Willy Update – Still Sick & Needs Surgery ASAP And How In Our Hands Rescue Of NY Makes Me Doubt Everything

by Valerie, Mom Knows It All

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I was so touched by some of the comments, messages and tweets that I received about Willy that I thought I would give you all an update. If you didn’t read the previous post, you can read bout Willy’s first medical update and our terrible experience with In Our Hands Rescue of NY here.

Willy just finished a course of antibiotics. He’s also been getting an immune system booster for the last couple of weeks.The immune system booster has been pretty easy to give. I just sprinkle a scoop onto his can of wet food and mix it in. He eats the food and in goes the booster. The antibiotics were far more challenging. He didn’t like them at all. These antibiotics had to be given orally. Willy didn’t like them for a number of reasons. I’d guess the biggest reason he didn’t like them is because I had to hold his face to administer it. It was no surprise that Willy resisted, so I took to wrapping his paws in a blanket so I wouldn’t get scratched.  We finally finished the antibiotics early last week, something for which he and I were both grateful for. Hoping for the best, I took him in to see the vet for a recheck.


The first thing the vet did was weigh Willy. He had managed to put on a little bit of weight since the last visit, which I am guessing is somehow a result of the immune system booster since we haven’t changed the volume of his food at all. At under 8 pounds he had been a lightweight (in my opinion), so I was glad to see he was finally over 8 pounds. That was pretty much all of the good news I got.

Don’t get me wrong. The antibiotics had worked. They just aren’t enough to fight off the infection and mess that he’s got going on. Think of it as applying a bandaid to an amputation. It may help a little but it will not get the job done. The vet told me that the only way we are going to get to the root of the problem will be to do the oral surgery. Continuing to medicate won’t cure the problem. The only way to really take care of the problem is to do the oral surgery and remove everything on one side of Willy’s mouth. Now I did basically already know this so I thought that would be the only bad news. It wasn’t.

Willy has been having issues that cause abnormal breathing, wheezing and coughing. He sometimes sounds just like a baby who has croup. So, before going to the vet I made sure I was able to get all of it on video. First I showed the vet the video containing the wheezing sound. Then the next sound. And finally, I showed him the video with the croup sound. When Willy makes this croup sound he looks like he might have a hairball. But, nothing ever comes out. When the vet saw this on the video he said something that I hadn’t even thought of. The vet said when Willy had his oral surgery, he’d also like to take a look at Willy’s windpipe while he was under in order to get to the bottom of the croup-sounding cough as there might be a problem there. It’s a known fact that Willy received trauma to the jaw. The throat is in such close proximity to the mouth. You can do the rest of the math from there. I did and I just cried.

Take a listen to just some of the noises I hear every day.

I hear those noises every day. They are the noises of illness. They are the sounds of Willy’s infection and injury caused by trauma. Infection that cannot get out of Willy’s body on its own. I cry for this cat every day. It’s heartbreaking knowing someone could hurt an animal and cause trauma like he has. It’s disappointing, disconcerting and shameful that a rescue would let someone adopt this cat without having a vet check it and without disclosing the health issues and then refuse to help with the medical care for what is clearly a preexisting condition.

The vet’s office (Brick Veterinary Hospital) has been absolutely wonderful. I cannot say enough positive things about them. They have been super kind and compassionate, as well as patient while we try to deal with this awful situation. The vet had wanted to do surgery right away and scheduled it for tomorrow. The vet hasn’t able to estimate what the surgery is going to cost. This is understandable since they won’t know for sure what needs to be done until they get into his mouth. They were able to say that simple oral surgery starts at $400, but this isn’t simple and there may be more going on. The office I suggested applying for a $2,000 line of emergency credit, which I did and it was denied. As I mentioned in my previous post, we did get pet insurance as we adopted Willy. I chose to sign up with Figo because it looked like they offered a valuable service at a fair price. Unfortunately, treatments so far have been denied due to the illness and injuries resulting from a preexisting condition. I’m looking into canceling the policy, in order to save the money to pay for the treatments that haven’t been covered. In the end we simply cannot afford the surgery and I have had to postpone it to a yet undetermined date.

It is breaking my heart knowing that this cat needs medical care and we can’t give it to him in as timely of a fashion as he deserves. I hate that my beautiful cat is in pain and has to have painkillers. I want the rescue to stand up and do the right thing now. As I mentioned in my last update, In Our Hands refused to accept responsibility or even help.  This rescue has caused me to question everything and I hate that feeling as much as I hate watching my baby boy be sick.

Willy Petfinder pic

Above is the picture of Willy as it appeared on the Petfinder website. In Our Hands rescue said this animal was rescued from Cairo, Egypt. I was under the impression that the cat I was rescuing was well. The vet confirmed yet again for me that it is impossible for the trauma that Willy has to have happened recently. And anyone, with a trained eye like a vet or an untrained eye like me, can see that there is a problem. I don’t believe that any vet ever checked Willy out before he came here to the US. I don’t care that the paper I have says he got shots in April. Every vet always opens a cats mouth before doing almost anything else. I did try emailing the Esyptian Society For Mercy To Animals  in Cairo where Willy supposedly came from (their name is in the vet’s paper that I was given). My email asked about his background and time there but they did not reply. Furthermore, I know the rescue didn’t have a vet check Willy out when they brought him here because they admitted that to me.

All of this brought something else to mind. I coordinated with the foster person the day I picked Willy up. I drove quite a distance into Brooklyn to get him. I arrived 5 minutes early. Upon being greeted at the door I was told someone else was also coming to look at Willy and whoever got there or said they wanted him first would get him. Would a considerate and ethical person would let someone drive all that way and knowingly schedule someone else to come at the same time? No. I was there for a good half hour. Noone else ever came. In retrospect, I think they wanted me to think someone else was coming so I would decide right then. I don’t think there ever was a second person coming to look at Willy. I think they had a good inkling that something was wrong and they just wanted him adopted as soon as possible.

I thought rescuing an animal would be a good thing. I also thought rescues were honorable and do what they do for love of animals. I know believe there are rescues such as In Our Hands Rescue of NY that are in this more for the money than the philanthropy. I thought rescues were obligated to be truthful and provide full disclosure, meaning if they don’t state an animal is sick that the animal should be in reasonably good health. I thought rescues were ethical but In Our Hands Rescue proved me wrong.

I have been researching online and found many other people with complaints about In Our Hands Rescue. On the Great Nonprofits site almost half of the In Our Hands Rescue reviews were negative. To me that says a lot.  There are numerous positive and negative In Our Hands Rescue reviews on Yelp as well. To that end I am planning on checking into the state laws concerning rescue animals and rescue organizations. In Our Hands is a 501c3 according to their website. I’d like to know who oversees their rescue and adoption practices and reach out to them. And I would also like the story to make its way to the media. This rescue need to be held accountable. I may not be able to get the rescue to help me cover Willy’s medical expenses financially, which only hurts Willy and my family. But if I can let the world know they need to be alert and avoid horrible and shameful experiences like this then I can, should and will.

Read the next post, which includes a Public Response To In Our Hands Rescue Of NY, published 06/21/17.


Robin rue June 13, 2017 - 5:58 pm

I am so sorry that you’re having this experience and that poor Willy is so sick. Maybe you should start a go fund me to try to raise money for his surgery?

Catherine Sargent June 13, 2017 - 6:08 pm

I hope everything works out and Willy gets to feeling better. It us good that you are getting the word out about the rescue.

Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle June 13, 2017 - 6:28 pm

That is so horrible! It’s such a kick in the gut when you try to do something good and it backfires like that. I hop you’re able to get him the surgery he needs, and I will most definitely warn people away from this rescue.

Mitch June 13, 2017 - 6:52 pm

So sorry to hear this! I stupidly assumed people and agencies did rescues because they want to help. So sorry!

Meagan June 13, 2017 - 7:47 pm

I am so sorry he is not well. I hope that you can get him the help he needs to feel better.

Kelly Hutchinson June 13, 2017 - 9:32 pm

I am so sorry to hear about this situation with Willy. My sister actually has pet insurance and it has been a lifesaver. She has a cat with hip issues and has had to have two surgeries. It would have cost a fortune had she not had the insurance, as both surgeries were well over $1,500 each.

Pam June 13, 2017 - 10:23 pm

Poor Willy sounds so rough. I a, sorry that you and your family are going through this, it isn’t fair and the rescue should be ashamed of themselves.

Lisa Favre June 13, 2017 - 10:43 pm

Very heartbreaking to see your cat, Willy go through this. Really seems like he’s going through a lot. I have never had a cat as a pet before, but this must be so hard on you – sending you lots of positive energy your way!

Annemarie LeBlanc June 14, 2017 - 4:17 am

I am so sorry to hear about your cat. I wish something could be done to alleviate him of his illness. I agree with Robin. Maybe you can start a Go Fund Me campaign for Willy. There are so many people with compassionate hearts out there willing to help. Then do what you can about the In Our Hands Rescue facility. That should be really looked into.

Sarah Bailey June 14, 2017 - 8:06 am

Oh my goodness this is so heartbreaking 🙁 I really hope you find a way to raise the money for the help he is needed, sending lots of positive vibes.

Tracey June 14, 2017 - 10:17 am

This is truly heartbreaking. Pets are family and it is so hard watching them suffer. Thank you for the update and please keep us all posted!

Jennifer June 14, 2017 - 11:24 am

Iohr has offered to take Willy back and get him the care he needs we have been refused

This cat did come from Cairo Egypt where he was seen by a vet and this cat a male was even altered given shots and more so a VeT had to see him in order for all the his to have been done I can not say for sure when these injuries happened
What we can say is no animal entering the USA can without vet papers …

Valerie has been extremely hard to work with an currently denying the cats return to iohr where he will receive the medical care he needs however will allow the cat to suffer and post dramatic images and updates to what gain??
When he would have already been taken care of

We are a rescue contract is clear we can not guarantee health of any animal and we go by what the veterinary paperwork says
When an issue arises we do the best we can
But we can not in this case while the cat is still in the care

We have offered a refund for the adoption donation (which barely covered the flight from Egypt) much was medical and to test the cat
At this point. Our hands are tied and Willy is suffering to no fault of ours

Said note : the Middle East is horrendous when it comes to animal cruelty and care they have no laws governing the treatement of animals or protection they are routinely poisons in the streets by the government and beating murdered abused by the public
Any animal we can get out of their will have suffered greatest and thus was told to anyone who adopts an Egyptian reacue
To what extent we sometimes find our later

Our offer to take Willy back still stands until then we hope he gets the care he needs

Toni | Boulder Locavore June 14, 2017 - 12:25 pm

I am so sorry that he is not feeling well. I hope he could feel better soon.

Theresa June 14, 2017 - 12:47 pm

That is just heartbreaking! I think it’s horrible when you adopt from what you think is a reputable rescue and you find yourself in this situation. I had a similar experience with horrendous vet bills after we brought our pug home from a rescue. Bad ones like that tarnish the reputation of all, which is such a shame. I am actually leery of going through a rescue again 🙁

pat.navymom June 14, 2017 - 12:53 pm

Too many groups use their status and services for their not there public good. Exposing eacch and every instance is the only way that it can improve. Keep going. Squeakly wheels open doors as they increase awareness.

Seattle Travel Blogger June 14, 2017 - 1:02 pm

Wow, Willy sounds very afflicted! It was a sad shame to see him in that video.
His wheezing sounds like pneumonia.

Colleen June 14, 2017 - 3:40 pm

I’m so sorry for everything you and poor Willy are experiencing. I hope that you’re able to get your story into the main stream media and get to the bottom of the practices of the rescue service. We were so fortunate when adopting our cats through Cause for Paws. They are an amazing rescue organizations. It’s so sad that people who say they love and care for animals would treat them so terribly.

Our Family World June 14, 2017 - 4:08 pm

Poor kitty! It hurts me to see him suffer like that from an illness. I hope you can find the means to get his treatment and for that rescue facility to be more responsible!

Jacqui Odell June 14, 2017 - 5:42 pm

I am so sorry to hear that he is sick! I hope everything will work out.

Chrystal | Nevermore Lane June 14, 2017 - 6:42 pm

I am sorry that Willy is sick and that it has been such a battle with the rescue organization. There are always pros and cons to adopting a bet no matter what rescue you choose. I hope you can get Willy the care he needs in a timely fashion. Best of luck.

Louise Bishop June 14, 2017 - 8:35 pm

Awe the poor kitty. Hang in there. I have some friends going through the same thing. =[

Sheena Tatum June 14, 2017 - 8:58 pm

I have some friends who saved 4 kittens last year. They’re very active in rescue. They tamed them and eventually found them all homes except one they decided to keep. The kitten just recently turned one and they found out he has a super rare bone disease and they are having to pay out a lot to fix him. It can definitely be overwhelming when dealing with rescue animals but it’s so worth it in the end. So glad this poor baby has someone like you to look over him.

Adrianne Betz June 14, 2017 - 8:59 pm

Adopting a rescue animal can be so rewarding but scary at the same time. You would think a rescue would care more but often they start to become callous. Praying for poor little Willy!

Shannon Gurnee June 14, 2017 - 9:13 pm

That’s so heartbreaking. Our pets are family members too. I hope he gets better soon.

Crystal June 15, 2017 - 12:49 am

Poor thing! It does sound like a hairball, but squeaky. My mom adopted a cat for her twin to cheer her up. It died the next day! Things happen I get that. But her cat was obviously not well either.

Amanda Love June 15, 2017 - 3:59 am

This breaks my heart as well. We have two cats and I can only imagine how it feels if one of them were to be terribly sick. I don’t think that rescue knows how this all works. If they truly cared about animals they should be able to help Willy out.

Reuven August 8, 2018 - 1:59 pm

I am so sorry to hear about your experience, Valerie. I also had an awful experience with this organization, and have met other victims, including a couple who adopted an aggressive dog that IOHR recommended they put down as a first measure. I’ve felt tremendous guilt about returning my dog to them after he charged a stroller, but was promised and subsequently lied to about a refund. In light of what I’ve learned, I have always had nightmares that they put down my dog too. It’s great that you’ve gone through so much to get Willy up to health, and I admire your courage for not cowering to her threats for “deforming” her rescue.


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