People.com Lifestyle Pets Army Soldier Helped Through Difficult Deployment by Rescue Kitten Working to Bring Cat to U.S. Army Sergeant Ash met the kitten when the cat was ill and just a week old, and helped nurse the animal back to health By Kelli Bender Kelli Bender Kelli Bender is the Pets Editor for PEOPLE Digital and PEOPLE magazine. She has been with the PEOPLE brand for more than eight years, working as a writer/producer across PEOPLE's Lifestyle, Features, and Entertainment verticals before taking on her current role. Kelli is also an editor on PEOPLE's Stories to Make You Smile and serves as an editorial lead on PEOPLE's World's Cutest Rescue Dog Contest and Pet Product Awards. Before joining PEOPLE, Kelli helped AOL and Whalerock launch a pet lifestyle site called PawNation. She is a pet parent to a cat named Wallace, and her professional and personal devotion to animals has taken her to three dog weddings ... so far. People Editorial Guidelines Published on November 9, 2020 03:30 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Guardian of Rescue During a recent deployment in the Middle East, Army Sergeant Ash received difficult family news. Separated by thousands of miles from her friends and family, the news hit Sgt. Ash especially hard. She credits a stray kitten she met during her deployment for comforting her through this emotionally wrenching period. The kitten, a calico Sgt. Ash named Rona, was near death when she encountered the Army soldier. Sgt. Ash nursed the feline back to health, and in exchange, Rona comforted Sgt. Ash through her heartache. Sgt. Ash will soon return to the United States and she is understandably desperate to bring the adoring kitten with her. Guardians of Rescue, an animal rescue organization that strives "to facilitate and foster programs and activities that further the unique benefits of interaction between people and animals", is working with Sgt. Ash to get her furry friend to the U.S. Louisiana Veteran Reunited with Beloved Dog Lost During Hurricane Laura "We know all too well how important and lifesaving these pets are to our soldiers stationed in the Middle East," Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue, said in a statement. "When they come back home, they can’t bear to leave them there, and we agree that it’s not safe. Leaving the cat in the Middle East will end up being a death sentence for it. We will make every effort to bring Rona home to her, but we need the public’s support to help make it happen." Guardian of Rescue Sgt. Ash and Rona met thanks to the army soldier's roommate, who worked for a veterinarian on base and introduced the pair after Rona, then a sickly week-old kitten, was brought into the vet. Sgt. Ash committed herself to the kitten's health and provided around-the-clock care for the animal, including helping her through several close calls. Once the kitten emerged from her health battles alive and strong, Sgt. Ash decided to name the cat Rona. Dressed to Impress: Florida Police Dog Wears Uniform and Tie for His Official K-9 Badge Photo "Once she overcame being sick, she decided to name her Rona, which was after the coronavirus, because she felt that the virus is tough to fight, and Rona had put up a great fight," Guardians of Rescue shared in a release. Guardian of Rescue Guardians of Rescue is currently working to navigate Rona through the complicated process of international pet travel. Based on their past successful efforts to reunite soldiers and the pets they met on deployment, Guardians of Rescue knows this process is costly. There will be fees for having the kitten go to medical screenings prior to being approved for travel and then expenses of the travel itself. To help Sgt. Ash cover this cost and raise awareness about her story, Guardians of Rescue has put together a fundraiser for Sgt. Ash and Rona. "We saved each other and we belong together," Sgt. Ash. said in a statement. "I pray that Guardians of Rescue will be able to bring Rona home to the States, where we can live out our lives together. I’m grateful for their help, as well as to everyone who donates to help make it possible."