She had this quiet meow—basically her mouth would just open and no sound would come out. And she would shake, her whole body would tremble, so I’d go under the covers with her and hold her on my chest and hold her really tight until the shaking stopped.”

    Within a day, Maizie was walking. “It took a little figuring out,” said Annie.  “She learned how to walk on three legs so fast. It was more of a hop. She uses her back two legs like a rabbit and her one front leg slingshots her forward.”

    Annie, 22, had to make special arrangements with her housing in Colorado, where she works as a lift operator at Breckenridge Mountain, in order to adopt Maizie. On the road trip out west, Annie brought a special backpack made for cats, so Maizie could enjoy the great outdoors. Annie has documented some of these travels on her Instagram page 3LeggedMaz.

    P.A.W.S Fundraiser & Auction

    Due to the COVID-19 virus, P.A.W.S. had to cancel three of its major fundraisers this year and as they are entirely community and grant-funded, this last fundraiser is crucial.


    “I took her to Niagara Falls, Chicago, the Badlands, to Mt. Rushmore and everywhere in between,” said Annie. 

    P.A.W.S. is unusual in that the adoption center contains its own veterinary clinic. Roughly, 80 percent of the animals who arrive at P.A.W.S. need some kind of medical attention, whether it’s fleas and worms, injuries, or dental care. As a no-kill shelter, it takes in around 1,000 animals a year and successfully adopted out 751 animals in 2019, with a 96% save rate. Their adoption rate is consistently three to four times above the national average and is one of the highest in the nation.

    “I think P.A.W.S. having veterinary care in the shelter is above and beyond,” said Annie. “I volunteer with my mom in the medical suite when I can and every single cat that comes in has a medical issue.”

    As for Maizie, Annie said the kitten is thriving, happy and bopping around.

    “She’s adjusting well to our new home in Colorado,” said Annie. “She was able to adapt to life on three legs, so I’m not worried about where life takes us because I know she’ll be able to handle it. She inspires me not to worry so much.”

    Kay Stephens can be reached at