First Phil Woodson, his girlfriend Jen Curcio and some of their friends saved the then-seven-week-old Mocha from a tree. Mocha then returned the favor and refused to move from Woodson's side for more than three months as he recovered from a severe car accident.
By By:BILL RETTEW, JR.
Mocha, a two-year-old house cat, was selected as co-winner along with Roxy, a yellow labrador, of The Phoenix's February Pet Photo contest.
Both pets and their owners will split $350 worth of pet related prizes.
Woodson was involved in an automobile accident at Coldstream Road and Route 113 on Oct. 20, 2002, that saw him airlifted to the University of Pennsylvania Hospital, where he stayed for nine days.
Mocha never left the bedside of the then-Devon Preparatory School senior, while he slowly recovered from a shattered hip, a shattered liver and a brain bleed.
"She got my mind off of things," said the 18-year-old Phoenixville resident. "Mocha made me more determined to get through it. Mocha basically never left my side until it was time to eat. She was very loving."
At first, when he woke in the hospital, Woodson was unable to speak because of gastrointestinal tubes placed down his throat, which kept him from talking. His arms were strapped down to the bed so he couldn't remove those tubes.
Under those conditions and under the effects of morphine, Woodson scribbled two things on a piece of paper: his girlfriend's name, Jen, along with a drawing of Mocha.
For two weeks prior to the accident, Woodson had kept Mocha hidden in his room from his father who disliked pets. During the hospital stay, Mocha was discovered and Woodson's father has since become a big Mocha fan who often summons the feline with a call of "Shrimp."
Although his hip hurts during the winter months and he'll never be able to consume alcohol because of the brain and liver injuries, Woodson is an upbeat biomedical engineering student at Drexel University.
He hopes to work in a research laboratory with implant materials for either tissue or bone implants.
"I always wanted to do that but the accident helped me decide which field concentration," he said.
Sponsors of The Phoenix's February Pet Photo Contest included Pickering Valley Feed and Farm Store, Pet Supplies "Plus," For Pets' Sake, Tom's Pet Outlet, Pampered Pooch, Carolyn's Pretty Pups, Oxyfresh, K-9 Designs, Pet Paradise, Inc. Pet Sitters Unlimited, The Gallery at Cedar Hollow, All Creatures Great and Small and the Trappe Feed & Pet Supply.