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Eye of the Tiger: Rocky Balboa!

With a name like Rocky Balboa, you’d expect this curious cat to be a fighter, but what you might not expect is that Rocky is also a world traveler, diplomat, and ambassador of love. And just like his namesake, Rocky’s life has been a million-to-one shot. After being abandoned by his family, a good Samaritan found him on the streets of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates with cataracts from a Herpes infection. He was brought to the vets for treatment but once there he became unresponsive and luckily was able to be revived. Once his treatment was underway, his rescuer tried to find an organization to take him. When that didn’t result in a new home, she reached out to her friend, Tracy, who volunteers in international dog and cat rescue in the United States. Tracy recognized that this was a cat who deserved a chance, got to work and, amazingly, found a friend who was scheduled to visit Dubai in the near future and who agreed to transport Rocky to Tracy.

Rocky settled into Tracy’s animal-filled house quite quickly and soon became her kitty ambassador. She once had a cat that arrived from Poland after a very difficult trip. Tracy put him in the bathroom to decompress and Rocky sat outside the bathroom door waiting for his new friend to come out. He greeted the new cat calmly each time he ventured out. Tracy says that “He’s the little ambassador who instinctively knows who needs a friend and a patient friend at that.”

About a month after he arrived, Rocky went to the vet for a neutering pre-check appointment. Tracy explained that he had started straining to urinate and testing revealed that he had crystals in his urine. He was put on medication and a specialized diet which cleared the problem only to have it reappear. The vet began to suspect that he had a birth defect called a porto systemic shunt. A specialist at Veterinary Referral Associates conducted further testing including a sonogram and a CAT scan which confirmed there was a shunt. In addition to the specialized tests and appointments Tracy had already paid for, she needed to find approximately $10,000 for the surgery to save Rocky’s life.

“Vet bills were sky-rocketing, but he was such a special cat I knew he needed to be saved. Thankfully, I’m part of a really great community of animal lovers and I started a Go Fund Me for Rocky. Friends were generous, and I was able to apply for and get several grants. A woman in the billing department at VRA collaborated with me to help me fill out applications and about 10 days before the surgery she called me to tell me about Compassionate Animal Project.” With her help, Tracy applied for and received a $4500 grant from CAP. “I’m so incredibly grateful. I love Rocky so much.”

Happily, Rocky’s surgery was a success and he came home the next day. He recovered in the master bathroom – “I’d lay on the bathroom floor with him, and he’d curl up next to me and purr like a maniac,” said Tracy. He did very well during the recovery period - so well, in fact that his medication was reduced. Today, Rocky is thriving. He is gaining weight and is back to ruling the roost – happy to resume all his duties as ambassador and diplomat. And just like in the movie, this Rocky is destined to go the distance.

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