Taylor + Daisy

Rescue Cat Provides Comfort to Woman Facing Cancer

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Taylor + Daisy

I wasn’t expecting to adopt a cat the day I walked into the Jacksonville Humane Society. I have a habit of visiting the shelter just to cuddle with cute kittens and play with puppies but when I saw a little white fluff of a kitten, I knew I had to bring her home.

Eight months before my visit to the Humane Society, I had spent days at the hospital. After two trips to the emergency room with what I thought was food poisoning, scans would reveal a different diagnosis.

I was 21 years old when I found out I had stage 3 colon cancer. It was during the middle of my senior year of college, and my world had just been flipped upside down.

"After my diagnosis, I had a sense of loneliness and didn’t know what the cure was until that day I walked into the Humane Society—I knew I had found it."

I had immediate surgery, spent Christmas and New Year’s in the hospital recovering from severe malnutrition, and would begin six months of chemotherapy upon returning home. Although the next few months included many days of feeling sick and not wanting to get out of bed, I was able to graduate from Florida State University on schedule and returned home to finish chemotherapy.

While all my friends were about to enter the “real world” after graduation, my world had been all too real far too early. I was fortunate to be able to move back in with my parents, who took care of me when I got sick during treatments. But it was hard when all my friends were embarking on new independent adventures, while I was laying in bed all day feeling alone and useless.

After my diagnosis, I had a sense of loneliness and didn’t know what the cure was until that day I walked into the Humane Society—I knew I had found it. I named her Daisy and she was quite the cuddly cat. My days spent in bed were always made better when she would curl up on top of me and keep me warm. Daisy helped me feel less alone when my world was changing and would always bring a smile to my face on days when treatment would have me feeling low.

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I finished chemotherapy a few months after adopting Daisy and spent a year in remission. Two months ago, scans showed my cancer has metastasized to my ovary which would require two surgeries and additional chemotherapy. Although the recurrence has been a setback, I know that even if I am having the worst day possible, when I come home and Daisy curls up with me, I’m reminded that everything is going to be okay.

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Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Taylor Overby won Jacksonville Humane Society in Jacksonville, Florida a 2015 Holiday Wishes award.