AC Pup: Story of missing cat ends with long-distance reunion

January 10, 2014 

Sandy Vanzo smiles big as she and AC Pup’s Aunt Patti Jones cradle Alice between them. Alice was lost when Vanzo stopped in Macon on her way to spend the winter in Florida.


Have you ever lost someone you loved with all your heart and your world was shattered? That’s how Miss Sandy Vanzo felt.

Miss Sandy was heading from her home in Illinois to spend the winter in Florida. She was traveling with her rescue cat named Alice when she decided to stop for the night in Macon the weekend before New Year’s. She pulled in to the Baymont Inn off Zebulon Road to rest before resuming her journey.

Alice was a loving tortoiseshell kitty that Miss Sandy’s daughter, Miss Tina Schlemer, rescued seven years ago. Alice was in terrible condition when Miss Tina found her with injuries so gruesome I can’t describe them.

Let’s just say Alice had to have several facial surgeries that included removing her left eye and wiring her face together. In fact, she had so much metal holding her face in place that Miss Sandy’s granddaughter named her Alice after heavy metal rock star Alice Cooper.

Alice recuperated from her surgeries and became an awesome companion for Miss Sandy. She offered her love and understanding when Miss Sandy’s husband died not too long ago. She was there for Miss Sandy when one of her precious dogs died earlier in the year, and she again offered comfort when Miss Sandy’s other dog died at Thanksgiving.

So Miss Sandy and Alice were a team looking forward to a fresh, promising new year. They were planning to enjoy the warm Florida climate. But then things went horribly wrong.

Somehow Alice went missing from the room at Baymont Inn. Miss Sandy was frantic. She and the Baymont staff searched everywhere for hours, but Alice was nowhere to be found.

Finally Miss Sandy had to make the heart-wrenching decision to leave without her.

Miss Tina put an ad for Alice, among other places, in The Telegraph. My Face­book friend Miss Beth Gledhill saw it and sent me a message.

I immediately shared the information on my Facebook pages and told my Aunt Patti Jones about it. After communicating with Miss Tina, Aunt Patti knew she had to find Alice. She asked Miss Linda Smyth to help post fliers.

But Alice had been lost almost a week already in a very high-traffic area with cars zooming by constantly. It wasn’t looking hopeful.

Aunt Patti knew freezing weather was on the horizon so there wasn’t a minute to waste. She packed up her husband early last Saturday morning, determined to find Alice.

They searched hotels, neighborhoods, shopping centers and set a trap along the way. Finally at 9 p.m. Saturday, Aunt Patti spotted Alice under a car at the Sleep Inn hotel.

After being lost for a week, Alice was safe. She was reunited with her very grateful mom the next day.

This is yet another testament to never giving up. If you’re missing a precious pet, please don’t ever give up. Keep looking.

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