Transformation stories


One a cold January evening, the still of the night was broken by a fire tearing through an outdoor encampment. Trapped amongst the flames was a kitten who had only seen a few months of life before facing a nightmare. Luckily, she and everyone else inside escaped with their lives. But the blaze left trauma in its wake, making the kitten’s health and future uncertain.

Her arrival at the shelter painted an alarming picture — her body was covered in burns and her breathing was labored from smoke inhalation. Singed whiskers, burns across her chin, underside, and paws were just the beginning of her injuries; she had anemia (low red blood cells which provide oxygen), leukocytosis (high white blood cell count, often due to trauma or infection), and mild hypoalbuminemia (low albumin, which is responsible for keeping fluid in blood vessels). On top of that, she was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This involves thickening of the heart’s left ventricle, which reduces chamber volume and disrupts the heart’s ability to relax and pump blood efficiently. It was clear she needed immediate, intensive care to stand a chance. With hope she would pull through her first night, the medical team let her rest, naming her Bernadette as a tribute to her ordeal.

Though her prognosis was complex, Bernadette was not alone in her struggle. Supported by the dedicated team at Mazie’s Mission and the caring individuals at Dallas Pets Alive!, she received the emergency care she desperately needed. Despite the overwhelming medical expenses that approached nearly $7K, the whole team was invested in her recovery and silently pleading for her delicate condition to stabilize.

As days turned into weeks, Bernadette began to show signs of improvement as her pain subsided and her vitality bloomed. Her burns started to heal, and her cute, curved ear tips became a symbol of her resilience. Hospitalized but stable, she surprised everyone with her progress. Her heart condition showed improvement, and the pulmonary damage from smoke inhalation lessened. At her two-week appointment, she gained a whole pound, started expressing her sassy personality, and began weaning off her medications. By the time a month rolled around, Bernadette’s radiographs revealed great improvement with minimal aftereffects. After a round of vaccinations and her spay surgery, she was cleared for adoption!

Through sharing her updates on social media, Bernadette’s arduous journey came to an end. Many followers had learned about her, emotionally invested in her story, and watched from the edge of their seat as she made progress. It’s no surprise that as soon as her adoptable status was announced, there was a stack of applications to bring this charmer home. Once Dallas Pets Alive! adoption experts filtered through them to find the best family for Bernadette, they knew it was time for the last stage of her transformation.

Naming this determined little cat Bernadette may have started as a funny play on words, but it’s almost prophetic in relation to her happy tale, as Bernadette is often translated as “brave as a bear.” It’s a fitting title for someone who survived a blaze, transformed like a phoenix, and emerged stronger than before. Her courage will astound many, and with hope, inspire many others to help Dallas Pets Alive! create more transformation stories just like hers.

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More transformation stories

Transformation stories
Transformation stories
Transformation stories
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