After suffering months of pain and recovery from a dog mauling in August, Stubbs the cat is now offering a helping paw stuffed with cash to his four-legged neighbors. Stubbs, who by some accounts is recognized as the honorary Mayor of Talkeetna -- a tiny tourist hamlet in the northern Susitna Valley, 86 miles northwest of Anchorage -- is feeling better after being mauled by a town dog.
Stubbs is back to his old habits of hanging around Nagley's General Store and sipping catnip-laced water from a nearby pub and restaurant. Stubbs nearly used up all nine of his lives in the August attack on Talkeetna's main street in August. Stubbs was found by his owner, Lauri Stec, suffering from a punctured lung, broken bones and a large wound to his side after the attack.
The dog has not been seen in the area since the attack, but news of the mauling went viral, and soon, cards, letters, emails and offers of financial help for the cats mounting vet bills came pouring into Talkeetna.
"Morris the cat" the icon of the 9Lives pet food company, offered to pay for Stubb's vet bills – totaling more than $3,000 -- and even created a get well card on Facebook for his feline friend in Alaska.
In total, Stubbs has received far more than the estimated costs for his vet stay, and most of the donations will now go to help out a local veterinary clinic, and an animal shelter near Palmer.
In all, Stec said Stubbs has received more than $5,100 dollars in donations from across the globe, as well as get well cards from Mayors as far away as Germany and Australia.
Most will be sent to Jennifer Pironis, who owns and operates Golden Pond Veterinary Services in Talkeetna, and who rode along with Stubbs as he was being taken to an animal hospital in Big Lake following the August attack. Stec said she believes Pironis will use the money to improve her clinic -- the only one of its kind in Talkeetna.
Some of the money will find its way to a no-kill animal shelter in Palmer.
As for Stubbs -- who spent more than a month confined to a small box as he healed from his injuries – life as Talkeetna's Mayor has returned to normal.
Stubbs spend his days inside Nagley's General Store, which Stec manages. He is not allowed to roam freely outside anymore, and no animals are allowed inside the store to prevent another attack. But Stubbs still manages to find his way to the nearby West Rib Pub each afternoon to sip from catnip-laced water.
"He goes there every day at 4:00," Stec said. "If the water doesn't have any catnip in it, he won't drink from the glass," she added.
Stubbs also has own fish tank, with three goldfish residents: Finn, Lou, and Harriett. But the feline "mayor" of Talkeetna is proving he is a lover, not a fighter. Stubbs drinks regularly from the fish tank, and even lets the goldfish nuzzle him as he laps up the water.
"The fish actually swim up and touch his nose as he drinks," Stec said.
But Stubbs' fame has only grown since his near-death encounter on the mean streets of Talkeetna in late summer.
Cable network Animal Planet is planning a special on Stubbs, according to Stec, who noted a recent article in the Wall Street Journal that Stubbs continues to receive emails and letters asking about his health. Stubbs may need another surgery to repair a floating septum bone -- torn free in the dog attack. Otherwise, the "mayor" is doing well.
"He is curled up on my desk right now, taking a nap," Stec said.
Update: On Nov. 6, Stec told Alaska Dispatch that 9Lives had paid $3,000 dollars to Stubbs' veterinarian in mid-October. Stec said the vet had not informed her of the payment when she initially spoke to Alaska Dispatch for this article.
Contact Sean Doogan at firstname.lastname@example.org