This love story began six years ago at the Union County Animal Protection Society in El Dorado, when nursing student Rachael Osbon was introduced to a cuddly charmer. It was pawsitively love at first snuggle for Rachael and Torty the cat (formerly Funyon).
While she adopted Torty — sometimes called “Tortilla Chip, Tortuga, Tortellini, whatever comes out!” — Rachael says it is he who has saved her.
“I thought I was having anxiety from school, but my heart would take off racing, like 200, 230 beats per minute. I’d get lightheaded, and I would be so scared,” says Rachael, now a nurse in West Monroe, Louisiana. “He would come up, and I call it ‘making biscuits.’ He would knead on my neck. It ended up calming me down.”
In her studies, she learned about supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and diagnosed herself to the doctor: “‘I really think this is what I have, and my cat can fix it.’ They looked at me like I was nuts.” She was correct on the diagnosis, which led to surgery. Rachael is in great health today, still Torty provides healing massages when needed.
She says, “Whenever I get overwhelmed or he just wants to show me some extra love, he’ll come up and make some biscuits on me.”
To show Torty — and his former home — some love, Rachael entered him in the Petco Love Stories contest. Her entry (petcolove.org/love-story/torty) recently was selected as a finalist, winning $1,000 for the Union County Animal Protection Society.
Shelter Manager Tanja Jackson, who remembers introducing Rachael and Torty, says, “My heart was overjoyed” about the prize that will make a difference for other animals. “The $1,000, we can make it stretch — let me tell you!”
Anyone else looking for a Torty — or a Gritz, Karma, Habañero or Tweety Pie — to cherish can visit ucapsshelter.org.
We hope you’ll find lots to love in this issue, with a feature on Romance, Arkansas, a profile of Charolette Tidwell, an Arkansan who is all heart and a rosy primer on Valentine’s Day flowers by Janet Carson.
Wishing you a sweet February,
Jennifer Christman Cia