News and Media

Harpo is just the right medicine for schoolgirl Mia

May 22, 2020
Mia and Harpo

A one-year old cat adopted from The Lost Dogs Home has turned out to be exactly what 15-year-old Mia needed as she prepares to undergo spinal fusion surgery. 

The Melbourne year-eight student has Prader–Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder due to loss of function of specific genes. In newborns, symptoms include weak muscles, poor feeding, and slow development. It is a lifelong condition and although a great deal of research is being done, to date there is no cure. 

Mia’s mum Jo said home schooling had proven stressful for Mia who relies on structure to reduce her anxiety levels.

“Her mainstream schoolwork has been eye opening to us (although she’s incredibly capable), however, her ability to wait for teachers or aides has been anxiety ridden.  Also, to add to the story Mia is waiting for spinal surgery to have her whole spine straightened and fused in the next couple of months,” said Jo.

“We always focus on the problem and target this with creative ideas. Our intervention this time was to adopt a kitten. We went to The Lost Dogs’ Home and Mia expected us to come home with a little 8-week-old kitten. Unfortunately, when we arrived a new kitten was not available, so tears ensued.

However, The Lost Dogs’ Home did not disappoint. Cattery attendant Amelia spent time finding out what we needed and shortly she had Mia playing with a one year old boy who we now know is just perfect for Mia. Especially perfect for a young girl to spend weeks laying down due to spinal surgery.”

Jo said the change in Mia was almost immediate.  “Harpo has changed anxiety to playful responsibility and life is filled with joy again. Thank you, Harpo and The Lost Dogs Home. He is such a gorgeous pussycat and he’s already changed Mia’s life. Mia now has a special buddy to see you through her through her upcoming surgery.”

The Lost Dogs’ Home spokesperson Suzana Talevski said numerous studies indicate that companion animal ownership is associated with a range of physical, psychological and social health advantages.

“Feeding and caring for a pet also encourages childhood responsibility,” said Ms Talevski.

“Pets play a very important role in enriching our lives in many different ways. We are absolutely thrilled Harpo and Mia have found each other and we wish Mia all the best of luck on her upcoming surgery.”

Note to Editors: May is also Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) awareness month.

For further information or to organise interviews please contact:

Suzana Talevski

T: 03 9321 8719

M: 0436 836 836