The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : 12-Year-Old Trevor Has Autism, and is Reunited With His Cat, Oreo, After Being Separated for 9 Months

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

12-Year-Old Trevor Has Autism, and is Reunited With His Cat, Oreo, After Being Separated for 9 Months

Oreo, an 11-year-old fluffy, black and white cat has been in the Bradfield family all his life. They live in West Rome, near Coosa High School. It’s a big, loving family. Gussie Bradfield and her husband Robert have two biological children, have adopted two and are fostering two. One of those kids is 12-year-old Trevor. He’s autistic. Sometimes he’s withdrawn and prefers to be by himself.

“Because of his autism he likes to exclude himself sometimes,” Gussie said. “He was in and out of foster care and that may have contributed to his isolation. Sometimes he doesn’t even want to talk to anyone.”

But that’s not the case with the family’s cat, Oreo. It seems that Trevor relates to the cat, his mom said, more so than people.

“Trevor has anxiety, but Oreo has a very soothing effect on him,” she said. “I can’t really explain it. When Trevor withdraws from others, he’ll talk to Oreo. He seems to be comforted by his presence. Oreo is not intimidating in any way, I suppose. Trevor really relaxes around him and opens up more.”

But last June Oreo was scared by a dog coming into the house and he ran away, worrying Trevor and the entire family. They put up fliers and scoured the neighborhood. But Oreo was gone.

“I missed him,” Trevor said. “I asked people for help. I drew pictures.”

Gussie said Trevor withdrew once more. His friend was missing.

Nine months later, Kristy LaRue enters the picture. She is the co-founder of People for Floyd County Pets, a local group that’s licensed to facilitate the placement of animals that need foster or permanent homes. They rescue many animals from local shelters and provide veterinary care for many of the animals before placing them.

On March 31, Kristy was looking through photos of animals at the Floyd County Animal Control and noticed a dirty, scruffy black and white cat, its hair all matted. The cat had been at animal control since March 18 and was soon to be euthanized. It was sick. The facility is required to keep animals for 72 hours and often, when space is available, they’re kept until they’re adopted or rescued. But in many cases they simply run out of time.

But Kristy couldn’t let that happen, so she called the facility and told them to hold the cat for her. She was going to pick him up.

“When I got there he was dirty and I could tell he was sick,” she said. “He looked pretty bad.”

Immediately, a friend of Kristy’s saw a photo of the cat and said it looked like one the Bradfields had been looking for. But Oreo was a male and this cat was listed as a female. 

Kristy called Gussie who came to see the cat anyway and sure enough it was Oreo. His gender had been listed incorrectly at animal control.

“They were more than excited to have him back,” Kristy said. “It was a wonderful little reunion.”

No one was happier to see Oreo than Trevor was. Finally, the two friends were back together.

It turns out that Oreo had been picked up on March 18 in West Rome — several miles from the Bradfields’ home — by Floyd County Animal Control as a stray. He had been wearing a collar and tag when he ran away but it may have fallen off or been taken off at some point.

No one knows what he had been doing or where he had been between June 2014 and March 2015. Gussie Bradfield is just glad he’s back at home and that Kristy LaRue had been looking out for local animals in need.

“He’s part of our family,” she said as Trevor sat on the couch, cuddled up with Oreo. “This family has been through a lot and he’s been through it all right along with us. He’s not replaceable.”

Kristy advised Rome residents that if their pet goes missing, don’t just call local shelters or rescue groups.

“Go and see for yourself,” she said. “These people are doing the best they can, but they may not have the time or resources to take a whole lot of pictures of every animal that comes in. Visit the shelter and see for yourself. It could make the difference between getting your pet back or not.”





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