One reason that people decide to have a pet is for the companionship they offer. They can reduce loneliness and offer comfort in our times of greatest need. It is these benefits of pet ownership like these that have led to the use of dogs and cats as therapy animals. These are used as a form of support for people who are facing various challenges in their life, and it can lead to the pet and the human having a strong bond. There are some amazing stories of the comfort a cat has brought to its owner, and there are also examples of stories when the human has repaid this love and comfort at a time when their cat has needed it the most.
A story that perfectly exemplifies this exchange of comfort and love was reported by ABC 15 Arizona. Elizabeth Arvizu became ill in 2011. She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in her pelvis and hip called chondrosarcoma. To support Arvizu through the ordeal that lay ahead of her as she fought her way back to health, she was given a therapy cat called Zulu Bear. She credits the cat with helping her through the horrific ordeal of chemotherapy and 17 surgeries. Zulu Bear is a Savannah F-2 cat, which is a cross between a serval and a therapy cat. These cats are known for both their intelligence and their loyalty, which makes them a perfect choice for working as a therapy cat, and he is a fully trained emotional support animal.
Arvizu has described how she felt very sad, lonely, and depressed while she was undergoing her treatment, but says that her cat was there to comfort her at the toughest times. She is incredibly grateful for the love and support that she has received from her cat. Sadly, the tables have now turned, and it is Arvizu’s turn to reciprocate the support she received from her cat and to help him through his own struggles. Although Arvizu has now recovered from cancer, Zulu Bear is now also suffering from this terrible condition. Zulu Bear’s ordeal began on Christmas Day in 2019. Arvizu realized in the morning of that day that her cat had a lump on his forehead. The cat was seen by veterinarian oncologists, who diagnosed Zulu Bear as suffering from a cancerous lymphoma. Arvizu was told by the specialist that the cat would die in under two months if he did not receive treatment immediately.
According to Arvizu, the tumor has left Zulu Bear suffering to breathe. It has also affected the cat’s vision as it is putting pressure on his eyes. One of his eyes is now smaller than the other, and it is causing him a great deal of pain. Arvizu does not know what to do or where she can turn. It is a tragic situation as he has played such a big role in her life. This is not only in terms of supporting her through her cancer but also in many other aspects of her day-to-day life. Zulu Bear first went to live with Arvizu seven years ago. She has explained that he was given to her by the vet who was training him for his role as a therapy cat shortly after she received her cancer diagnosis. He soon began to lift her spirits whenever she felt dark, and this helped her to cope with the difficult circumstances she was in at that time.
For the last seven years, Zulu Bear has given Arvizu lots of comfort and support. He has also helped her with many practical aspects of her daily life when she was too sick to undertake certain tasks. For example, Arvizu spent some time using a walker as she could not walk alone. This meant that she had difficulty opening doors and navigating through the doorways. Zulu Bear helped her with this after he was trained to open doors for her. Although Arvizu has been in remission for five years, her treatment left her with a lot of medical debt. She has since been paying this off in a desperate bid to live a normal life that is free of medical debt. This has been a big challenge for someone who is trying to recover from such a serious illness and rebuild her life.
Now, Arvizu is facing another challenge. If Zulu Bear does not receive the treatment he urgently needs, then he has a life expectancy of just two months. Part of the treatment for his cancer is potentially life-saving surgery. However, this comes with a hefty price tag of $16,000. The cost of treating the cat could mount up even further if he needs further surgery or ongoing medication. This is a significant amount of money for Arvizu to find, especially in such a short period of time. The more time passes before Zulu Bear begins his treatment, the lower his odds of survival. This has put Arvizu in a desperate situation as she simply doesn’t have the money, but she wants her cat to survive.
Arvizu has said that she will do anything she can to get the money together so that her beloved cat can receive treatment, even washing other people’s dishes for them. She is just worried that she will not raise enough cash in time to save him. Although to other people he may just seem like any other cat, Arvizu says that he is special and that he deserves a chance at life after everything that he has done for her. She has now set up a Facebook page to tell her and Zulu Bear’s story. She is hoping that raising awareness of the story will help her to raise the funds needed to get her precious cat the treatment he needs to give him the best chance of survival.