DAVENPORT - Dr. Kathryn Dierks gives healing attention to her patients with two or four legs.
"Playing with the cats, that's the fun part," she said, on Tuesday, August 8. "Just giving them love, like this one."
A lucky tabby got a smooch from the Emergency Room doctor from Genesis Health System. She also offers TLC for homeless felines at Kings Harvest Pet Rescue, 2504 West Central Park, in Davenport.
It's a chance for her to make new furry friends at the shelter, or she can catch up with older buddies still waiting to be adopted.
"They love her, I think, more than she loves them," said Kings Harvest Director Terri Gleize.
It's just one reason why Gleize nominated Dr. Dierks for a Pay It Forward award.
"I want to pay it forward because you're my hero," Gleize said during the presentation.
As the cats look on, it's a big surprise that Kathryn immediately pays forward herself.
"Please keep this for the shelter," she said, while depositing $300 into the shelter's donation box.
Generosity that caught the eye of WQAD and Ascentra Credit Union.
"She clearly is a person that loves to give back," said Jennifer Naeve, Ascentra Credit Union. "It takes a special person to work at an E.R. and come here to volunteer to take care of the pets with such love."
There are emotional moments because she really does care for the cats. She has five or her own at home.
"I think it's making a huge difference with all these precious little souls," she continued. "They'd be completely helpless if it wasn't for this shelter."
Before or after a busy day at the hospital, you'll find her making the rounds with these purring patients.
"She saves lives, people's lives, and she saves animal lives," Gleize said.
Kathryn is planning a special fundraiser connected to her plans to run in the upcoming Chicago Marathon. It's just the latest way she finds to give back to the shelter. She hopes to raise $2,620, symbolic of the marathon's distance.
If she qualifies for the Boston Marathon, she will donate .50 for every dollar raised. Here's the link to her campaign: https://funds.gofundme.com/dashboard/running-for-rescue .
She's also selling running t-shirts with her logo, and all proceeds will be donated to the shelter: https://www.etsy.com/listing/549846903/running-for-rescue-kings-harvest-pet?ref= published alert.
Needless to say, the Pay It Forward was a big surprise.
"I'm completely honored and humbled by it," she concluded. "I'm so touched. I can't even tell you how touched I am."
A kind doctor who also cares for cats -- what a sweet way to Pay It Forward.