Monday, October 03, 2011

A Rescue & A Soapbox Moment

I was back at the shelter this afternoon rescuing a cute little guy named "Turnip":
David said his named sounded a little too much like "Turner" and was suspicious that he might be a keeper.  Gratefully, Turnip is on his way to a new foster home tonight. 

There were lots of sweet faces at the shelter and tomorrow is a euthanasia day.  It wasn't pleasant rescuing there today - especially when I could only take one.

There's something I really need to get off my chest.  I don't think I'll edit what I'm going to write so that it stays "pure" from my heart to the paper:

I don't like taking cats from the public.

There.  I said it.

I can't tell you how many surrender calls I get from the general public each day.  ALL rescues get calls like this.  Some rescues are much nicer than I am about it.   Most of the time I don't call them back unless I think I can give them counsel and salvage the situation. 

Over the weekend we had a call from someone I know.  She knew a lady who desperately needed to rehome her cat because "the daughter was going to throw the cat outside and it's a purebred Ragdoll".  "Hmmm...purebred Ragdoll.."  As it just so happens, we had a Ragdoll on our site and multiple phone calls on her.  Maybe I could get this little girl who is about to be dumped adopted right away! 

To make a long story short, I sent an adopter to this person's house.  I had no intention on taking an adoption fee, as I had not vetted the cat, but I did screen the adopter and knew she was terrific.  Not only was the cat NOT a Ragdoll...but the lady lied about the hair length and the colour!  The poor cat was emaciated and the woman felt so badly she took the cat home with her.

Happy ending, right?  Not for me.  I felt duped.  I sent a kind woman to drive HOURS on my say-so to adopt a Ragdoll that needed help.  It was a rescue.  Yes, it was definitely a rescue.  But our rescue didn't look so hot.   I feel awful that I didn't meet the cat, that I took someone's word for it and trusted that they were truthful.  Silly moi. 

When people are desperate, they'll lie through their teeth to dump their cat on you.  Litterbox issues, aggression problems etc.  I just can't take owner's cats any longer.  This is the last time I'll listen to an owner whine about why they need to rehome their "precious cat".  No more.  I'm done.  Take the cat to the shelter, and I'll rescue him or her there.  Why should I make it easy on you?  Why should I sterilize the process of abandoning your cat by placing him in a loving foster home? 

I don't expect everyone to agree with me.  I didn't write this to start a debate, so please don't send me nasty comments.  :)   I think it's GREAT if rescues want to take cats from owners.  I just can't do it.  

So there it is.  Unedited.  It seems a little harsh, and there's lots of room for grey areas - nothing is absolute.

  I'm stepping off the soapbox and pushing "Publish". 


Deb said...

I don't trust what they tell you (or don't tell you) either. Had too much experience with that one.
And for the icing on the cake, the owner will hand the cat to you and think that a couple of cans of cat food should be a good enough donation. They shut the door and the problem for them is solved. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Beth, Over the years I have found that here is no problem so big that money can't fix it. Double or triple the adoption fee. Think of it as a fund raising opportunity :)

Increase the fee for taking on a surrender until you can hear the "pain" they are feeling. That should go a long way to relieving your angst.

Harpurrs Mom

House of the Discarded said...

Harpurr's Mom: Great suggestion! I used to charge a surrender fee that was equal to what the shelter charged, but found that the people ended up balking on that and making me feel guilty for asking for it. UGH.


~*Connie*~ said...

you are not alone on this. The shelter I volunteer for quite often has staff that need to vent because people lie to them all the time. Not only that but their cat is the bestest most wonderful awesome cat in the entire world that they should be GRATEFUL to take .. heck they should be paying the people to drop it off.. *rolls eyes* They won't dane to stop in and look at all the other wonderful cats already there up for adoption

Melissa W. said...

Keep up the great work with the shelter rescues!

No one can fault you for feeling that way about owner surrenders. Honestly, other groups probably feel that way too, but don't have a backbone to say it.

We all back you 100% in whatever you do! Let the rescue song continue, and our group thrive!

FHCR has the most caring, loving and supportive TEAM that anyone could ask for!

As a co-worker of mine always says "LET'S KEEP ON ROCKING!"

Anonymous said...

I am a huge advocate of a surrender fee. It weeds out the truly desperate wanting help and those looking for an easy fix. $200 minimum and if you do send someone directly the fee still applies and have them email you a photo of the cat first to avoid a similar occurrence.

Kristen said...

I think your points are spot-on...and absolutely right. Taking a discard from someone only lightens their load. As far as they're concerned, fluffy went to a loving home that night and they truly did what was best for the cat. I see SO many ads from people wanting to give away their pets for free for the good of the "cat". Cheap self-justification, and they don't deserve to have rose colored glasses, nor do you deserve to have to absorb the painful part for them.

andrea said...

not alone at all on this point

been my personal policy for a long long time -I very rarely will take in a surrendered cat - perhaps because I have walked too many shelters making life and death choices for cats and other animals :(

Random Felines said...

We agree - the sob stories get old. Not to say that some people aren't telling the truth, but those get run over but the others that will say anything to make THEMSELVES feel better. For those - we would love to take them on a tour on euthanasia day and make them think about the choices they make in their lives. Mom gets nuts about this aren't alone.

Anonymous said...

Please don't paint everyone with the same brush. Until you know someone's story it's easy to sit behind your computer and judge, I did the same thing until it happened to me.
I left an abusive marriage with an infant AND my 3 cats. I had a place to go, my parents 5 bedroom house was avail for me and my baby but not for the cats, so I got my own apartment. I had to leave a job that I loved and there are no jobs in this small town. A year after moving here I am forced to make a heart wrenching decision, find new homes for my cats. My savings has run out and I have no income. Do not qualify for welfare because EI paid for my tuition (no double dipping from the gov allowed), 3 year wait list for affordable housing. I keep stalling and drawing from credit cards to pay another month's rent because I can't fathom parting with them, they are my 4 legged children and I love them.
My oldest cat was acting weird and loosing weight, I just paid a $300 vet bill to find out that he's fine but getting older and maybe change his food to something higher fat. Thank God it wasn't anything serious, of course I can't afford that vet bill and of course I can't even tell anyone in my family that I had to put out that expense, they already think I am insane.
If this is posted great, but if not fine too. I just wanted to say that sometimes life knocks you down and then when you think things are getting better it knocks in your teeth.

House of the Discarded said...

Anonymous: You're one of the "Grey areas". I was really talking about people who misrepresent their cats. I know who you are personally, and believe me - you weren't part of this equation. ((HUGS))


Caroline said...

Hey Beth,
Can you possibly do a little blog about the 18 yr old long hair declawed cat at the shelter, he isn't on the urgent list yet but he will be soon no doubt. Horrible for a senior to be discarded like this.

FYI to readers: 2 Himalayans and a gorgeous snowshoe at the shelter.