The Story of Harvey

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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