|Tasha holds Sheena at Paws & Claws Adoption Center.|
PANAMA CITY BEACH — You may have read “Kitten Kaboodle,” an article I wrote for the Paws & Claws page in the May 10 edition of the News Herald. It focused on caring for and adopting kittens, especially the work of the Panama City Beach Paws & Claws volunteers.
In that article, I related the sad tale of “Sheena,” an 18-month-old mama cat who barely survived the motor vehicle that killed her kittens. The Siamese and her litter had been living behind a beach restaurant; all of the kittens were run over and she was dragged by the vehicle. Her back right hip and leg were broken, and she lost all of the hair on that side of her body. The leg needed to be amputated.
Even though the group didn’t have the budget for the surgery, PCB Paws & Claws decided to go forward and established a crowd-funding effort (which you can link to at the group’s Facebook page) to help defray the costs. On a referral from Parkway Animal Hospital in Parker, the surgery was completed by Dr. Mandy Webb at Breeze Animal Hospital, 9222 Panama City Beach Parkway.
At the time of the article’s publication, Sheena was recovering in a foster home. As a mature cat with special needs, it looked doubtful that she would be adopted.
That’s where Tasha Shelley came in.
“She saw Sheena and heard the story of how she lost her leg, and decided to adopt her, as she knew Sheena would be perfect for her,” said Julie King, one of the Paws & Claws volunteers.
You may also remember Tasha, who was a victim of a tragic car accident in October 2013. Newly wed to Sylvester Storey, they were returning from their honeymoon in Gatlinburg, Tenn., when their SUV rolled over along Interstate 85. Storey died at the scene, and Tasha was airlifted to a hospital, where surgeons fought to save her life. She lost a section of her colon — and her right leg.
Recovery has been a long, difficult road — but Tasha, a devoted Christian, has found blessings as well. She recently married Andrew Shelley, which necessitated changing the name of her business to Shelley Photography, based in Panama City Beach. She had been in business since 2006 under her maiden name, Bradford.
“God gave me the talent, my parents gave me the camera, and I just carry it,” she told me Wednesday.
Tasha and Andrew were closing on their first home together when a realtor who volunteers with Paws & Claws suggested they think about adopting a cat. They were more interested in having a dog, but then they heard Sheena’s story.
Tasha and Andrew moved into their new home Saturday, and Sheena went home with them.
“I took one look at her picture and started crying,” Tasha said. “I’ve been through hell, but God gave me a second chance. I’m going to give her a second chance, too.”