Manitoulin hero cat holds place in Islanders’ hearts despite not winning national award

Ivy the heroine cat

TEHKUMMAH—Ivy the hero cat, who played a key role in the rescue of Tehkummah Reeve Eric Russell last fall, has not been selected for the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, but will remain a hero in many Islanders’ hearts for her brave actions.

“I’m not surprised,” said Ivy’s owner Mary Johnston when learning that Ivy hadn’t been chosen. “She did a great thing, but there are lots of heroic pets out there I imagine.”

Ms. Johnston said that Ivy had already received plenty of recognition for her actions.

“I have a whole file on her,” she said, noting that Ivy was featured in numerous Expositor articles, on CBC, Woman’s World magazine and various other publications. “Everyone around here sure knows her and loves her, so that’s great.”

As The Expositor has previously reported, Ivy, a rescue cat from Fixing our Felines in Manitowaning, had just moved into her new home with her owner and Mr. Russell’s neighbour, Mary Johnston, a few weeks before the incident.

Mr. Russell was working on the pulley of his garage’s overhead door when screws in the spring came loose, causing the door to come sailing down on him as he was perched on a ladder. The reeve was pinned with his arm ensnared in the door 13 feet up. Mr. Russell called for help several times and was beginning to lose hope when Ivy alerted Ms. Johnston to the emergency and she rushed to the reeve’s aid.

Ms. Johnston was lost in a book and hadn’t heard Mr. Russell’s calls, but Ivy did and began jumping from the couch to the window to her owner to get her attention, leading Ms. Johnston to hear Reeve Russell in distress.

Ms. Johnston called Mr. Russell’s wife Betty and the two reached out to Don McMurray and Bob Beard for additional help to get the reeve’s arm free. An ambulance was called and Mr. Russell was taken to the Manitoulin Health Centre in Mindemoya where his dislocated shoulder was ‘popped’ back into place. He also suffered some nerve damage and is still recovering from the incident.

Mr. Russell credited his rescue to Ivy and gifted her with a thank you card and gift certificate to a pet store.

The Expositor nominated Ivy for the Purina Animal Hall of Fame, submitting articles featuring Ivy as part of the application. Purina representatives reviewed Ivy’s story and contacted The Expositor, Ms. Johnston and Reeve Russell for more information, meaning that Ivy’s application made it to the second phase of the process. Unfortunately, she wasn’t one of the final animals chosen, but Ms. Johnston said that hasn’t phased Ivy. “She’s sitting on a shelf on her cat tree right now, looking out the window happily,” Ms. Johnston said. “I love her and I’m very proud of her.”