At the local pound with my three-year-old son, Beau, he was so excited to pick a kitten.
Setting himself down on the floor of the pen, he was surrounded by dozens of tiny furry bundles, all waiting for their forever home.
Then, out of nowhere, a ginger one sat himself right on Beau’s knee.
Though he was only 12 weeks old, he was the biggest kitten in the pen.
Delighted at the attention, Beau was already besotted, so we adopted Sandy.
Back home, a special bond quickly formed between the boys as they spent every waking minute together.
Whether Beau was teasing Sandy with a string or they were curled up together on the lounge, their friendship seemed unbreakable.
Then, one night in April 2011, when we’d had Sandy for two years, I woke with a start when I felt him pawing at my arm.
It’s too early for breakfast, I thought, trying to shoo him away so I could get back to sleep.
But Sandy persisted, even biting at my hair until I got up. That’s when I realised that Beau, who had been sleeping next to me, was twitching uncontrollably.
Switching on the light, I could hear clicking noises coming from his mouth but he was unconscious.
Panicked, I woke my husband, Bryn, who called an ambulance.
The operator said Beau was having a seizure.
By now, he’d started drooling and his skin was turning blue, so the operator told us to lay him on his side until help arrived.
Thankfully, paramedics were there in minutes.
They fitted Beau with a breathing tube before wheeling him into the ambulance.
Taking a seat next to my boy in the back, I noticed Sandy had snuck in to lay under his stretcher.
I realised he didn’t want to leave his best friend, but it wasn’t safe for him to ride along so I shooed him back to our house.
‘If you didn’t find him when you did, he would have died,’ a doctor revealed at hospital.
I realised that Sandy had saved my son’s life.
Shortly afterwards, Beau was diagnosed with epilepsy and placed on medication.
Then, in May last year, I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards.
I just knew I had to enter Sandy!
Writing about how he had saved Beau’s life all those years earlier, I never expected to hear back.
But three months later, I received a call to learn our fearless feline had been crowned the winner.
I was awarded $2000 and was able to donate an extra $500 to my animal rescue group, RSPCA Burwood.
Now, Sandy and Beau, 13, remain the best of friends.
A real thrill-seeker, Beau loves swimming and snorkelling as often as he can, while Sandy still loves sleeping on Beau’s bed at night!
Although we rescued Sandy from the pound, there’s no denying he saved us.