From Dog Food To Sarajevo

From Dog Food To Sarajevo

While buying cat food at Petco the first Saturday in December 2011, a family came in with a pathetic looking kitten. The little girl was crying and the boy just looked down at his feet while the parents spoke to the rescue group.

I could tell the woman running the rescue was very angry while the kitten looked over her shoulder and I swear, every time I looked up she gave me the "silent meow".


After I finished checking out, I went back into the store. By that time the family had left and I asked what the story was with the kitten. Apparently, the daughter wanted a kitten and the boy a puppy.

Well the pup, a pit bull, attacked the kitten several times and rather viciously so they brought the kitten to the rescue. No, I don't blame the dog, I blame the idiot people. The kitten looked about 5 or 6 weeks old and the woman told me she would not survive the weekend.

She was covered in blood and scabs as well as ear mites and fleas. She was also malnourished so they let me have her to see what I could do. I kept her locked in a guest bathroom over the weekend and dropped her off at my vet's the following Monday morning.

I wanted a thorough check-up and after filling out paperwork the girl at the desk asked me her name. "I don't know, I've been calling her Dog Food all weekend.", I replied. She yelled at me for such a horrible name so I said, "well, how about Puppy Chow?" She went ballistic, screaming at me and telling me unless I came up with a real name, she would not let me have her back at the end of the day.

Now, I had been taking my other two cats there (both shelter kitties) for a little over 6 years at that point so most of the staff knew me. I thought about a name but just couldn't come up with one.

The song "Christmas Eve in Sarajevo" came on the radio and I thought that was the perfect name.

When I went back after work that evening, the young lady says, "Well?" in a not-so-nice tone. I said I'm calling her Sarajevo. She looks at me, says "That's pretty. Um, how do you spell that?".


The vet came out and told me she was approximately 3 months old but so small because of malnourishment. She was treated for fleas and ear mites as well as worms just in case. Fortunately, her blood work came back negative for diseases so I could now introduce her to my other two cats.

I had her spayed and decided to keep her. The woman that ran the rescue was surprised but very happy with her outcome. Fast forward to her annual check-up the following year. As soon as the vet comes into the room where we are waiting, he booms out "How's Dog Food, my miracle kitty doing?" I told him how unhappy his receptionist was with me about calling her Dog Food. He just laughed and said, "I can fire her so she knows not to say anything to me."

Fast forward another couple of years, Sarajevo (or Twerp as my husband calls her - for good reason!) was found to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Three years ago, her vet figured she only had a few months left to live and felt it best not to stress her out with any more visits. She is still with us. She gets tired easily and gets out of breath quickly when playing but is still very loving to us and still quite the "twerp" to the other cats. Definitely an instigator!

Needless to say, she is quite pampered and very loved. It will be devastating when her poor heart finally gives out but perhaps because she has so much heart, she is still going strong.

Story submitted by Susan Andersn.

Sarajevo's story was originally shared on Share your very own rescue story here!

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