When a neighbor knocked on Tia Dawn Jenkins' apartment door, little did she know
that her life would drastically change.
Her neighbor brought her a black cat that he had named Samantha and asked her if
she wanted the cat. The neighbor was angry because Samantha had bitten him so Tia
took in the cat and gave it a new home.
Tia suffered from depression and had no peripheral vision. She also suffered from
seizures. Samantha seemed to bring the Louisville, KY woman out of her depressed
moods making her laugh and playing fetch. Tia began to train Samantha to bring her
items that she could not find due to her limited sight. Samantha was also taught
to get help if she went into a seizure.
One evening, as Tia talked on the telephone, Samantha stood in the kitchen door
and made a sickly-sounding meow. Upon entering the kitchen, Tia discovered that
a fire on the stove had caused the George Foreman Grill to burst into flames. Even
though Tia tried to put out the fire, smoke was quickly filling the apartment.
After dialing 911, Tia, with her limited sight, became disoriented. She knew that
she could not leave her dear Samantha or Shelly, her turtle. Hearing Samantha's
cries, Tia managed to get to the aquarium where Samantha was clawing at the aquarium
glass. Reaching in, Tia picked up Shelly and placed her in her purse. Seeing that
Shelly was safe, Samantha opened the door to her Pet Taxi carrier and got inside. Tia then grabbed the carrier
and her purse and ran out of the apartment.
After Samantha saved Tia, she lobbied her state to recognize Samantha as a service
animal. A few months later, The Epilepsy Foundation of Kentucky paid for Samantha's
certification. She is now a member of the Service Animal Registry of America (SARA)
as well as a certified Therapeutic Animal. The cat continues to help Tia each day
with her disabilities, and she and her turtle Shelly are grateful to Samantha for
her brave deed.