Bob the cat was first introduced to Patch readers in the story, "."
His story was one of a friendly homeless cat who, after having his throat cut by strangers, was wandering the streets hurt and hungry .
He was rescued by a good Samaritan and after months of treatment at LifeLine Animal Project, he was put up for adoption only to be repeatedly passed over because he is FIV positive. Although healthy and asymptomatic, Bob’s diagnosis scared off potential adopters who were otherwise charmed by this amiable and roly-poly 16 pound feline.
Sherri Nielson wasn’t scared off.
Nielson, the former head of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and now the executive director of Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem, N.C., was taken with Bob’s tale.
“The story on Patch just spoke to me,” she said, “I've been thinking about adding a cat to our family for a few months.”
Already the owner of two rescued corgi-mix dogs named Emma and Ike, she thought Bob’s affection for humans, dogs and other cats was a winning combination.
“Bob seems to have the perfect personality to add to a mix of one human and two relatively laid back canine rescues,” Nielson said about her household.
She had no qualms about adopting an FIV+ cat since the disease cannot be transmitted to humans or dogs and only to other cats through biting or fighting. Cats with FIV can live normal lives if fed quality food and kept in a healthy environment.
Nielson smiles when she speaks of her rescued pets.
“I can't grow spiritually without them," she said. "The unconditional love shown by our animals is a true gift from God. Whenever a day seems bad or gloomy, let a dog or a cat show you some love and things are immediately brighter.”
Nielson said she prefers adopting pets from shelters as opposed to buying from pet shops or breeders.
“I'd like to tell everyone to truly look in your heart and see if there's space in there for a rescued animal,” Nielson said. “If there is, do your part and invite one into your home. If there's not, give a rescue group some money to help them do some of the hardest work around--helping those that cannot help themselves.”
LifeLine Animal Project has an extensive online database of adoptable dogs and cats from their and other rescue groups, including endangered animals at county shelters. See the listings, with photos, at www.atlantapets.org.