A Hero’s Tale

Hero, the store cat at Pet Valu Oakville, Ontario (3rd Line & Rebecca Street) has earned his name.

His story, which goes back 6 years, is a testament to how memorable pets are once they enter our lives. In 2008, Hero (then named Nero) was living in a Retirement Residence near Huntsville, Ontario with his owner, Julia (Marnie) Delaney. Marnie adored Nero, the two of them had a special bond. On Saturday, April 12th, 2008 a fire broke out in the Retirement Residence which was the home of 56 seniors and 3 cats, including Nero.

Around 11 o’clock, just when the fire started, two Hamilton Constables were on their way to Huntsville to bring a prisoner back to Hamilton. They looked out their window, saw the flames, and immediately drove to the burning building. When they arrived, there were no rescue personnel there and the roof was engulfed in flames. The Constables immediately sprung into action, successfully saving everyone from the building. Constable Mark Morelli remembers Marnie telling him to not forget her cat, Nero, and Constable Morelli went back into the building to find and bring Nero out safely for Marnie. The blaze, which needed more than 75 firefighters to bring under control, caused $4-million in damages.

The residents, and their pets, were all extremely lucky that night. Marnie and Nero now needed a new home, so they moved to a residence in Burlington, Ontario shortly after. At their new residence Marnie and Nero had a wonderful caretaker, who shopped at our Pet Valu Oakville store. She started to talk to Pennie and Bob, the owners, about plans for Nero when Marnie couldn’t care for him anymore. Pennie and Bob knew how important it was to Marnie that Nero would be well taken care of, and offered that when the time came, they would take Nero in.

The time did come, and Nero moved into the store in May 2013. Nero quickly adjusted to his new roommates, faster than any cat ever has. Our store owners, Pennie and Bob, knowing that Nero had been rescued from a fire years prior started researching his story. With the help of our customers, Pennie learned more about the fire and the Constables and renamed Nero to Hero. After all, not many store cats have survived what he had.

Pennie, through her customers, was also given the contact information of Mark Morelli, Hero’s hero. Not knowing where he currently lived or worked, she gave it a shot, and called him. To Pennie’s surprise, Mark was so happy to hear from her, and to learn where Hero lived. Even more surprising, Mark was so eager to see Hero that he showed up at Pet Valu Oakville 45 minutes after the phone call to see the cat he had rescued 6 years earlier. Hero, who can be a little shy, went to Mark immediately and stayed in his arms during their entire visit. Mark, an animal lover, made sure that Pennie kept his contact information should Hero ever need anything in the future.

Hero makes an impression on everyone he meets – his first owner Marnie, her caretaker, Mark, Pennie & Bob and now our customers. Here’s to Hero, for showing us how special pets can be.

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