© Lynn Curwin - TC MEDIA
Dharma the kitten was sealed inside a backpack and left to die along the Cobequid Trail in early May. She now snuggles with Mandi Arnold, who rescued her and decided to keep her. Dharma’s nose is still healing from the scrapes it received as she attempted to escape from the bag.
Looking at the little black kitten today one wouldn’t suspect that she was sealed in a bag and left to die just a few days ago.
Mandi Arnold was walking along a section of the Cobequid Trail behind the Nova Scotia Community College with her boyfriend, Paul, on the evening of May 6 when she heard the loud mewing of a feline in distress. They followed the sounds down a bank and along a fence, where they found a blue and white backpack.
“The zipper was tied shut with headphone wire and orange twine,” she said. “Paul tried to untie it but couldn’t; he had to cut it with a knife. He opened the backpack while it was on the ground because we didn’t know if it was a feral cat inside, but this little kitten came out and came right up to me.
“She was covered in feces and urine and was skin and bones. She was shaking so I wrapped her in my jacket. She just wanted to crawl up around my neck and cuddle.”
She called to get a vet and had the kitten examined.
“Penny Richards gave her a clean bill of health but she was very dehydrated so she stayed at the animal hospital until Thursday. Penny didn’t think she was well cared for before being abandoned.”
The kittens nose and paws were raw from her efforts to escape the backpack. Arnold doesn’t’ know if the experience has given the animal nightmares but it did result in a few nights where she was awoken by frightening dreams.
The morning after finding the kitten she and her boyfriend returned to the trail to photograph the backpack. She put it on Facebook and asked people to share the photo and accompanying story. Within two days there were more than 4,000 shares. They learned that the backpack, which has "EF" on the front, was one that was given out to CEC students going to Europe. Blue and white was the colour of the packs for the last two years.
“Whoever left the kitten wanted her to suffer,” said Arnold. “They didn’t give her a chance to escape. The experience made me feel very disappointed with humanity but the response from the public healed my heart a bit. Whoever did this was one person and there are a lot of good people out there.
“I decided to keep the kitten and call her Dharma, which means ‘purpose.’ I feel like she needs to be my kitty.”
Dharma is about three months old and is completely black. Her eyes shine with curiousity as she looks around her new home, where she has been attempting to make friends with the other feline in residence, seven-year-old Crazy Eyes.
“There’s still hissing going on, but Crazy is getting used to her,” added Arnold. “Dharma is very curious now and gets in every drawer I open. She’s very sweet, loving and cuddly and she loves people.”
Anyone with information that can help identify who left Dharma to die is asked to contact the police or the provincial SPCA. A photo of the backpack can be seen on Facebook.