The Race to Save King Kong

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My name is Jacque Harter and I am the Lead Veterinarian at Oregon Humane Society’s Salem campus, formerly Willamette Humane Society. As you may know, we merged our two organizations into one unified OHS in July 2022 so that together, we could expand our ability to save animals in Oregon. But even before we became one organization, we saw the profound impact we could have by working together to save the lives of animals. This impact became especially clear when we saved a special kitty named King Kong.

Left at the doorstep of the Salem shelter, King Kong was found with a desperate note attached to his carrier with a plea to save his life. He had a life-threatening blockage and needed urgent medical intervention. The note read: “I haven’t peed in 24 hours, I need help but my parents couldn’t afford my vet bills. Please save me, I’m such a good kitty. Please save me!” As heartbreaking as it must have been for this family to surrender their beloved pet, we knew that we needed to get to work right away to make sure that King Kong would survive.

King Kong the cat posing for the camera


OHS veterinarian Dr. Steffie Hornback was in Salem that day assisting the medical team when King Kong arrived. He was diagnosed with Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC), which can cause a blockage of the urinary tract and, if left untreated, can be painful and fatal in less than 24 hours. The onset of the disease can be sudden and unpredictable, often requiring medical intervention. While FIC is relatively common among companion cats, particularly in males, treatment and management of the disease can be expensive since FIC can recur multiples times over the lifetime of the cat. Thanks to donors, we had the medical expertise and resources needed to perform this emergency surgery and save King Kong’s life.

The day after King Kong’s surgery, a dedicated volunteer drove him up to Portland for further observation and recovery. He spent a few weeks in the love and care of medical staff, getting all the cheek and chin scratches he could wish for. Because of the generous support of donors, King Kong had everything he needed to recover from surgery and get ready for adoption day.

When King Kong was adopted, we rejoiced across both campuses! King Kong and his adopter are perfect for each other, and they were ready and prepared to provide support for his special needs along with all their love.

It’s cases like King Kong’s that demonstrate how much stronger we are together and how much more we can do. King Kong is just one of many animals who have benefited from the strong partnership between WHS and OHS, now made even stronger as one unified Oregon Humane Society, saving and caring for the animals of Oregon.

As we move forward into the future, we are eager and prepared to offer more resources and save more animals in our state. Will you join us and make a gift today to support this lifesaving work? Oregon’s animals are counting on you. It’s you who make incredible stories like King Kong’s possible. Thank you for joining us in creating a More Humane Society.


Jacqueline Harter, DVM, DABVP (Shelter Medicine Practice)

Lead Veterinarian, OHS Salem Campus

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