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Newtown Veterinary Specialists Saves The Life Of Maxine The Cat — Twice



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The old adage goes that cats have nine lives; and while that is not exactly accurate, it seems to be appropriate in the case of Maxine the cat, who came back from the brink of death twice thanks to the care she received at Newtown Veterinary Specialists (NVS) in Newtown.

Maxine’s owner, Dave Merton, could not be more grateful to the staff at NVS for saving his cherished pet and reached out to The Newtown Bee to share his experience.

Merton, a New Milford resident since 1963, did not grow up spending a lot of time around cats. It was not until his neighbor and former New Milford mayor Pat Murphy’s cat Jasper began visiting him that he discovered the companionship cats can bring.

Hanging out with Jasper gave him a new appreciation for feline friends, and before he knew it, he says, he “fell in love with cats.”

So, when his friend contacted him about five rescue kittens in Patterson, N.Y., that needed homes, he seized the opportunity to adopt the first cat of his own.

When he adopted Maxine — who he affectionately calls “Max” and “Maxie” — she was only six weeks old.

“When I first brought her home, when I was sleeping on the coach, she slept on my neck. I don’t know why, but she did, and I thought it was cute,” Merton recalled.

Maxine is now 12 years old, and the pair are inseparable.

“She has always been the sweetest cat in the entire history of cats… Everyone loves her. She is a sweetheart — there’s no other way to put it,” Merton said.

With her upbeat disposition, Merton did not realize Maxine’s health was declining until late one night in September 2020.

“She started getting sick to my knowledge and started making this clicking noise,” he said. “When she was sick, I was horrified.”

In addition to the clicking noise, Merton said he noticed that she was breathing heavily and seemed to be “spaced out.”

The next morning, he took Maxine to her primary veterinary office, Valley Vet in New Milford. The staff there recommended taking her to NVS — and right away.

“If I didn’t take her there, she would have died,” Merton said.

At NVS, he was informed Maxine had a myriad of health concerns.

“They took care of her and figured everything out… she had so much going on,” Merton said. “She was dehydrated — I don’t know how that was possible, because she has a water bowl; her blood sugar was in the 500 or 600s, she had wicked bad diabetes, [and] she was septic. She had all this stuff going on, but I had no way of knowing this.”

He added, “The way that one of the doctors at NVS explained it is that cats are stoic. They won’t tell you anything until they [are about to] drop dead.”

Maxine stayed a total of four days at NVS recovering.

In that time, Merton would visit her, but due to the COVID-19 safety policies in place, he could not enter the building. Instead, staff would bring her out to him for supervised visits in the parking lot.

He remembers how during one of his first visits, his emotions were so heightened at the thought of losing her that he openly wept being reunited with her, if only for a brief period.

Merton recalls how the NVS staff member there with him was strong and supportive in his time of need.

“She was so kind and let me cry my eyes out in front of her, and she was so dignified about the whole thing and let it happen,” Merton said. “I’m sure she’s seen people do this before, but I totally lost it and I was crying for my baby.”

Maxine recuperated enough to leave NVS in early October, and in the months that followed, Merton saw her getting better.

“My little sweetheart came back to life,” he said.

Things took a turn for the worse, though, and at the end of January, Maxine was readmitted to NVS.

“When I brought her most recently, she was so sick they wouldn’t let me visit to bring her outside, because it was too cold,” Merton said.

There were times when he thought she might not make it or that he would have to make the difficult decision to put her down.

Ultimately, Maxine was there for three days and, again, recuperated enough to be able to go home.

“She is doing great. Basically, they saved her life not once, but twice,” Merton said.

Merton is thankful for the many staff members who helped save Maxine and specifically cites NVS Co-Medical Director Dr Adam Porter for being instrumental in bringing her back to good health.

To show his appreciation, Merton ordered a cake decorated with the message, “Thank you for saving me... again! —Maxine” and delivered it to NVS for the staff to enjoy.

“They saved my little baby and that’s the bottom line,” Merton said.

Today, Maxine is in good spirits and continues to see her primary vet, has a blood sugar detector, and is on insulin.

Pet Health Insurance

In addition to wanting to share his positive experience with NVS, Merton also wants to advocate for people to know that pet health insurance is an option to help with medical costs.

Although he would do anything for his Maxine, he acknowledges that to do so is costly. He wishes he had known about pet health insurance before the expenses arose, and understands that not everyone has the ability to afford lifesaving medical care for their pets.

“I never had [pet health insurance] and had to pay out of pocket,” Merton said. “Maybe it’s a good idea for people to have [insurance], because then they don’t have to make these really hard decisions.”

Pet owners can ask their veterinarians about pet health insurance options available to see what is right for their needs.

Newtown Veterinary Specialists is open 24 hours, 365 days a year. For more information about Newtown Veterinary Specialists, visit newtownvets.com or call 203-270-8387.

Maxine the cat received lifesaving care from Newtown Veterinary Specialists, 52 Church Hill Road, not once, but twice in the last six months. —photos courtesy Dave Merton
New Milford resident Dave Merton shares a strong bond with his 12-year-old cat, Maxine, seen here resting atop his shoulder. “I cannot image life without her,” Merton said.
Dave Merton wanted to show NVS his appreciation and sent them a cake that had the message, “Thank you for saving me... again! —Maxine” written in icing.
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