Lucia, Safe and Sound After Two Years Straying the Streets
December 29, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
UPDATE 1/14/2021: Yesterday was a big day for Lucia! She was adopted and went home to West Seneca with Katherine! Be a good girl, Lucia!
Sure, it takes a village to see some things through. But sometimes it takes an entire city. And this particular cat brought to the SPCA yesterday needed the City of Good Neighbors to help her see things straight!
Here is Lucia’s story, as told to us by our Director of Admissions Amy Jaworski and Admissions Counselor Tammi Cogswell:
Approximately two years ago, a calico kitty was admitted to the City of Buffalo Animal Shelter (CBAS). While there, as part of the excellent care provided by CBAS, the kitty had eye removal surgery and was placed in foster care for several weeks before being ready for adoption. She was named Lucia, and, when her rehab was complete, Lucia was placed up for adoption at PetSmart in Buffalo.
Lucia was adopted quickly…but moments after her adoption, while the adopter was walking to her car to bring Lucia home, Lucia fell through the bottom of the cat carrier and was gone. Devoted CBAS volunteers, including SPCA employee Tammi Cogswell, searched for this cat, and in these two years, right up until this week, continued to put food out for her (courtesy of dedicated CBAS volunteer Mary, who made the search for Lucia a regular part of her life for two years!) in the hopes of capturing her, but with no success.
Several months ago, a woman named Susan came to the SPCA to surrender her mother’s cat, and Tammi, working at our Admissions Desk, asked Susan the general questions asked upon intake: how Susan’s mom acquired the cat, how long she owned the cat, etc. The conversation turned to stray cats when Susan responded that her mother’s cat had been a stray; Susan offhandedly mentioned that there was another stray cat who had been in the area a few years, a cat with beautiful colors and ONE EYE!
Tammi, acting as the ever-vigilant animal advocate that she is, asked Susan if this stray cat was in the vicinity of the PetSmart location in the city. The answer was a resounding “Yes,” the cat took up residence on Buffalo’s Rebecca Drive, and Susan promised to send Tammi photos of the cat next time the kitty came around.
Over the last few months, Tammi sent messages to Susan asking about the cat, but Susan was never able to grab another photo. Earlier this month, Susan contacted Tammi asking to borrow a live trap in an effort to safely capture and contain this one-eyed beauty.
We learned this cat had captured many hearts during her 2+-year stay in the neighborhood, and while the entire community came together to help care for her, Lucia had touched the life of one man in particular named Stephen, who was a primary caretaker (he even built a house for her, complete with a heated floor mat). Stephen had become very attached to this little girl and named her “Manechan” (Stephen later said he named this feisty cat Manechan after a feisty, Thai princess…so her full name, Stephen told us, is Lucia Manechan!).
Susan shared with Stephen the possible story behind this stray and put him in touch with Tammi at the SPCA.
Jump ahead to this week…the one-eyed stray Stephen and others in the neighborhood had been caring for was finally safely secured with no trap needed, and arrangements were made for Susan to bring the kitty to the SPCA to be scanned for a microchip.
The big scan happened yesterday, and it was finally confirmed: the beautiful, one-eyed stray is, in fact, Lucia! There were plenty of tears of joy at the SPCA and CBAS over this exciting news! Thanks to Stephen, Susan, and the other amazing, caring community members in the neighborhood unable to keep Lucia, yet dedicated to looking out for her wellbeing, Lucia is alive, safe, and unharmed more than two years after her escape!
Today, Lucia is, understandably, a little stressed, and we’re giving her time to relax and unwind after her adventures. At the time of this writing, SPCA representatives have contacted CBAS representatives to determine what happens next in little Lucia’s story!
The compassionate teams at the CBAS and SPCA, combined with a Buffalo neighborhood full of caring individuals including Stephen and Susan, exemplify an entire community coming together to care for the lives of its animals.
Keep watching this page and YourSPCA.org for updates on Lucia!
January 7, 2020:
And not only this…he loves SPCA dogs too! Thanks, Stephen and Lindsey, for this year’s YourSPCA.org/Hauschpups program! From BuffaloNews.com:
“Hausch Money Returns: Clutch Field Goal Capped Big Finish for Bills Kicker”
For Bills veteran kicker Stephen Hauschka and his wife Lindsey, staying in Buffalo means that they have more time to make an impact. Not only has Hauschka worked tirelessly on perfecting his craft this offseason, he and Lindsey have also worked to find a way to give back to those in the area. Throughout the 2019-20 football season, the Hauschkas are teaming up with the SPCA Serving Erie County to help the good boys and girls at the Western New York center find their forever home through the new “Hauschpups” program. For each field goal that the special teamer makes during games at New Era Field, he and Lindsey will pay the adoption fee for a dog at the center.
A cause that’s near and dear to them, the Hauschkas, who have two dogs of their own, couldn’t think of a better way to make a difference.
“With Lindsey’s involvement in the SPCA, she’s been volunteering there for a little while, and we’ve been involved with [the] Seattle Humane Society too, so it’s kind of a continuation of something that’s true to our hearts,” explained Stephen. “[It’s] a cause that we care a lot about [and] that’s animals. We have two dogs ourselves and love them so much. You know, I think every time Lindsey comes home from the SPCA, walking the dogs there, she just feels bad for some of these dogs that don’t get a home. They have good living conditions there, but it’s not the same as having a loving family to go back to. These are great dogs too and she shows me pictures of them and asks me if we can adopt them.
“With our lifestyle and a bunch of travel, we can’t have more than two, but that’s really where the involvement came from…”
Lindsey, who spends time walking dogs from the SPCA Serving Erie County when she’s in town, has developed a true connection with the caring staff and lovable animals she interacts with. Wanting to expand on her efforts, she drew upon her experiences volunteering to form the idea for “Hauschpups.”
“It kind of dawned on me,” said Lindsey about the program. “It was right around when Steve signed his new contract. I’m like, alright, this is awesome. This seems like a really good opportunity to get involved in the community and also do something that we’re super passionate about, which is helping animals and [to] support the people who work so hard to help the animals at the SPCA.
“Something that kind of stuck with my through volunteering, is that sometimes volunteers will pay the adoption fees themselves just if there’s a dog they really love – if they can’t take them home and that’s awesome,” she said. “Of course, there are other financial responsibilities that come from getting a dog…but if we can help in some way [to] have a family get a dog that maybe they wouldn’t be able to afford that day…[is special because] the dogs come and go really quickly…”