Cranky Shelter Cat Charms Special Needs Boy

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Zach helped Miss CheckMeowt come out of her shell at
Zach and Miss CheckMeowt found one another through Lollypop Farm’s Book Buddies program. (All photos: Lollypop Farm)

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When 11-year old Miss CheckMeowt came to Lollypop Farm, she wasn’t, as Kim Ferris-Church, Humane Education Manager at the shelter told the Democrat & Chronicle, “She wasn’t the most warm, welcoming cat,” according to the Democrat & Chronicle. Little wonder, as she wound up at the shelter when her person had to move into an assisted living facility.

Lollypop Farm, located in Rochester, NY, has a beautiful mission that states:

Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, is committed to building lifelong bonds between

people and animals through education, community outreach programs, and the prevention of cruelty.

One of the programs within their education curriculum is called Book Buddies.  Children from ages 6-12 practice their reading skills with the Book Buddies cats. The cats, in turn, benefit from the socialization and comfort the kids provide, readying them for forever homes.  Sadly, Miss CheckMeowt and her poor attitude left her out of the program.

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Zach and Miss CheckMeowt bonding over reading.

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Enter 8-year-old Zach Michael.  Diagnosed with ADHD and other special needs, Zach met Miss CheckMeowt during a Lollypop Farm’s February school break camp.  The two got along famously.  So much so, that Nick Lapresi, Animal Care Supervisor, changed his mind about the sour puss, and made her a Book Buddies cat so she could be partnered specifically with Zach. Zach not only was able to work on his reading, with each story time, Miss CheckMeowt came out of her shell more and more.  It seemed like a match that was meant to be.

“Animals just seem to bring out this very calm side of him – this very calm, loving side no matter how upset he is,” says Zach’s mom, Renee. His parents had thought about getting him a therapy animal, but an 11-year-old cat had not been on their radar.  However, Zach repeated the same phrase after each reading session. “It would be great if we could bring Miss CheckMeowt home, but I know we can’t.”

But here’s where the story gets really good.  The bond between the two was so strong Zach’s folks decided to make arrangements to adopt Miss CheckMeowt. Under the guise of a reading session with his favorite cat, the staff gathered around for the announcement, to which Zach, when being told she was coming home with him forever, he relied with a thrilled, “No way!”

Now at home, the two are together all the time, day to night, and both are very happy, and their relationship is demonstration of the win-win organizations like Lollypop Farms cultivate through their programs. What a wonderful ending to this story for everyone.

Surrendered to Lollypop Farm when her owner went to
Miss CheckMeowt happy at her forever home with her new best friend, Zach.

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