13-year-old cat reunites with former owner – NBC Los Angeles
A 13-year-old cat whose owner recently died in Riverside was due to be reunited with its former owner on Thursday, with help from the Riverside County Department of Animal Services and others.
Toby, a short-haired domestic feline, was impounded by animal control officers in late October after his owner, Kirk Copeland, died of natural causes in his apartment in downtown Riverside, according to the Department. of Animal Services.
Agency spokesperson John Welsh said that within a day of Toby’s care, his former caretaker, Amber Jennings, contacted officials at the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in the Valley of Jurupa to claim it.
She explained that the cat was hers before she gave it to her uncle, Copeland, who needed a companion.
“My uncle ended up moving to California and I moved to Oklahoma,” Jennings said. “It was the perfect solution for Toby.”
She felt like her uncle wouldn’t be “at rest” unless Toby returned to her care.
“Toby meant so much to him,” Jennings said. “Toby has also taken me through a lot of ups and downs in life, and it’s just the perfect happy ending – or a fresh start – for us to have him home again.”
With the help of Southwest Airlines and the non-profit Animal Solutions Konnection (ASK) foundation, tickets and a transport cage for Toby were organized free of charge, as well as a free round-trip plane ticket for the children. Welsh – who, in the spirit of the season, volunteered to bring the cat back to Oklahoma for the reunion with Jennings.
“I pay for my hotel and my food,” he told City News Service. “I started my shift early (Thursday) so I’m basically on my own doing it. “
Welsh will travel to Oklahoma City, where Jennings picks up Toby and returns him to her home in Duncan, about 90 miles south.
“These are heartwarming stories that we love to hear about and that we love to participate in,” said ASK Foundation President Carolyn Badger. “We wish Toby a safe journey.”
Welsh said the Southwest Airlines flight he and Toby were scheduled to take on board will reach Oklahoma City around midnight.