Yahweh’s Heart comes to the cat rescue
Published 8:13 am Monday, July 13, 2020
By KAREN THIEL
For the Washington Daily News
Carrie Nye Garcia has adored all kinds animals since she was child. Currently, a beautiful and protective peacock is one of her many pets, and her property’s “yard guardian.” That peacock and Garcia have watched over an ever-changing “family” of cats since she founded Yahweh’s Heart Feline Rescue at her Washington property, and more so since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Normal life is never going to be the same,” Garcia said, while gently patting a kitten soaking up every bit of her attention.
The feline rescue recently acquired several cats that were part of a program offered by LifeQuest, Inc., which director Adam Congleton described as “a psychosocial rehabilitation program for special adults with mental health issues.”
LifeQuest is located in the old Washington High School building on East Eighth Street, where the feline rescue and care program was created to teach clients skills that emphasize responsibility, according to Congleton.
“It’s also therapeutic to work with the animals. If you care for something else, it often diminishes your own symptoms. It also socializes the animals and gets them ready for adoption,” Congleton said. He said the cats were moved to Garcia’s facility when closure of the building became part of the effects of the pandemic.
“The cats had to have somewhere to go,” Congleton said, adding that Garcia offered to house them when she learned the building had to close. “She was doing the cat rescue as part of her job here before the COVID hit.”
Moving the LifeQuest felines to her property allowed Garcia to continue the work in person and continues to give LifeQuest patients meaningful roles that make them feel valued.
“It’s a great partnership. Our members love the idea of it and they love helping out there,” Congleton said.
Garcia and her husband, Steve, have been rescuing animals since 2014, shortly after they bought their 15-acre property.
“We came down here to visit relatives … one time and were just hooked,” Garcia said of Beaufort County.
The couple’s animal rescue activities began almost immediately.
“We were saving goats … but there wasn’t a great need so that fell to the wayside,” she said.
Garcia said her feelings about needy animals never took a vacation once the goats were gone, and the idea of rescuing cats was “a natural” for her.
Garcia said many of her “boarders” arrive because of referrals from Friends of Beaufort County Animal Shelter.
“One of their members asked if I would foster a cat. It just grew from there,” said Garcia, whose careful care of kittens and adult cats — including feral ones she is dedicated to — has become known by rescue groups as far away as Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Garcia said the animals are transported to their “forever homes” by a network of animal rescue groups that cooperate with each other throughout the East Coast. Garcia is passionate about moving these felines out of animal shelters — especially those known as “kill shelters” which euthanize animals after a certain amount of time.
“Once they’re full, whoever is there the longest has to go, and I want them to go somewhere they’re loved,” Garcia said.
Every cat accepted by Garcia is tested for rabies, worms and parasites, feline leukemia and several viral illnesses. They also get spayed or neutered. Garcia provides attention daily with the help of a small crew of volunteers, including the LifeQuest participants. The organization is a 501(c)3 charity and relies solely on donations to feed and provide medical care for the cats. Garcia said the love comes from her heart — and from her volunteers.
“We are always looking for people who want to spend some time with the cats, which would help us rescue more of them from the animal shelters,” Garcia said.
She said volunteers get to help with everything from feeding and cuddling cats to sanitizing their climate controlled building. She said volunteers who allow the cats into their homes as “fosters” are the ones who finish the job of socializing those animals.
“So whoever finally adopts them will receive a kitten or adult cat that can comfortably interact with everyone in that family,” Garcia said.
Garcia may be reached at Yahweh’s Heart Feline Rescue by text at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 252-702-1930.