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Soldier's cat weathers deployments, contest

POSTED: June 24, 2011 11:15 a.m.
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Sgt. Rachel Kozack of Hinesville entered her cat, Scabby, in the “My Magnificent Adopted Pet Online Contest.” Scabby was one of 10 semifinalists from among 800 contestants.

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Fort Stewart soldier Sgt. Rachel Kozack’s charcoal tabby cat, Scabby, was one of 10 semifinalists from across the country in the People Saving Pets “My Magnificent Adopted Pet Online Contest” last week. Unfortunately, Scabby lost the contest’s top spot this week to a deaf pointer/dalmatian mixed-breed dog from Oklahoma named Patience.
Still, Scabby is a winner in Kozack’s eyes.
“I was 19 when I got her,” Kozack said. “I’m 30 now so I’ve had her my whole adult life.”
Kozack is assigned to the 632nd maintenance support unit as an armament repair technician. She and Scabby came to Fort Stewart in March 2007. Kozack has been through four deployments to Iraq. While she was deployed, family and friends cared for Scabby. The cat, like many well-adjusted military dependents, handled the separation well.
“She was such a trooper,” Kozack said.
Kozack adopted Scabby from a pet shelter in California. She and her husband also adopted two other rescues. Their dog, Fred, is a rottweiler/German shepherd mix they found at the Liberty Humane Shelter. Their second cat, Megan, was a stray they found in Midway.
Kozack, who said she usually never enters contests, entered the “My Magnificent Adopted Pet Online Contest” on a whim. She wrote why Scabby was a magnificent pet and sent in her cat’s photo.
“This contest helps to share the message that adopting a pet is one of the best ways to end pet homelessness,”Susana  Della Maddalena, vice president and executive director of PetSmart Charities said. “Half of the 8 million adoptable pets in shelters — about 11,000 a day — are euthanized because they don’t have homes.”
Contest organizers received 800 adoption stories from across the country, according to Maddalena. The contest winner received a $500 Visa gift card and $1,000 to donate to a designated 501(c)(3) animal-welfare organization.
Kozack had listed Saving Grace LA as her charity of choice, both because she originally is from California and because that particular nonprofit organization began as one woman’s crusade to humanely trap feral cats for the purpose of spaying and neutering them.
Today, Saving Grace LA rescues both cats and dogs from the street and pounds.
Kozack recommends people consider adopting pets from animal shelters if they want a cat or dog.
“You will find one that speaks to you and is perfect for you,” she said. “I don’t think anyone can go to a shelter and not come away with an animal they can fall in love with.”

 

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