This is a follow-up column to a previous one several weeks ago about a tabby cat named Tigger.

By Trish Morgan
For the News Tribune
This is a follow-up column to a previous one several weeks ago about a tabby cat named Tigger.
Missy Smith of Westernport met Tigger at Mountainview Veterinary Services in Keyser - where he was with his owner Julie Miller.  She shared with me that it was the saddest, most horrendous wound she had ever seen on an animal in her entire life. Tigger's entire back, from the neck to his tail, was one wide, open sore - exposed to the elements of nature.
"It was a miracle he was even alive, knowing that infection could have been rampant throughout his body," Missy sadly said.
Because Julie was having difficulties with her living arrangements, she asked Missy to take care of Tigger, as she was currently not able to do so. So, Missy took over the care of Tigger.
Thus began a year-long series of extensive, and expensive, treatments at Mountainview for this poor little tabby cat. Missy took care of everything out of her own pocket - taking Tigger for his veterinary appointments and giving him the proper care of this body-long wound.
The treatment continued over a period of approximately two years, at which time Missy had nursed Tigger to where the wound was down to the size of a plum. And soon, it was evident that this wound was not going to close on its own.
So, a group of us got together with Missy and decided to have a fundraising event to raise $7,000 so that Tigger could receive the specialized veterinary care in Winchester, Virginia. The community responded very generously, with folks providing door prizes, raffle items, spaghetti dinner food items and supplies, and Moose Lodge 662 of Keyser provided the location for the fundraiser at no charge to Missy. The Women of the Moose #191 volunteered to prepare and serve the meal.
The fundraiser was a huge success, and with additional donations coming in from cat lovers all over the area, all of the money was raised so that Tigger could have the desperately-needed surgery and treatments.
At Veterinary Surgical Centers on Costello Drive in Winchester, Tigger's treatments included overnight care, injections, wound vac, technician services, surgical procedures and all of the related supplies and medications, anesthesia, drain kits, bloodwork, bandages, IV catheterization, wound lavage, cultures, histopathology, surgi-sox for going home, outpatient treatments and follow-up visits and all specialists' care of this cat's wound.
The good news is that Tigger's wound was completely and sterily-closed and healed, and now Tigger's beautiful fur coat is growing back.
There are so many people to thank...so many people that Missy wanted to acknowledge for everything that was done for her Tigger. That list begins with Mountainview Veterinary Services, who spent nearly two years of continuous care for Tigger.
Missy would like to thank Dr. Cheryl Nguyen, DVM, and the entire staff at Mountainview for their dedication,  determination and persistence through all of Tigger's care.
"Thank you for not giving up on Tigger," adds Missy. "Dr. Cheryl worked diligently on this wound - getting it from where it covered his entire back to the size it was when referred to the specialist."
A special thank you from all of us goes out to Dr. Holly Phelps, DVM, Diplomate ACVS-SA, of Veterinary Surgical Centers of Winchester, for her expertise in wound care and her amazing surgical skills in getting Tigger completely healed - when we thought that wasn't possible. Also,  Missy wants to thank Julie Miller for trusting her to care for Tigger and for allowing her to be a part of his life. 
"Last, but not least..thank all of YOU. Without all of you, none of this would have been possible. My friends, my family and my community came together, without question, without hesitation, and believed in me enough to raise the money needed to save the life of one tabby cat - one very special, beautiful, amazing tabby cat. Why? Because his life matters!" sums up Missy. "Thank you all...I am forever grateful and blessed beyond words."
Missy started her rescue years ago because she owned a home in Keyser, and there was an electrical fire at her home. She lost everything...including her cats and her beautiful dog Lucy. She was not home at the time of the fire, and unfortunately could not save her precious pets. It was then that she vowed to step up and save other animals in their honor and memory.
Emily Haworth of Geppert, McMullen, Paye & Getty in Cumberland will be handling the incorporation of Missy's organization and helping Missy to attain 501(c)(3) status. Missy and her resource committee will be working with Emily to get this process started early next week.
Sometime over the next week, Missy will be announcing the official name of her rescue. To keep abreast of Missy's rescue activities and the announcement of her organization, visit Missy Smith - Love and Hope for All Cats on Facebook.
For many years, Missy has taken on so much financial responsibility in order to take care of these cats. Literally, she has saved many cats from uncertain futures and even imminent death due to abandonment, neglect, starvation, abuse and tragic illnesses. And, when one of her babies finds a forever home, it makes all of the heartache and heartbreak worth it.
"Okay, I know that there are terrible, terrible people out there, but listen. I also know that there are people who stop and smile at tiny plants growing out of sidewalk cracks, people who laugh so loud they snort, people who compliment others randomly, people who take pictures of their friends because they love to see their friends happy, people who ramble about things that they're passionate about, people who blush and stutter, people who are kind, people who love and love and love and love." 
I found those words on Missy Smith's Facebook page, and although they are not her words, nor mine, they certainly could be.
For you see, living the simple life can be life-changing. Peace in your heart, joy in your soul, and love for every living creature. I kinda think that's a nice way to live.