The morning of March 10, a black cat lay motionless, face down in a puddle on the side of a road in British Columbia, Canada.
The weather conditions were severe, with torrential rain that reflected hurricane-like conditions. It was obvious the cat was in pain — he had been run over by a car and his face was badly maimed. Everyone else that drove by thought the cat was already dead.
But one man’s gut instinct told him otherwise.
“You almost hit a dead cat,” the passenger of Dennis McDonald, a 45-year-old truck driver, said to him. The two had just driven past the cat in McDonald’s 5-ton rig.
“I look quickly at the passenger mirror and honestly, something hit me,” McDonald, who already owned two cats said. “Tears started to well up [in my eyes] and I said, ‘I don’t believe that he’s dead. I’m turning around.’ I knew I couldn’t carry on with my day if I hadn’t gone back.”
McDonald’s intuition and sheer empathy for an animal, led him to the 3-year-old cat’s chance at survival. McDonald drove back around and stepped out of his truck to save the cat, another motorist had stopped to check on the animal too. McDonald saw that the cat was in rough shape, but he was still alive. The motorist offered McDonald a box to transport him.
“I took the length of my arm and put it under [the cat] to support him entirely and managed to get him in the box and back to the truck,” McDonald said. He immediately drove to the Burnaby SPCA to drop the cat off to hopefully receive the help he needed.
“On the way out the door I told them, without hesitation, that if the owners don’t step up, I’d like to have first opportunity to adopt him,” McDonald said, adding if “by miracle” the cat managed to pull through his extensive injuries.
The cat, who McDonald named BB-8 after the “Star Wars” robot, had to have his jaw wired shut, in addition to suffering from a collapsed nose and fractures to his skull.
Thanks to generous donations, the doctors were able to perform surgery on BB-8 pro bono. For three weeks after his extensive dental surgery, BB-8 had to wear an acrylic bite splint. But during the continued pain and discomfort the cat must have felt, McDonald always made certain to visit him, bringing much-needed comfort.
Then the opportunity rose for McDonald to rescue BB-8 again, by providing him a forever home.
BB-8 had an ear tattoo that led to contact information for his original owner. According to McDonald, she hadn’t seen BB-8 in a year. “She was in a place where she couldn’t do anything for him, so she surrendered him to the the vet and me. That broke my heart into a million little pieces.”
As it turns out, BB-8’s original owner gave him away to a neighbor, who then lost him, leading to the dire predicament McDonald found him in.
But today, BB-8 is doing more than fine. He’s expected to make a full recovery without any long-term health issues.
A recent photo with McDonald, shows BB-8 looking like an entirely new cat.
He’s still healing at the vet, but when he’s ready to leave with McDonald, he’ll gain a new rescue brother and sister named Lucy and Ricky. McDonald likes to think that Lucy and BB-8 were separated at birth, given their physical similarities and the fact that they’re both the same age.
What’s impressed McDonald the most throughout BB-8’s ordeal has been his resilience.
“He is the most affectionate and grateful,” McDonald said. “Truly humbled at this guy’s ability to move forward and put the pain behind him and focus on the love.”
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