Audra is disabled due to an auto accident in the mid 1990's. And now as she gets older the challenges of arthritis have set in to further complicate the injuries she received which caused her to become permanently disabled. She taught her cats to work as service cats, currently she has Lexi (16 years old) and Dezi (about 4 years old).
They exist on a very limited income and live in a very tiny, somewhat rural town, in Oklahoma. Their apartment was all but destroyed when a neighboring apartment's pipes broke and flooded into their apartment, not once but twice! The water destroyed the frame and mechanism in the only chair, a recliner, Audra has besides her power wheelchair. Thus, for weeks now, Audra has been forced to sit on the floor if she is to get any time out of the wheelchair so it can be recharged.
In Audra's own words...this is her dilimma...
"I have bilateral sciatica and neuropathy which causes swelling and pain in my legs and feet. The doctor has told me to sit with the recliner foot up so that my legs and feet don't swell as much. And the rocking motion helps to "kick" me out of the chair to stand up (This is more of an issue in the winter when my arthritis is at it's worst). Having a power lift recliner would be a dream come true. I'm 5'8" so sitting on the floor is a bit difficult and causes extreme pain all over. But, that is my only choice if I am to get out of the wheelchair to recharge it. I also have difficulty trying to get up off the floor once I'm down there. Some of that is age but most of it is because of my disabilities. I also have a bony behind and the cement (even new carpeting isn't going to be thick enough to keep me from feeling the hard cement under neath) is quite hard. My body just isn't as young as it used to be. That recliner was my only chair besides the wheel chair which has no padding and that's why doc doesn't like me to sit in it too long because it pinches the nerves and since I already have nerve damage it could cause complete loss of feeling to my legs and paralysis. The girls of course love it, but cats can sleep anywhere anytime. Besides, I do have to charge it during the day. I have never taught the girls (service cats) how to pull the plug out of the wall because I don't want them to get electrocuted. So I charge it during the day so that it will be by the bed and ready for us in the morning."
Yes, Audra needs the cats to massage her legs and arms in the morning to help get movement back in them so Audra can get up and into her wheelchair. Then the cats literally drive by using their mouth to control the stick. Dezi, the youngest, waits next to the shower when Audra gets in because Audra has frequent fainting spells and Dezi senses them 30 minutes before they occur thus telling Audra when to sit down so as to not pass out and harm herself hitting the floor or corner of a bed or tub etc. Her fainting is the result of both the long ago car accident and nerve damage, a blood clot on her brain and an overload of pain.
Audra and the two service cats, Lexi and Dezi, are a family unit and very deserving of some assistance to help them right the wrong over which they had no control. Their home was flooded twice by the apartment next door. The property management company has been less than helpful in righting this wrong. We hope that we can at least help them with this much needed chair and two other items.
Audra's foam hospital mattress was damaged as it became wet from all the humidity caused by the soaking wet carpeting. She needs a new one.
Lexi is now 15 and has her own challenges with arthritis but needs to be able to jump to the bed and chair to help Audra, so a couple of sets of cat stairs will help her continue to be a service cat.
We appreciate anything you are able to contribute.