SAYBROOK, Ill. -- When firefighter Toni Day was handed a tiny tabby kitten covered in second- and third-degree burns through the window of a burning Saybrook home, she wasn’t too optimistic about its chances.“I didn’t expect her to survive the night,” said the member of the Gibson City Fire Department.But nearly three weeks later Dutchess is beating the odds in Urbana at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital, bringing hope to a family that lost nearly everything and winning the hearts of people around the world. A campaign that began on Facebook to collect money for her care has raised about $2,900 of its $5,000 goal, but more still is needed to ensure Dutchess receives necessary treatment that her family cannot afford.“At 5 pounds, I can’t believe she hung on like she did,” owner Jackie Jones, 27, said of her 8-month-old feline. “Isn’t it amazing — being a little bitty tiny thing?”
Dutchess is doing much better, and can even tolerate affection, which would be a big deal for a poor animal who has gone through so much pain. She is "eating like a champ" and is expected to make a full recovery. The kindness and generosity of strangers is such a great thing, it seemed like a good way to kick off the pre-weekend celebrations.