Cats, Roots and a Little Heaven on Earth

By Pamela Geisel

Blackie, now Mandela

The scruffy black cat with the injured eye and patchwork of scars had been caged for years. So cramped was his confinement that lack of exercise had left him obese…so cruel that his teeth were worn to nubs from fruitless attempts to chew himself out of life behind bars.

Enter Heaven on Earth Society for Animals. Serving the San Fernando Valley, this nonprofit rescue organization focuses on the cats no one else wants. After being abandoned, Blackie came to live at their sanctuary, with its equal parts food and friends, love and laps.

It was 10 years ago that founder Eri Kriteman started Heaven on Earth, fulfilling a long-held dream to save lives—a dream that grew out of personal, youthful tragedy. Kriteman was just 12 when she lost her family in the AeroMexico Flight 498 collision over Cerritos. “Homeless animals became both my refuge and my passion,” she says.

To mark Heaven on Earth’s tenth anniversary, Kriteman and her colleagues hope to launch efforts to purchase the property they now lease so their decade of lifesaving can be prologue to many more. “There is so much we can do if we can put down roots and grow,” says Kriteman.

And what about Blackie? Well, he’s healed nicely and is now available for adoption. In the meantime, he’s part of Heaven on Earth’s SOS Sponsorship Program, happily writing monthly to sponsors. And he has a new name—honoring a special person who was once imprisoned, Blackie is now known as “Mandela.”

To learn more about Heaven on Earth, visit them at www.heavenlypets.org. Donations are tax-deductible, much needed and gratefully accepted.

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