I don't know how anybody else can either.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
I don't know how anybody else can either.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Fortunately for Owen, there was another rowdy guy that needed a new foster home so they made the trek together. I had to laugh when I met with the other foster Mom. We both looked so guilt stricken standing in that parking lot, you'd think we had killed somebody. It was nice to know that I wasn't alone.
One of my blog readers has been contacting me from time to time about her semi-feral cat with an incurable, painful disease. She finally decided it was time to say goodbye to her girl, but was riddled with guilt that she had let it go on "too long". Then she felt guilty that she was relieved that she didn't have to worry any longer about the condition of the cat.
Why do we put ourselves through all this guilt? Here's a woman that has loved a cat unconditionally whom she could never touch, and still felt guilty when it was time to humanely say goodbye.
Sometimes I get tired of all this guilt that I bring on myself. I go into the shelter and feel overwhelming guilt that I'm leaving some to die. Am I not doing enough for the cats? For my kids? For my husband?
It's a wonder some of us can even get out of bed in the morning with all the emotional crap we lug around on our shoulders.
Yet there are others that can leave pets at the shelter because they're moving, having a baby, boyfriend/girlfriend is allergic, blah, blah, blah...(or more recently) at my veterinarian's office a couple came in to put down their dog of 8 years because he had an ear infection and they didn't like the smell. (The vet took the dog home with him)
Just for tomorrow, I'm going to live without feeling guilty about the cats in the shelter. Sounds like Xanadu, eh? Who am I kidding....
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
This little darlin' probably weighed in at 4 pounds. She looked really good and certainly captured the heart of her new Mommy.
The ONLY thing that could zap the joy out of this adoption, was watching Bridget's new family leave in tears at the ones that they couldn't help. Leave it to this eff'ing shelter to be a joy kill.
I felt a moment of bravery and walked through the cat rooms. I knelt down and bonded with a very gentle fluffy guy that was rolling around in his cage and purring. I picked him up and was petting him. I reached out for the cage card to see if I could put together the pieces to the puzzle as to why this handsome guy was at the shelter.
The card read: "Sleep only". Reason? "Too old".
Shit. Really? I bonded with this cat and he's going to die tomorrow - alone. His family dumped him in this cage instead of holding and loving him in his final moments. The City won't let me take a cat that's "Sleep Only". It's the owner's wishes and what's done is done.
I walked out with an empty cat carrier and sat in my car for a moment. I simulated LaMaze breathing exercises, desperately trying to breathe away the pain that I felt in my heart at that moment. "Breathe in....cleansing breath, out....breathe in....cleansing breath out..."
As I drove home, I tried to recapture some of the happy moments in recent times in rescue. David and I drove to Buffalo, New York on Saturday and delivered 2 kittens to a woman who drove all the way from New Jersey to adopt them. She was wonderful and burst into happy tears the moment she saw her new babies. It was a delightful moment and I couldn't help but cry with her. David thought we were crazy, but since when did men understand this sort of behaviour?
I have 3 foster home applications on my desk and am anxious to speak with these people. New foster parents mean more lives saved.
It's time for me to toughen up a bit and remember there are some things that are not in my control.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Which is exactly what happened with Arianna:
Arianna is about 15 pounds of SWEET. She was a shelter favourite and had been in a cage (in which she was far too big) for more than a month. I loved Arianna and I kept waiting for the right foster home to come forward so that I could rescue her.
My plan was to bring Arianna to my house for the afternoon for some MAJOR lovin' until I could meet with her new foster Mom tonight. I love big cats, so I was expecting some big-time squishing and kissing from my favourite girl that I waited soooo long to rescue.
That wasn't exactly what happened:
Needless to say, Arianna is still in her carrier. She'll be ok. She's going into a wonderful foster home that will take the time she needs to get used to the "bigger world" around her.
You're welcome Arianna. :)
Friday, July 23, 2010
There's been a lot of really nasty sickness at the shelter. Without proper ventilation and with the intense heat and humidity it breeds bacteria. Of course, the shelter's answer for this is to kill the cats.
On top of this, I received a link to a newspaper article from the local newspaper. A few times per year the local newspaper publishes some bullshit article about the importance of licencing, microchipping, and they throw in some statistics that they receive from some do-nothing supervisor at the shelter.
I guess that was all I needed to unleash some of the frustration that I had been feeling. The reporter received this email reply from me: (Names, location edited)
"Dear (newspaper reporter),
What a disappointing article. You only told half the story. When is the (Newspaper) going to talk about what REALLY happens at Animal Control? You quoted (shelter supervisor) in saying: "(Shelter supervisor) says in 2009 alone animal control took in 5501 cats. Out of those 3098 were euthanized and 2135 rescued or adopted..."
"Adopted"?? There are NO cat adoptions at Animal Control. Animal Control does NOT permit adoptions at their shelter. Owners bring their cats to Animal Control and must check a box that says "Sleep or Adoption". The cats are not sleeping and they are NOT adopted.
Try going to Animal Control and ask to see their cats for adoption. It doesn't exist. They kill them or reunite them with their owners. That's it. They let me in to rescue cats when I have available foster space to help them.
(The shelter) signed a non-compete agreement with the SPCA, in turn SPCA is suppose to take cats from Animal Control. It rarely happens. SPCA hasn't taken any cats from Animal Control in months and months.
I rescue from this shelter 3-4 days per week. When is the (Newspaper) going to start telling the public what really happens? Quit playing it safe and reporting the same crap twice a year about these two shelters. You are only reporting PART of the story.
People think they're leaving their cats there to be adopted - but they are often euthanized the next day. I've been rescuing out of this shelter for years and am tired of the public being misinformed as to what happens. I'm sick of hearing (the shelter supervisor) quoting the same statistics over and over again like he cares."
I never write this kind of thing and actually send the email. I keep my head down and rescue cats. But I pushed the send button and it felt good.
After I pushed the send button, I was told by a friend in rescue that the new SPCA Board President is the same veterinarian that gets PAID to kill the cats every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Funny, since he's been President, SPCA hasn't rescued anybody. Might come out of the Prez's pocketbook, I guess.
It's going to take some courage to push "Publish" on this blog post...but here goes.....
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
So that brings me to my story about "Mable". Mable is a silver Persian who was abandoned at the shelter. She was already spayed, declawed and about 3 years old. I love her. I don't usually go gaga over Persians, but she had SWEET written all over her smooshy face.
I rescued Mable today without really having a plan for her. I just couldn't let her die. I just couldn't. You'll be able to hear how enamoured I am with her in this video. (Prepare to fall in love with the black and white kitten towards the end of this video)
I'm not sure why I took my camera into the vets today, but decided to take a quick video of the cats milling about the office. It must feel SOOOOOO good to stretch your legs after being cooped up in a tiny cage for so long.
The funny part about this video, is that the veterinary assistant fell in love with Mable the Persian too, and took her home tonight to see if she'll get along with her cats. Fingers crossed that Mable found her forever home right away!!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
So it shouldn't surprise me that shortly after I left the shelter to receive a phone call from Kim:
Kim: Beth!! We gave you the wrong cat! That wasn't Toby!
Me: (Stunned silence)
Kim: You rescued DONOVAN, so go ahead and bring him back (big pause)...if you want.
Me: You want me to bring him back to death row after I sang my rescue song to him and he's happy and safe now?
Kim: I don't want you to bring him back, but I know you didn't plan on rescuing him.
Needless to say, I didn't bring back Donovan. How could I?But Toby is still at the shelter. I called the foster Mom and (God bless her) she said she'd take both cats if Toby got along with other cats. Fingers crossed that Toby is OK with other cats.
I also rescued a very handsome HUGE orange and white guy named "Luke":Of course, Luke didn't fit properly in the cat carrier that I brought. So I had to borrow one from the shelter.
Again, it wasn't a bad day. It was just like walking uphill in the hot sun - a little sticky - but I was still moving and grateful to have legs.
Friday, July 16, 2010
I couldn't help but snap a picture of Gus nestled in the unmade bed in my son's room. He looks happy enough. :)
Don't laugh, but I also rescued a little tabby guy named "Danny":The staff had just moved him (with a bank of cages) into a cat room full of really sick cats when I arrived. It would only be a matter of days before he would get sick and die. I really shouldn't have another foster kitten, but I couldn't let him die. I just couldn't.
He has the same name as my ex-husband (puke) so I'll have to come up with something more endearing for him. But how cute is this kitten???
I'm sort of hoping he'll blend in and David won't know he's a new one.
Besides, I don't think he'll really mind:
Special note to my darling husband: "Happy Anniversary, sweetheart...thank you for your love, your support, and for making my life so beautiful every day."
Thursday, July 15, 2010
It's been a year since I had my outdoor cat enclosure built - aka The Cat Den It was really and truly the best money I have ever spent on my cats and has improved my (and their) lives enormously.
That poor chipmunk must've poked his head up and said "Holy Sh&t!"
In the spirit of doing something "normal" today, I went to my favourite Home Sense store and bought a new comforter for my bed. Anybody who has cats knows that you can never buy a comforter that you REALLY want. It's always about what shows the least amount of cat hair, etc.
There's a new comforter on the bed (with minimal cat hair and cat barf stains), my nails are done, my legs are shaved and dinner is cooking.
"Normal" isn't looking too bad right now. :)
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
As usual, I really put my soul out there for the world to see yesterday.
Going into the shelter after 52 cats and kittens were euthanized was surreal. So many empty cages and one dimwit employee who was happy that there were 52 less cage to clean. (Don't get me started!)
I rescued FIVE adult cats today! It was my plan to take a little video of each one, but Dimwit employee was banging around cleaning cages and I wasn't comfortable doing my little rescue song in front of her. :)
I was only able to get Bonnie's video, but ended up taking a great video of what it looks like when they're all about to be loaded up in my car. I love this part with their little noses sniffing the air:
Many hugs and thank you's to all the people responsible for my renewed strength today.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I woke up to an email from a friend in rescue whose foster kitten died in her arms last night. She was up all night with the poor little angel. This isn't the first kind of email I've received like this from a foster parent. It's never easy - in fact, it's horrible, but death is part of rescuing sometimes. Certainly during kitten season - it seems more common. I really hurt for her. She had "Tinka" for more than 4 weeks when she died.
When I went to the shelter this morning for a small rescue, I left the house with a heavy heart. I tried to avoid sad songs on the radio and sang out loud to the rock station. I was probably too fragile to be at the shelter the day before they euthanize the cats. I should've known that. But when I arrived, I was greeted with, "Beth, you don't want to go back in the cat rooms. The cages are already marked (for euthanasia) and it's not a pretty sight."
Well, shit. I had cats to rescue. I had to go back there.
I was devastated. It wasn't just the feral cats that would die tomorrow. There were cats rubbing on their cage bars, purring as they saw me. Mom cats snuggled with their babies. Paws coming out of the cages. I had never seen so many marked for euthanasia.
I found myself taking some of the condemned cats out of their cages. I held them for a moment. Kissed them. Stroked their face and rubbed under their chin. Many of them had never been loved. Sadly, I put each one back in their marked cage and I grieved for each one. I silently apologized to them and cursed the world.
I left with two kittens: (Only "Diego" had a picture)
Yeah, I don't feel positive today. I woke up to a woman devastated because she so desperately tried to save a kitten's life, and ended the day with dozens and dozens of adorable cats and kittens who will die tomorrow for the reason that nobody wants them and there are not enough homes.
To Diane: This post is for you. I spoke with you last night and you told me you didn't see why it was wrong for your cat to have 2...3...litters of kittens because you found them all "good homes". You were so unhappy with me for what I had to say. Do you get it NOW?
I need a good cry - a really good ugly cry. Then I'll get up tomorrow and do it all again.
Monday, July 12, 2010
I felt a little blue this morning going to the shelter. Sometimes it just works out that way for me in the summer. My friend Kathleen told me this afternoon, "Beth, if you look at the big picture you'll go crazy....keep it small." I knew just what she meant.
Seeing all those cats in the shelter today, not counting the ones that died this morning, and not counting the ones that arrived today...and tomorrow....DID drive me crazy.
I hate this time of year. Is it October yet?
Friday, July 09, 2010
Yesterday, after a VERY long day of cat-related stuff I was pulled over by a police officer about the age of my son. The kid still had acne on his face, bless his heart. I was feeling all warm and fuzzy about him, (because my son is studying to be a police officer) when he started yelling at me about speeding. My mind was fuzzy, but I heard things like... a roadside suspension....50 kms over the speed limit...what's the matter with you...blah blah blah..
In my younger days, a smile would've wiped away his hostility, but I went with what I knew - menopause and exhaustion. I found myself telling him that the heat was making me want to puke...I had hot flashes...my car smelled like cat poop...I'm sorry, but I just want to go HOME....blah blah blah.
He tipped his hat and said, "Drive safely" and left. Maybe the old gal hasn't lost her touch, eh?
I received a wonderful update on "Skippy" a very cute orange guy that was adopted directly from the shelter:
A few weeks ago my mother and I met you at the shelter to adopt "Skippy" who is now Gus. I just wanted to update you and let you know he is doing great. He has settled in, gained weight, and been health cleared by the vet. He is really a wonderful boy and I am so grateful to you for the work that you do that brought him into our lives. I initially wanted to adopt a cat to give my puppy a friend and I have attached a couple of pictures to show you how wonderful that worked out (for Gus and Annie)!!
Thank you Beth!"
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Like many of us, we have a tendency to say, "I'm going on holidays", "I have too many foster cats already..." "I don't want to foster right now..."
But not Justine and Shannon.
They sat on email yesterday - thousands of miles apart and figured out a way to rescue the 4 boys that were so callously abandoned at the shelter AND turned away by a staff member who was fed up with cleaning their cages.
They worked out a beautiful plan, contacted me and my boys were rescued today:
I was so overwhelmed by this rescue. I had really given up hope for these cats and mentally said goodbye to each of them. I felt sick for most of the day and was afraid to leave my phone or email. I hate being "The Governor".
I also rescued two others while I was there:
No truer words were ever spoken. Thank you to everyone who sent advice, positive thoughts, and did *something*.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Monday, July 05, 2010
In other words....she didn't want to clean their cages any longer and felt that they had been at the shelter "long enough".
These cats aren't hurting anybody. They're in the dog area so that they can remain together.
Unless they can be rescued, they will remain together in death.
They don't have names, but they do need to be rescued in pairs.
All except the first cat pictured have been neutered. I wouldn't ask for help except they are all so sweet and loving. They're bigger cats and all are adults - probably under 5 years old.
Friday, July 02, 2010
Tana is a sweet little black love muffin. She's been at the shelter in that frickin' microwave oven they call a "cage" for 3 months. She's probably already spayed. I love her. I have to help her before it's too late.Titan! Oh my gosh. Just look at those tom cat cheeks! I want to get him out of there so badly. He's such a nice boy. :)
It won't be easy to go into the shelter on Monday. It never is this time of year. If you can help the cats, please let me know.
I could use a little bit more hope.