MARION (WSIL) — A woman in Marion uses her love for animals to inspire hope around the world.
Rhonda Andersen has been spaying and neutering stray cats for years, but there was one that stood out among the rest.
Snow White is just one of the 10 stray cats rescued by Rhonda and her husband.
"They just bring such a calm to your spirit."
She said most of the cats have health problems and are on medications.
"Your heart goes out to them, and I can’t let them continue in that shape," said Rhonda.
Right now, she’s looking for a forever home for Bob, whom she’s only had for three months.
"They each have their own story."
Snow White’s story began in 2012. Rhonda said Snow White was already spayed and in fairly good health at the time she found, trapped and returned her.
"Just right outside our door, we set up a shelter and food and water for her, but she disappeared," explained Rhonda.
Four years later, Snow White was found in a crawl space at an abandoned house next door. Her fur was matted, she was malnourished, there was drainage from her eyes and nose, deaf and suffering from severe arthritis.
"Kept her a few days to let her settle in before we took her to the vet. Then we got her to the vet, got her cleaned up, shaved completely. She had multiple parasites," added Rhonda.
Using social media, Rhonda decided to combine her faith and Snow White’s journey through recovery to encourage hope.
"Paralleling her life to our lives and how we can be so broken that we don’t feel like there’s any hope," said Rhonda.
Rhonda’s Facebook page, ‘Rescuing Snow White’, has nearly 5,000 followers from around the globe. One of them painted a portrait of Rhonda’s princess, and many helped pay for the thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Rhonda said she, "always had a heart for animals, and they needed somebody to make their lives better." But she needed them, too. Two years ago, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and a healthy Snow White was by her side.
"Never in my life would I have imagined that God would use a little white scruffy cat to reach out. But He did," said Rhonda.
Rhonda would like to find Toby a nice home. She said he is strong, affectionate and used to being indoors so he would be a good companion to have around.
Snow White recently won a world-wide photo contest with more than 280,000 votes.
You can learn more about Bob and follow Snow White’s journey here.