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Saving Lives One Cat at a Time


Happy Tails - Buddy

FuRR - Happy Tails - BuddyEscaping New Orleans before the arrival of Katrina were 6 year old Bryce Kaltenbach, her Mom, her best friend Buddy, and a family friend.  In Vicksburg, MS., they learned they could not go home. Bryce and her mom boarded a bus to Phoenix, but could not take Buddy along on the bus. Bryce was heartbroken. Cheri (Bryce's Mom), had a friend that was willing to take Buddy home with him, all the way to Orlando Florida. This put Bryce and Buddy over 2,000 miles apart.

FuRR learned of the situation and it caught our hearts.  Bryce's world was turned upside down, and the more we learned, the more we understood her pain.  She was crying every night, her Mom reported, and she missed her best Buddy.

Enter FuRR volunteer and pilot, Dave Cuttino.  Hearing of Bryce and Buddy, Dave decided to help.  He and two other pilots, Jason Strobbe and Ryan Webb, took a plane to Orlando, and in a nearly 12 hour flight, brought Buddy to Little Rock.  On the flight Buddy was totally comfortable - he roamed the cockpit and we are sure he helped the pilots fly.

Dave had planned to take Buddy the rest of the way home but Hurricane Rita came along and nixed all plans to fly a small plane.  So another FuRR volunteer, Tracey Owens, donated frequent flyer miles for Buddy to fly from Little Rock to Phoenix.  Volunteer Susan Loesch accompanied Buddy on the flight.  He rode at her feet, and sporting a fatigue print bandana, was quite the attention getter!

Alma and Lorne Williams, at whose home Bryce and her Mom were staying, cooked up the big surprise reunion.  With video and digital cameras at the ready, Alma describes Buddy andFuRR - Happy Tails - Buddy Bryce's reunion:

  •  "When Bryce came in, I told her a friend had come by with a fabulous doll.  I asked her to sit at the table, close her eyes, and I'd bring it out for her.  Buddy in arms, I quietly walked in and said "OK"!  She looked up and for a split second just looked stunned.  In a little voice almost like a question, she said "Buddy?!" and jumped up to get him.  She hugged that little kitty for so long I thought he might need CPR!  She sat cross legged in her chair, kissing Buddy and telling him how much she missed him.
    Bryce wanted to know how Buddy got here.  I got out an atlas, turned to a double page map of the U.S., and showed her Buddy's remakrable journey from New Orleans, first to Vicksburg, then to Orlando.  I told her about Dave the wonderful pilot who left Little Rock in a small plane.  We traced the route to Orlando where Dave picked up Buddy and then flew right back to Little Rock.  Then I told her about Susan, who doesn't even like to fly, getting on a big plan and brining Buddy to Phoenix.  We talked about how many states Buddy had been in or crossed.  "Wow", she said with big wide eyes.  Clearly Buddy has traveled from coast to coast.  We talked about all the people he met along the way who helped him on his journey, all his newfound friends who loved and cared for him.  I know she is going to want to hear this story again and again.  To her, this is a magical thing - and indeed it is."

FuRR - Happy Tails - BuddyAlma says Buddy is quite the love bug and has now endeared himself to everyone at their house - almost.  "Some of the cats aren't quite sure what to make of this gangly orange boy, but they're so used to newcomers, the standoffishness won't last long."  Bryce is elated to once again come home from school and find her Buddy right there she says.  "He's the first ting she heads for, even before she gets her backpack off.  It's not New Orleans, but Buddy's here, so it's home agian for Bryce."  Next step Alma says, is making a scrapbook, "Buddy's Miraculous Journey", courtesy of FuRR."