Three-Legged Cat with Drexel Ties to be Named 2010 ASPCA Cat of the Year
Henry, a three-legged cat, is the recipient of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) 2010 Cat of the Year award.
Henry has been an inspiration to children, parents and families across the country. When psychotherapist Cathy Conheim and retired obstetrics-gynecologist Donna Brooks (Drexel University College of Medicine ‘65) found Henry as a stray kitten on their property in Julian, Calif., he was unable to move his left leg. Conheim rushed Henry to the local veterinary hospital, where she learned that his leg had to be amputated. Once Henry recovered from surgery, the two began working together to help people learn tolerance and resilience in the face of physical disabilities and differences. One of the ways they accomplished this was by responding to thousands of letters from people in similar situations.
Conheim and Henry also created several children's workbooks and books titled “Henry's World,” “What's the Matter with Henry?” and “What About Me, I'm Here Too.” These have been distributed to more than 45,000 people around the world, including victims of Hurricane Katrina and families of wounded veterans. Additionally, one of Henry's books has been translated into Creole to help a children's amputee project in Haiti. Henry's books have generated more than $50,000 for local animal welfare groups to help other animals in need.
“For people who have suffered a loss in their lives or are ill, sometimes it’s easier to relate to an animal that’s dealt with that adversity,” said Conheim.
As a result, Henry’s world is part of a larger program, “The Just Me Project.” The project distributes a kit to challenged families. Kits contain a child’s book and workbook as well as CDs of music to reduce stress. A puppet of Henry is also in the works.
“Henry’s world is a story not just about a cat but about all of us - about trust, community, courage, and resiliency,” said Conheim. “It is about prejudice and overcoming it, coming to love what we thought we hated, enemies becoming friends and challenges becoming learning experiences.”
Henry has his own website (www.henrysworld.org), makes appearances at various events and publishes books about his story to help families cope with disability.
The ASPCA's Annual Humane Awards Luncheon will be held on Thursday, Nov. 11, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. The ceremony recognizes animal heroes who have demonstrated extraordinary efforts, as well as individuals who have made a significant impact on the lives of animals during the past year.
About Henry’s “moms”
Cathy Conheim, L.C.S.W., a psychotherapist in private practice for over 30 years, is also the head of FOCUS, a management-consulting firm. Whether as a therapist, a management consultant, a public speaker, a workshop leader, a radio talk show host, or an author, she sees herself as an agent of change. She is the creator of the “Real Woman” project, and co-author of A Waist is a Terrible Thing to Mind. She dedicates countless hours to further its mission.
Donna Brooks, M.D, is now retired. Dr. Brooks’ personal life has centered on healing. A graduate of the Drexel University College of Medicine (Women’s Medical, ‘65) she was first a physical therapist, then went on to become one of San Diego's most beloved and skilled obstetrics-gynecologists. Upon retirement, she became a sculptor and is now a recognized figurative sculptor.
Henry’s Web site: http://www.henrysworld.org
Photos of Henry: http://www.henrysworld.org/gallery/gallery.html
News media contact:
Stephanie Takach, Drexel News Bureau Associate
215-895-2671, 215-519-9096 (cell), firstname.lastname@example.org