The Story of Harvey

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A reminder of the incredible power of pets to bring us together and help us heal

Over the last month, Oregon Humane Society has made many changes to operations in response to the global pandemic. As adoptions continue, we’ve taken extensive precautions to keep the public and our staff safe. However, we knew there were animals who needed to be saved and families who needed companions.

And then there was Harvey.

Lyndsey, during the 2018 Camp Fire

Harvey doesn’t have a computer or access to internet. So, when Harvey called the shelter looking to adopt a cat, he found a sympathetic ear with OHS team member, Lyndsey Asparro. Lyndsey helped reunite people with their pets during the 2018 Camp Fire in California and has a special gift for connecting with people. She sensed that Harvey was struggling. He became emotional and explained that he really needed a buddy after going through a period of heartbreaking loss.

Harvey’s wife of 45 years had recently passed away. His beloved cat Suzie Q helped him cope with his grief, but a short time later, she was also diagnosed with cancer and died. The depths of Harvey’s loss were extraordinary and painful.

Then, the stay-at-home order due to the pandemic left Harvey isolated and unable to sleep.

He turned to OHS for help. Lyndsey spoke with her colleagues in Admissions and identified a cat who would be a great fit for Harvey – a happy, affectionate young female cat named Genesis. However, Genesis had a slight limp so she would need to be checked out by the medical team to make sure she was okay. Lyndsey alerted OHS veterinarian Dr. Kandace Henry, who examined Genesis right away. Luckily, Genesis was fine.

Lyndsey called Harvey to tell him that she’d found the perfect cat for him. He was ecstatic and immediately made an appointment to come meet the sweet feline.

Harvey arrived 15 minutes early for his appointment, eager to meet his new best friend. Genesis was a bit fussy at first during the meeting, but quickly began purring and melted into Harvey’s arms. He assured her that “he’s got her and would never let her fall.” The pair went home to begin their new life together, and Harvey renamed her Suzie Q 2.

Lyndsey called Harvey later that day to check in. He was emotional as he expressed his deep gratitude. “Thank you again. You don’t know what you’ve done for me. I should be able to get some sleep tonight,” he said. Lyndsey asked Harvey if she could call to check on him again and he said, “Darn right you can! I look forward to those calls.” Now, she checks on him each week.

This extraordinary story is a great reminder that pets have the incredible power to bring us together and help us heal. Thank you for your support to make these moments of healing and joy possible.

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22 Responses to “The Story of Harvey”

  1. Lisa

    This story just melted me. Thank you for sharing, thank you Lyndsey, thank you Harvey for taking in your new family member. It really is so much easier to sleep at night when you have a warm furry companion to warm your feet (or your face). Sending all the love! <3

  2. Kathy Sue

    Thank you Harvey for sharing your story and opening your heart and your home to your new fur baby. Susie Q 2 looks like an absolute sweetheart. Thank you Lyndsey for your extraordinary love and dedication to what you do. It is stories like these that make OHS a standout organization.

  3. Regina

    Such a beautiful story. Animals help us in so many ways! Keep it up OHS!

  4. Traci

    Thank you so much for that heart warming story. I really needed it today.

  5. Glenn

    Harvey seems like a cool dude. Suzie Q 2 found a good one.

  6. Nancu

    A good friend of mine reminded me that our pets depend on us for their emotional and physical well-being. We must take care to not jeopardize our health as our pets depend on us in so many ways.

  7. Jane

    Thank you for sharing Harvey’s story and for everything you do to help animals and people.

  8. R

    Anyone else sobbing like a baby after reading this story? So beautiful!

  9. Jennifer

    Your story finally let me cry some of my grief. My mother died the day after Christmas, it was sudden, and then the pandemic. The ONLY companion I have is my tuxedo cat, Angel. Now this night mare is continuing as I am high risk, need someone to shop for me but can’t get anyone; had to deal with Easter without my mother and now my birthday coming up May 2. I feel so forgotten and if it wasn’t for Angel, I don’t know what I’d do.

  10. Gregory

    A happy, kind story. It is what I like to think about: the goodness we have and not the bad, which can so easily take over. Keep up the goodness, OHS.

  11. Gaylene

    @Jennifer: I’m sorry for the loss of your mother. Mine died one year ago tomorrow, and my best friend’s was murdered one week before Christmas. I deal with our losses better than my friend, because my mother was elderly. Hers was taken at 72. I’m high risk with a kidney transplant, but still working. Aside from all that, I wanted to wish you a happy early birthday next month and I’m sorry you feel forgotten. Thank you for reaching out, so that I could say “hello” and wish you a happy day. We all just have to hang in there, but I wish I could help you out with shopping. If you have access to the website Next Door, reach out! People are willing to help! You and Angel take care. <3

  12. Candy

    A big shout out to Lindsey and OHS. It is a special “super power” to be able to find the right home for the right pet. This certainly looks like a win-win. Go Harvey and Susie Q 2!!!!! This is why we love and support OHS!

  13. Chris Bolesky

    THIS is EVERYTHING! Lyndsey is a Customer Care All-Star. Thank you for this beautiful sign of hope during this crazy, uncertain time. One thing is certain – LOVE and KINDNESS is EVERYTHING!

  14. Gema

    Oh, wow! Thank you SO MUCH for this. Lyndsey is a rock star! I’m rooting for Harvey and Suzy Q2. Thank you for being a matchmaker.

  15. Aunt Tina

    Awesome! You are so special Lyndsey! Such love you give to everyone!

  16. Nicole Piehl

    Thank you Harvey for reaching out and Lyndsey for responding with the perfect furrbaby and her love! Thank you OHS for all that you do and for sharing this beautiful story! And a special shout out for Jennifer and Angel, hang in there, you are not forgotten and Angel loves and needs you : )

  17. Melaura Wittemyer

    Not sure how I’d be holding up without my high maintenance orange tabby and very sweet baby brown tabby. Thank you OHS for being a part of the second chance program.

  18. Stacie

    I am constantly impressed with OHS and their compassion for both animals AND people! This story of Harvey and Suzy Q2 illustrates that we all need a little help and furry companionship 🙂

  19. Jeanne F Patterson

    Such a heart touching story. These 2 souls need each other. A real personal touch and follow through from Lyndsey made their day.

  20. Judy Ortiz

    Crying right now. What a sweet story and amazing job Lyndsey!

  21. Lori DiPaola

    So heartwarming to see Harvey and sweet Suzie-Q2…. you are all such blessings… and may literally have saved Harvey . Bless you all

  22. Renee Holce

    My Husband and I had adopted a kitten from the OHS 6 months ago that was from the California fires. We named her Hope. She has some breathing problems, but other than that is is thriving and growing. Thank you OHS!!!!!!

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