NEW JERSEY – An 87-year-old woman who was luckily rescued in July after two days stranded in the Pinelands said she got another miracle — her missing cat survived a month in those same woods.
Mokey, the gray tabby cat, was with Jeannette Haskins when she took a wrong turn on a trip to visit family in Maryland and was stranded on a sandy road near Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
During the ordeal, Haskins cracked the windows of her Cadillac, and Mokey managed to escape in the night.
Last week, Haskins’ daughter Bonnie Baker was lucky enough to trap Mokey in the same spot where her mother was lost.
“The base worked with me and gave me permission to go in and spend the night,” stated Baker.
She drove every weekend from her home in Millersville, Maryland to set out some food and traps in the area.
Over time she caught five strays, none of which ended up being Mokey.
Then, around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 29, Baker checked on the trap and found Mokey.
“I was just crying,” Baker stated. “It’s been so exhausting. It’s been expensive and exhausting.”
She explained that she kept looking for her mother’s sake, but also for Mokey’s.
“Just imagining him there, I really felt that he was alive,” Baker stated.
She called her mother that very moment and Baker drove the cat to her mother that night.
“She got down here at 2 a.m. with him and as soon as he got out of the cage, I knew it was Mokey,” Haskins stated. “He ran right to me, and started rubbing his head against me. Now, he just will not leave me alone. He wants to be on me every minute.”
Haskins said a microchip confirmed that the cat was, indeed, Mokey.
“We never thought we’d get him. That’s a long time for him to be alive in those woods,” she stated.
Haskins explained that she has been blessed with a series of miracles.
“It’s a miracle really that he survived,” Haskins state. “That wood, there’s everything out there.”
She said that Mokey is in very good shape, but was very skinny and covered in fleas when he found.
The other miracle, she explained, is her own.
“I took a wrong turn and ended up on this dirt road and then I got stuck,” Haskins stated. “Then my iPhone went dead. I left the battery on in my car for air conditioning.”
When her car ran out of gas, she rolled the windows down ever-so-slightly to escape the stifling heat inside the car.
“It was 107 (degrees) in there,” Haskins stated. “I felt so sorry for him because he was so dehydrated by that time, I guess he just went out out of desperation.”
Haskins noted that she had brought two food bowls for Mokey, and used them to catch rain water.
“It was so hot and I prayed for rain. I said, ‘If it would only rain, I could catch some rain,’ and you know, it started out of the clear blue in the morning. It just poured, and only for about 10 minutes,” Haskins said.
She was able to fill the bowls twice, she continued.
Still, Haskins was thinking to prepare for the worst. She was hallucinating and passed out a couple of times, she said.
“I knew I couldn’t survive another day,” Haskins stated. “I thought, ‘What a way to die,’ you know? It was only, I guess, an hour, I saw these faces they were peaking around my door. I said, ‘It’s a miracle.’ I said, ‘You’re saving my life.’”
The faces peaking in were that of soldiers, members of the Massachusetts National Guard, who were completing a training operation in the area.
When she was found, Haskins was suffering from dehydration and possible heat illness.
Two days after she was rescued, Haskins made it to Maryland just in time to celebrate her 87th birthday. She was grateful for her daughter’s persistence.
“Without her, it just would never have happened,” Haskins said.
Baker explained that the base had been so helpful and accommodating. They were equally surprised when she was reunited with Mokey.
“I think they thought I was a little crazy. They couldn’t believe it, because I’m sure they thought ‘This is a cat,’” she stated.