Monkey, a cat residing at Wildhorse Ranch Rescue in Gilbert, found a pair of friends when she needed some most.
An unknown vehicle struck the orange tabby cat on a nearby road last week, leaving her bloody and clinging to life.
Gilbert residents Ashley Demrest, 10, and Charly Shuker, 11, first spotted Monkey while walking to school. No one at the ranch could be found to help that morning, so the two decided to try again on the way home.
Monkey had managed to crawl to safety just off the road’s edge.
"We love animals and we couldn’t just leave the cat there," Charly said.
The girls finally reached Kim Meagher, president of Wildhorse Ranch Rescue, which is also home to several cats. Monkey’s severe injuries took Meagher by surprise.
"She always lays with her paws crossed," Meagher said. "That was the only way I could recognize her."
After rushing Monkey to an animal hospital, the cat spent three days under 24-hour care and has made a miraculous recovery.
"You wouldn’t know it was the same cat," Meagher said.
Meagher remains certain that Monkey would have bled to death had the girls not found her. To express her gratitude, she presented Charly and Ashley with the Wildhorse Ranch Rescue Compassion Award on Tuesday at Mesquite Elementary School in Gilbert.
"They could set an example for everyone, especially adults," Meagher said of the girls. "It just really amazes me that they took the time to save this little cat that they didn’t know."
Since the accident, the girls have visited Monkey several times during her recovery. Ashley said she feels proud to have helped save the cat’s life.
"She looks really good," she said of Monkey. "I think people should help animals because they’re part of our lives, too."