A New Jersey animal control officer responded to a call on Independence Day in 2015 that would change his family’s life forever.
A sweet ginger cat in horrible condition had been abandoned by his owners on the side of the road.
The animal control officer was initially going to take the cat to their local animal shelter.
However, everything changed when they met face-to-face…
Assessing The Damage
When the animal control officer, George Gareis, saw the cat for the first time, he was shocked.
It became clear to George that the poor cat, later named Bruiser, had been suffering for far too long.
Bruiser needed more loving environment than the shelter after all he’d been through.
George brought Bruiser home where he and his wife, Barbara, could take a better look at their new guest.
It was obvious that Bruiser was in poor shape, but there was so much more going on below the surface.
“It was pretty obvious that he had been neglected and possibly even abused. He had mutilated ears and one really bad eye,” Barbara shared with Tail Talez.
George and Barbara were determined to get Bruiser the help he desperately needed.
The couple took him to a vet as soon as they possibly could.
It was there that they realized how unfair life had been to poor Bruiser…
The Truth Revealed
“The vet found that he was probably seven or eight years old at that time, had never been neutered, and had a severe infection in his ears and mouth,” Barbara shared.
They learned that Bruiser was missing some teeth and his bad eye was deemed “dead”.
Luckily, there was still hope for the orange tabby!
The vet put Bruiser on some heavy-duty antibiotics for his infections.
They also recommended surgery for both of his eyes.
“The dead eye needed to be removed and sewn up, and then his other eye had entropion, where the eyelashes were curled in and were scratching his cornea, causing a lot of irritation,” Barbara said.
There was just one problem: the estimate for Bruiser’s surgery would cost thousands of dollars.
They would need help to afford Bruiser’s surgery expenses.
Barbara and her husband set up a fundraiser, hoping kind-hearted individuals would help contribute to Bruiser’s life-saving surgeries.
Fortunately, their fundraising efforts were well-received!
“We were able to raise $2500 in a couple of days, and he was able to get that surgery and the medication to clear everything up,” Barbara shared.
After his operation and treatment, Bruiser’s recovery was still tough to say the least.
They discovered that he was diabetic and FIV-positive, meaning they had to take extra special precautions.
Despite the difficult journey, sweet Bruiser powered through everything and took it like a champ.
This little ginger cat is quite the trooper!
When Bruiser was finally back on his feet, Barbara was excited to see him coming out of his shell.
“[At first], he was definitely scared…he would hide in the back of his crate,” Barbara recalled.
But after the worst was over, he realized that he was safe and in good hands.
He started warming up to his foster family and got along very well with the couple’s other cats.
“He would let us pet him and became extremely trusting. He became very friendly with the other cats. They became really attached to each other and would play together,” Barbara shared.
From there, it didn’t take long for Barbara and her family to fall in love with Bruiser.
It was then that they made one of the best decisions of their lives.
At first, Barbara and her family planned on only fostering Bruiser until he was healthy enough to be adopted.
They had enough resident pets and didn’t think they were prepared take care of Bruiser’s long-term special needs.
“I was putting some feelers out there, checking with some of my contacts to see if anyone was able to take him in and give him a loving home,” Barbara shared.
They kept searching for a new home for Bruiser, but in the end, they couldn’t imagine life without him.
“He became extremely attached to us, and at that point, we just decided there was no way we could let go of him, so we ended up keeping him ourselves,” Barbara shared.
Bruiser couldn’t be happier with their decision, grateful to finally have a forever family he could call his own.
Happily Ever After
It has been over six years since Bruiser joined Barbara’s family.
While he is still experiencing several health issues, he doesn’t let that get him down.
“He’s a very funny cat, he has quite a personality. He likes to climb into the refrigerator and see what’s in there that he can get into,” Barbara shared.
Bruiser is also very cooperative when it comes to his treatments and never gives his humans a hard time.
“He’s on quite a few meds, but he is really a good guy when it comes to giving him his meds. He’s a good sport about all of that,” Barbara said.
Now Bruiser will never have to worry about being abandoned or hurt ever again!
Barbara and her family have taught him the true meaning of unconditional love.
Bruiser’s journey is one that teaches us that all animals, no matter what they have been through, deserve a second chance.
Bruiser is so grateful Barbara and her family saved him. Thanks to them, he’s thriving!
Follow Bruiser on Instagram to keep up with his latest adventures.
If you’d like to support Barb and George as they care for Bruiser’s long-term special needs, click here.
Bruiser even has a children’s book!
“This true story about Bruiser’s rescue will warm the hearts of readers young and old,” says Barbara on Bruiser’s website.
The inspiring book is packed with adorable illustrations following Bruiser’s journey, a perfect way to spark compassion for rescue animals much like Bruiser.
Proceeds from this book will support Bruiser and other pets with special needs.