2014-02-27 / News

Community helps St. Helen man find new companions


A NEW FRIEND Shaun Bacus of St. Helen sits with his new cat “Callie.” Bacus was given a brother and sister pair of cats by the SOS Animal Rescue of Saginaw. (Photo by Krista Tacey-Cater) A NEW FRIEND Shaun Bacus of St. Helen sits with his new cat “Callie.” Bacus was given a brother and sister pair of cats by the SOS Animal Rescue of Saginaw. (Photo by Krista Tacey-Cater) “I need a little help from my animal lover family and friends,” was the subject of a Feb. 13 email that was sent out to several St. Helen residents and businesses.

That call of help was put out by St. Helen resident and BS Liquor Store Owner Bev VanMeter, looking to help her new tenant, Shaun Bacus, find a new cat.

Bacus had moved into his new rental home about a month ago and had brought his Beta fish “Mr. Blue” with him. Not long after moving in, Bacus said “Mr. Blue” died and he was alone. In his previous living arrangement, Bacus had lived with another special needs young man and was not accustom to living alone.

In order to create a quick fix, Colleen said Bacus got a new Beta fish named “Mr. Red,” but it wasn’t real company.


FEELING ‘PRETTY GOOD’ Upon the death of his Beta fish “Mr. Blue” and moving into a new home on his own, Shaun Bacus was feeling a bit alone. Bacus’ caretaker Colleen said that his landlord, Bev VanMeter changed the terms of his lease to allow him to have cats. Bacus said he feels “pretty good” about being able to have two cats including “Duke.” He said “Duke” reminds him of “Garfield.” (Photo by Krista Tacey-Cater) FEELING ‘PRETTY GOOD’ Upon the death of his Beta fish “Mr. Blue” and moving into a new home on his own, Shaun Bacus was feeling a bit alone. Bacus’ caretaker Colleen said that his landlord, Bev VanMeter changed the terms of his lease to allow him to have cats. Bacus said he feels “pretty good” about being able to have two cats including “Duke.” He said “Duke” reminds him of “Garfield.” (Photo by Krista Tacey-Cater) “I felt bad that he felt lonely there,” VanMeter said. “A fish isn’t something you can talk to.”

As per VanMeter’s lease agreement animals are not permitted, however, she and her husband, Louie decided to make an exception for Bacus and that’s when the hunt for a cat started.

Bacus who was named the Area 4 Special Olympics King, began looking for a cat with the help of his caretaker, Colleen.

Colleen said they found a kitten that he fell in love with, however, when they found out how much it would cost to have the kitten fixed and declawed they had to pass.

VanMeter was informed of the letdown and that is when she sent an email call of help. In addition to the email, VanMeter also called the SOS Animal Rescue of Saginaw looking for a cat.

Within two hours of sending the email, VanMeter had several replies back and donations in her hand from people who wanted to help.

With money in hand, Colleen and Bacus went to the Saginaw PetSmart with intentions of buying a brother and sister pair of cats.

They were told that the cats would be $110 per cat, however, Colleen and a representative from SOS Animal Rescue made a deal of $110 for both cats.

Once the people of SOS Rescue met Bacus and found out he is a Special Olympics king and listened to his story, the cats were given to him free of charge.

“I had goose bumps,” VanMeter said of hearing the rescue’s actions.

Colleen said the cats “took right to him” and the match was perfect. With $150 donated money and an additional $60 in coupons from PetSmart Bacus was able to purchase little, toys, two beds, collars and a scratching post for his new cats.

Bacus said he had no clue Van- Meter had collected donations for him and didn’t expect to be able to get two cats for free from the SOS Animal Rescue.

He said it feels “pretty good” to have the support of VanMeter, his community and to have his cats.

“They’ve got a good home,” Colleen said of Bacus’ care.

Once Bacus got his cats, “Callie” and “Duke” home Colleen said they “fit right in” and adjusted well to Bacus and the new home.

Bacus said he likes to play with his cats and sit with them in the evening when he is done with work. He added he also takes care of them by making sure they have enough fresh water and food.

Colleen said she is thankful for those who opened their hearts and helped someone they didn’t know. She added seeing Bacus have pets to keep him company has been a joy.

“I just appreciate everybody that did donate because they didn’t have to,” VanMeter said.

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