Vegas-bound kitty lost, found again

Kennel technician Hollie Poma of Mesa County Animal Services looks after Lilly, a cat who was separated from her owner while she was passing through Colorado.

For Chandra Bray, Grand Junction was just one stop of many on her cross-country move from Kearney, Neb., to Las Vegas. For her cat, Lilly, it became a temporary home after Lilly disappeared June 30 from Bray’s room at Motel 6, forcing Bray and her family to continue on without Lilly after hours of fruitless searching.

They did, however, leave contact information with motel staff in case Lilly was found.

“I figured that was the last of her,” Bray said. “I was so heartbroken because she’s such a sweet cat.”

Bray, who adopted Lilly from the Humane Society in 2007, said having Lilly has helped her get through many rough patches in her life.

“I just put my trust in God ... I thought, if (God) wants her in my life, she’s going to find her way back.”

Lilly was found by Motel 6 staff July 5, and Bray, now hundreds of miles away, called Mesa County Animal Services for help housing Lilly until she could be brought home.

Animal Services put Bray in contact with rescue coordinator Cindy Haerle, who was willing to join in efforts to reunite Lilly and her owner.

“It’s kind of rare that somebody loses a cat and then the cat gets found. How could we not help (Bray) get her kitty back?” Haerle said.

“Whenever we can reunite a pet and its owner, (Animal Services) wants to do that and will go the extra mile to make sure that happens.”

In Lilly’s case, the extra mile was a plane ride to Las Vegas on Allegiant, and when it turned out that the airline required Lilly to have a human companion, fellow traveler and cat-enthusiast Pam Seewald volunteered for the job.

Seewald, who was traveling to Las Vegas to visit family, heard about Lilly’s predicament through friend and animal-rescue volunteer Betty Fulton. Fulton contacted Seewald about taking Lilly, and Seewald agreed to help in the cat’s journey home.

“She volunteered immediately and was happy to do it. She’s been just great,” Fulton said.

Bray said she’s grateful for every person who played a role in Lilly’s rescue and return.

“It’s been a huge blessing. The people from the shelter have been so helpful and kind and supportive,” Bray said. “I have a huge team helping me. Otherwise, I don’t know how I would do this.”

Lilly and Fulton flew to Las Vegas from Grand Junction Regional Airport on Monday night, and Lilly and Bray will soon be reunited.

“I’m just going to ... cuddle her and tell her, ‘Don’t ever do that to me again,’ all the typical things mothers say to their children when they run away.”


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