By Savannah Verdon, RedRover Development and Engagement Coordinator

Caitlyn is one of those individuals who effortlessly inspires others to do something kind, simply by sharing her own goodheartedness. At 24 years old, she serves full-time as an AmeriCorps Volunteer In Service To America member in New Hampshire. Despite receiving only a monthly stipend and living at the poverty line, she finds fulfillment in working with the community youth theater, encouraging children to have confidence in themselves and their craft.

In addition to being devoted to her work, Caitlyn pours her time, energy and love into her 7-year-old cat Milo, a charming boy with a uniquely-marked face. Their bond is special and deep in a way that many of us recognize ourselves, having once been a young adult finding their way in life with the unrivaled companionship of a precious pet: 

Milo is so very important to me. We adopted him right after my family and I moved into a house after experiencing months of homelessness due to Hurricane Irene, so he was like the start of a new chapter. He brought me joy and comfort in my high school days. In college, I missed him terribly, so now that I’m graduated and living on my own, he’s moved in with me. I work hard to give him a happy life, often spending hours researching how I can ensure his happiness and improve his quality of life. As a National Service member, my pay is small and my hours long, but getting to cuddle him at the end of the day is very healing. Above all, as I blossom into an adult and learn how to be more responsible for myself, my actions, and my life, having the opportunity to care for another creature is such a blessing and really helping me in that process. Ultimately, I just want to give Milo the best life he can possibly have. I want him to feel safe and loved and happy and mentally stimulated because all animals and creatures deserve that. It’s like he and I are growing up and maturing together and I want to continue on this journey of betterment, helping both of us thrive instead of just survive.

Caitlyn didn’t know at the time that the beautiful lily flower she had in her home could be toxic to Milo. When she noticed pollen on his face and traced it back to the lily, she had an instinct to call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline. When they confirmed that the lily is toxic and exposure and ingestion of any part of it can result in kidney failure within three days, she knew that he needed to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible. 

The veterinarian recommended Milo enter in-patient care immediately. Without knowing how much of the plant he had been exposed to, he would almost certainly die without treatment. Caitlyn didn’t know how she could possibly afford it, but not admitting him would be taking a risk she couldn’t bear. 

While Milo stayed at the hospital receiving an IV drip, fluid dialysis, medication and daily blood work to monitor his kidney function, Caitlyn applied her strong work ethic to finding help to afford his lifesaving treatment. She would not be able to ask her family for assistance, and she was daunted that the total cost would exceed what she made in a month. Nevertheless, she took the step of applying for CareCredit. When her application was approved, she felt encouraged to keep fighting for Milo and raise the last few hundred dollars she needed. 

A RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant ensured that Milo received the full treatment he needed, not just to survive but to thrive. When Caitlyn picked him up from the veterinary hospital after several days apart, her only worry was how they would celebrate his happy, healthy return.

She shared with us this sweet update on Milo:

Milo is home and is doing great! His final check-up at his primary veterinary office showed no abnormalities in his liver or kidney functions. He has made a full recovery and we get to put this whole ordeal behind us with no repercussions or lasting effects. We are extremely grateful, as we know others cannot say the same. Most mornings he comes under the blankets to snuggle. I really missed that while he was in treatment. I’m so glad he’s around for more morning snuggles! 

Life has returned to normal for Caitlyn and Milo in the weeks since, and they are more deeply bonded than ever. Always with an eye toward making the world a little bit better, Caitlyn took the time to create a TikTok video sharing Milo’s story to educate pet owners about toxic houseplants and spread the word about the resources RedRover offers to keep pets and people together through crisis.

As a FurEver Friend of the animals, you too can share with your friends and family about the work RedRover does to bring animals from crisis to care. Please share Milo’s Happy Tail today with someone you know who believes that pets are family! 

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