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2006-12-13 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets Joanne Anderson

Correction from J. Anderson: Your foggy pet columnist attached the wrong Henry column file last week because she has more saved in her computer than she does in her brain. Here’s the right one:

Never underestimate the reach of one determined cat, and his more determined guardian. Their dream to raise a million dollars for needy souls, like Henry once was himself, is becoming reality. A lot has happened since Beacon readers were first introduced to Henry the 3-legged pheline philanthropist last August. The Energizer Bunny™ has met his match. Henry the Healer keeps going and going….

Henry has won national book awards. Sales from his books, without the use of stores or Amazon, have generated thousands of dollars for various charities. In addition, Henry and his cat scribe spend up to 8 hours a day counseling strangers. Since Henry discovered his voice as a “therapet”, he has answered over 12,000 letters and emails, many ongoing correspondences. His crusade of kindness has traveled around the world. Henry’s tale, including my 8/31 Beacon version, is even featured on a South African websitewww.

Panda, Panda, You may recall that Henry as an injured California kitten 2 years ago had the good sense to wander into the home of Cathy Conheim, a psychotherapist, and Donna Brooks, a retired doctor- diehard dog lovers with hearts of gold. Henry’s positive attitude, plus a little prodding from their Standard Poodle, won them over. They paid for his costly leg amputation and wound up adopting him. Little did they know that he was yet to spark a new mission.

Cathy turned Henry’s life lessons into a pair of non- profit books that inspire us while supporting grass root organizations too. Henry’s World chronicled their email odyssey, and What’s the Matter with Henry**? showcased the power of resiliency and overcoming prejudice. The beautifully photographed children-of- all ages book, What’s the Matter with Henry?, won both the ASPCA Humane Issues award and the gift book Muse Medallion at the Cat Writers Association honors in San Francisco last month. Henry gave his $500 prize to Friends of Cats in El Cajon, California. They rescued some feral kittens he knew.

Mona, at Babylon Shelter Mona, at Babylon Shelter Henry was recently voted mascot and honorary board member of the Miracle League of southwest Washington. The Miracle League builds ball fields for physically challenged kids. Now Henry can sell his books to raise money for these customized fields of dreams. He is working

on a deal with a major league pitcher to help him with fundraising efforts. Ironically, the southpaw cat, who shares a name with St. Henry II, patron of the disabled, was born near his namesake’s feast day. When he was christened, his owners had no idea of the canonized coincidence.

Henry is quite the celeb. He’s been on CNN, done 2 book signings at the San Diego Zoo, been featured in many magazines and newspapers including Tufts’ Catnip and a Japanese cat journal that calls him “Henry, Sensei” (master teacher). An article about Henry will appear in Cat Fancy in February. His saga is posted on, the positive outlook website of the former CNN anchorwoman. Last week a piece in The San Diego Union-Tribune brought the “Dear Tabby Abby” 130 letters the next

day, and orders for many more books. Cathy ghostwrites

Henry’s in depth responses

faster than you

can say: “litterbox”.

Henry has received

thank you notes for his

books from former Supreme

Court Justice

Sandra Day O’Connor and author Joseph Wambaugh. His cat scribe welcomes publicity. Each venue is spreading Henry’s message of triumph over tragedy and bias barriers.

Katrina displaced pets; terminally ill patients; shelter animals; folks who have lost their homes to fire or medical bills; wounded veterans; big groups like Alley Cat Allies; small groups like LI’s Last Hope…all and more have benefited from Henry’s ability to pay back the kindness extended toward him. “Peace on earth good will toward men (and beast)”. Henry embodies the meaning of Christmas. Henry has the gift that gives twice. Order his book online at, and you can designate the charity where Cathy will send the check.

Now to answer that question posed in the title- What’s the Matter with Henry? Absolutely nothing. May we all play the “paw” that is dealt us as well as this spunky feline tripod has.

Our Babylon Shelter (643-9270) poster pets are looking for some goodwill too. Huggable “Panda” in Cage 11 resembles a real panda and is content to sit by your side while you pet him. He’s trying to win someone over with his reindeer disguise. “Mona” in C-1 is a sweet, semi-longhaired tortie who served as a surrogate Mom to many kittens in the maternity ward after she weaned her own litter. In thanks, a few of us had her spayed and FeLV/FIV tested. She has her rabies shot too and is ready to go home. The shelter is at 51 Lamar St. W. Babylon.

Females: an older yet playful Husky mix in Cage 93; a Sheepdog mix in Cage 81 found at Pathmark, N. Babylon.

Males: “Buddy”- a 2 yr. Collie mix in Cage 19; “Risky”- a 4 yr. white Mini Poodle in the Puppy Room; a wirehaired Jack Russell in Cage 47.

Cats: “Simon”- a neut. 6 month white with orange “joy” in C-8 & “Sylvia” the gray swirl baby in C-4.

Last Hope Pet Photos with Santa- Bring your pets (or kids) to PETSMART on Rt. 110 in Huntington Sta. on Dec.16 - 17 from 11 to 4. It’s a great deal, plus $5 of each $9 package goes to Last Hope.

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