Larry's Story

    12:02 PM, Jan 3, 2012   |    comments
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    Larry was born in a downtown lot next to Today's THV in the fall of 2004. Many of the THV staffers spotted his mom with two very small kittens coming in and out of a drainage pipe.

    Mom would not let anyone near the two siblings, so in vain we tried to leave food close by. The holidays came and went, and little was known about the whereabouts of the little feline family.

    Late in January of 2005, someone spotted one of the kittens in our parking lot. Theba grabbed her sidekick, "major cat lover" Carol, and they went out in the cold to search. Out of the corner of Theba's eye, she spotted Larry, who was unnamed at the time, curled up under a tree by one of the THV Satellite dishes.

    Theba yelled for Carol, who just happened to have a bag of cat food in her car. Now that's a faithful cat lover for ya. They put the food in a blue, plastic bowl and got as close as they could. Larry hissed, and so they respected his space and stepped way back. He made his way to the spoils and gobbled them up. Both Carol and Theba smiled and swiftly made a plan to feed him on a regular basis.

    There was not a sign of mom or his sibling, so they assumed Larry was an orphan. It was later confirmed that Larry's mom had been hit by a car nearby. They continued to feed Larry and soon discovered the THV Weather Garden was his favorite place to be. This made them happy, because it kept him from hanging out in the parking lot.

    Larry enjoys his new house built by Jason Weatherford. You can contact Jason at seven24construction@yahoo.com

    Each time they went out to see him, he would come closer and closer and they hoped some day they would get a chance to actually pet him. Soon, the station was a buzz about the THV Garden cat. It didn't take long before all staff cat lovers began to take on the responsibility of making Larry feel at home.
    Tom Brannon and the morning crew fed him breakfast and began featuring him sleeping peacefully in the garden. On the weekends, Becky Ditchfield would make sure he was taken care of.

    Then, one weekend Becky got the ultimate invitation: Larry leaned his head out towards her and she petted him. After that interaction, Larry couldn't get enough of human touch. There were several of us who would take short breaks to the garden to love on Larry. Soon, he allowed us to brush him, which helped his fur get healthier looking.

    Before long, we all felt the responsibility of making sure we took this relationship to the next level by getting Larry to Dr. Bob Hale of Briarwood Animal Hospital for shots, neutering and an overall check up. After all, he had already lived a hard life on the street, eating out of trash cans, dodging cars and enduring harsh weather.

    We contacted a group called FuRR (Feline Rescue and Rehome). They came on Today's THV This Morning, talked to viewers about their catch and release program, and helped Tom Brannon lure Larry into a cat carrier, and off to Dr. Bob he went. Later that same day Dr. Bob called the THV studios to let us know that Larry's surgery went well and he got all his necessary tests and shots.

    Even though Larry chose the Today's THV Weather Garden to be his new home, we felt we still had a responsibility to the community to make sure he was neutered and vaccinated.

    Larry became a fixture of the Weather Garden. A celebrity who had fans from all over. Not a week would go by that we would not get a card or e-mail asking about Larry.

    Larry, from the very beginning was an outdoor cat. Though we let him spend as much time inside the station as he wanted, he was always looking to get back outside. Though he had a heated house, the best and most nutritious food, and Dr. Bob's staff available at a moment's notice, we still knew he was at risk of injury outdoors.

    Sometimes he would leave the garden and always came back within a few hours. After he came up missing on Tuesday, September 11, 2007, several THV staffers started looking for him. We checked out the building next door which has a couple of other alley cats that Larry hangs out with. Sadly, Larry's remains were found Thursday, Sept. 13, 2007 next door to the station. We're not sure how he died. There were no visible signs of trauma to his body and he had been in good health.

    Larry the Garden Cat was more than just a beloved pet to our THV family, people and businesses on our block. Many viewers who watched him grow up on Today's THV loved him too. Thank you for watching our station and caring so much about Larry.

    To make financial contributions to the Animal Village, contact shelter manager Tracy Roark at (501) 376-3067 or troark@littlerock.org.

    Any monies donated in Larry's name will go into a special account earmarked for the Cat Socialization Room to be built next year. They are going to name the room after Larry The Garden Cat in his memory.

    Location: 4500 Kramer - Take First Tee street off of University, and then a right on Kramer.

    Granite Memorial for Larry The Garden Cat donated by: Pet Cremation Services


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