AP NEWS

Cat in a crate: A state trooper’s unlikely mission to help

November 10, 2018

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Traveling across the country with her furry little friends, Ellie Gale made a pit stop in Tupelo in hopes of getting some rest before she hit the road again.

The Tallahassee, Florida, resident didn’t plan to stay long, but car trouble added an extra two days.

While staying at the Wingate Hotel, Gale went to her car one evening to get luggage and her Maine coon cat bolted from the vehicle into the nearby woods.

“I walk with a cane and I just couldn’t get her. I tried to go over to where she was then she zoomed back into the woods,” Gale said.

Luckily, there were five Mississippi state troopers (Canine Corps) lodging at the same hotel due to training that week.

“I asked at the desk if the troopers were still there. I thought that their dogs could pick up her scent and find where she was,” she said. “I saw them that evening and they said they would certainly look for her and he would let me know what they found out.”

Trooper Jamie Puckett, an animal lover, said he made it a mission to find Gale’s cat.

“There was a lady standing outside saying she lost her cat and if we saw her let her know,” Puckett said. “The next morning (Nov. 1) we saw her again looking for the cat and we thought she was leaving.”

But Gale didn’t leave. She didn’t want to leave Fluffy behind.

″...I told one of the guys I was with that I was going to look for her cat because it seemed like it meant something to her,” Puckett said.

Puckett was right.

Gale and her late husband, Nathan B. Gale, rescued Fluffy in Oregon a few years before he died. The cat was the last animal they rescued together.

“I wanted to keep her and give her a good life,” Gale said.

Puckett and Cpl. Troy L. Moses Jr. went into the hotel parking lot to search for Fluffy.

“We go and look around the hotel and I walk towards some vehicles and I see a cat under a vehicle so I sit down between the cars in full uniform and I start calling the cat and it wouldn’t come to me at first, but I finally got her into a crate,” Puckett said.

Puckett took Fluffy to the hotel front desk, and the receptionist called Gale.

“The cat was sentimental to her more than anything so I see why she was so adamant about finding the cat, so it made her really happy, she was in tears,” Puckett said.

Gale said she was flabbergasted that Fluffy came to him, but she was so thankful she did.

“We have very good friends that are out there working for us, in all kinds of capacities, and this capacity was like a fireman saving a cat from a fire,” Gale said. “This was a very kind state trooper saving her from a life in the woods. She would not have survived.”

Gale and Fluffy are back in Florida thanks to Puckett’s assistance.

“Just being an animal lover I couldn’t imagine losing a pet so sentimental to you,” Puckett said. “You should always help someone when you can, in one way or another.”

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Information from: The Clarion Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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