Being a tiny orphan, all on your own, is never easy; no mom, no siblings, no real hope. Take away your ability to see and the world is an even scarier place.

Meet Tootsie Roll. She was found stumbling around an auto shop, running into things, and pitifully mewing between boxes. Terrified and alone, she couldn’t be caught for over a month.

Once human hands touched her, it was easy to see why Tootsie was running into everything.

Tootsie was born with two deformed eyes that make her blind and hyper sensitive. When brought to Palmetto Animal League, she wanted nothing to do with anyone. Jumpy and hissing at shadows, she only craved food, and lots of it.

The staff immediately reached out to foster families who specialize in cats and kittens with special needs. After a few days to settle down and be examined by veterinarians at PAL’s Community Clinic, Tootsie was on her way to heal and grow with her foster family.

Blindness offers unique hurdles for an animal to overcome, but overcoming is exactly what she is doing. Tootsie Roll has learned to respond to her name and is being taught to walk on a leash.

When she is big enough, Tootsie will go back to see PAL’s vets, and they will decide if it’s best to remove both of her deformed eyes. This surgery might sound grim, but it will actually give her a healthier life without the possibility of disease stemming from her badly formed eyes.

As much as Tootsie is learning on her own, she is also taking cues from other cats with special needs. Her two closest companions at her foster home are a cat with no eyes and a cat with brain damage. Tootsie is learning that her differences make her special and lovely. She no longer runs away from human touch but rather runs to be embraced.

With the help of her foster parents and Palmetto Animal League, this special orphan gets a second chance at life. Tootsie’s journey is one of great hope. As a PAL foster mom, I see countless traumatic beginnings, like Tootsie’s, but I also bear witness to some of the best comebacks ever!

At PAL, we refuse to end an animal’s life due to lack of space or cost of rehabilitation. With your help, we are able to provide a safe haven for the abandoned, abused and neglected animals the rest of the world has forgotten. These are Lives Worth Saving. If you agree, join the No Kill movement by visiting

J.A. Weiss is a volunteer foster for Palmetto Animal League.