Tuesday, December 31, 2013
We had a beautifully successful year for the rescue. As I type this, we are just a few adoptions short of 600 adoptions for 2013. SIX HUNDRED souls now have homes that are Forever when they had no hope at all.
Just that stat alone is enough to keep me going for 2014.
I acknowledge that I'm often very critical of other rescues. Maybe it's my own insecurities showing, but mainly it's because I'm terrified of making the same mistakes. One "rescue" recently publicly threatened to euthanize a bunch of cats in her care unless another rescues helped her. She didn't have any room for these cats.. Ironically, this woman is an advocate for CHANGE at the high-kill shelter, where they euthanize cats for time and space! I think the most shocking part of this was that people were rallying to help this woman! They were sending her money, etc. Yes, this woman continues to run a local rescue despite (what I believe to be) extorting money from people on Facebook.
Have I been doing it wrong all this time? I've always felt that being fiscally responsible is the ONLY way that people will rally to help me and our rescue. Who wants to give a "rescue" $20.00 for them to squander it away? I watched in horror as the Facebook people were offering hundred's of $$'s to this woman who said she was going to kill her rescued cats in her care and it was going to "kill her to do so". Did they realize they might be giving her hundred's of $$'s to kill the cats she promised to help?
I've banged my head against the wall a number of times over this and still can't figure it out.
Regardless, I'm a happy and grateful rescuer that is blessed to have some of the best volunteers around. We have a drama-free rescue with people who all like each other and support one another. Even if we don't always agree, or have moments of frustration, we are assured that we're all doing the very best we can for the cats.
I'll be happy to say goodbye to 2013 and welcome a new year with new hope and energy.
Yes....energy. Emphasis on energy...please.
Friday, December 27, 2013
No wonder I'm so relieved when Christmas is over!!
Today was the first somewhat normal rescue day. We went to the low-kill shelter and rescued 7 or 8 cats. I think we only rescued 2 older kittens and the rest were really sweet adult cats. It felt good to be there and rescuing with the least amount of stress. I didn't really feel like we were leaving behind anyone to die and the staff was happy to see us.
I have two sick kittens in my "kitten room". Colourful snot and various sounds of snorting and sneezing permeate the walls. I've been so busy that I haven't been able to spend as much time with these two cuties as I would've liked, so now when I go into the room they look at me like, "HOLY SHIT! RUN! She's going to put stuff in our eyes and squirt gunk down our throats!!! ARGH!!!!" Poor guys -- I need to lay down with them and read a book or something.
Every year on Boxing Day (December 26th), we meet with David's extended family for some holiday catching up. They're really a lovely family and I really enjoy them. But every time we're together the very first question that is asked is, "So Beth. How many cats do you have now?" It's like out of a commercial or something - forks drop to the plates, the the usual murmurs of conversations subside. "How many, Beth?" Seriously - no matter what number I would say, they all exclaim "WHOA!!!!!" Sometimes I feel like the family freak show that they talk about after we leave. As we walk down the driveway, I can almost hear them say, "David should've stayed married to Gaylle...they only had 1 dog then!" Blah blah blah.
Ooo. My insecurities are showing! What would June Cleaver say?
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
There's no doubt that I lost my mojo for writing here. After 5 years of writing, I felt like so many of my posts sounded angry, jaded and genuinely pissed off. I was certain that people were reading my blog thinking, "What a little whiner!" or "Same shit, different day. " I had spent some time rereading my older posts when I was still so excited about rescuing and would leave the shelter with 20+ cats in my car! It was joyful and I used to look forward to writing about my daily events after I put dinner in the oven and waited for David to come home. I used to write about funny things and laugh at my own inadequacies.
So how do I begin writing again? What do I say that could possibility hold my interest and yours too? I've always written for myself.
I wanted to... write the day our beloved cat "Pella" unexpectedly died. I was so angry that day. She came to me after being thrown out of a car window in a box with her litter of kittens. I had so much to say about her. She was the best cat we ever had. Everybody loved that chubby "Bowling ball" black cat.
I wanted to... write when we started fostering an ancient pug named "Doug". He has brought so much joy into our home. I wanted to tell you that he snores and farts.
I wanted to... let you all know how much I appreciated the amazing outpouring of love and care after I wrote about my son leaving an abusive relationship. Read about it here. I wanted you to know that he's living in our spare room and very depressed. We're trying to get him some help, but he's stubborn. I wanted you to know that HIS CATS haven't left his side. They love him.
I wanted to....tell you that we took on another Petsmart store beginning in January! It looks like we'll be able to rescue more cats.
I wanted to....tell you that I played with two severely handicapped 8 week old kittens, then had to authorize their euthanasia. I had to separate the less handicapped baby from his severely handicapped brothers before they were lovingly put to sleep. The remaining sibling cried for his brothers. It was a day that I needed to talk and share.
There has been so much to share and so much I've wanted to write about. But I've felt frozen and incapable of saying anything that was meaningful to anybody. How long do people write in blogs? I've had a lot of emails from people asking me to write again.
I've missed you too.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Can't I just go back to buying Ninja Turtle stuff and Pokemon cards? I miss those days.
It was a rough day. Our "Melvin" passed away. You can read about him here. I always grieve for every loss of little life. But it's been a while since I sobbed after authorizing his euthanasia this afternoon. Losing Melvin really hurt. I guess I put myself too far out on an emotional limb. Maybe I've just been too stressed. Who knows? But if you had met Melvin, you would've loved him too. His vet bills will be in the thousands of dollars. Ugh :(
Lately, there's been lots of talk on social media sites about several "rescues" that shouldn't be calling themselves "rescues". Some people are starting a rescue of their own. But you need more than just a name to start a rescue.
Let me tell you what you're buying into:
1. You'll be financially and emotionally responsible for EVERY cat and EVERY volunteer in your organization.
2. You'll need to be available 7 days per week and 24 hours per day.
3. Looking for volunteers? Good luck with that - so is every animal rescue organization. What makes you think you're so special?
4. YOU will be the only one that can say, "Yes, I authorize the euthanasia." and accept the consequences of those actions. You'll have to deal with your own grief and those of the volunteer that has loved him.
5. After you've spent THOUSANDS of dollars on a kitten that has died anyway, you'll have to sit and wonder if you made the right decision. Think of the cats you could've saved with that money!
6. Then you realize: He was worth every penny.
7. People will get angry with you. They'll adopt a wonderful, healthy cat who will get sick two weeks after adoption and they'll blame you. They'll want their money back. They'll want to give back the cat. They'll threaten to tell all their friends how shitty YOUR rescue is, and it'll be your job to professionally choke back what you REALLY want to say and give them their money back so you can bring back the cat into your rescue and away from those assholes who shouldn't have adopted him anyway.
8. You'll need money. LOTS of money. Money for spays and neuters, vaccinations, deworming, and vet exams. There will be worried foster parents that will call you at 2 am about a limping kitten and x-rays that will be needed. There will be "Melvins" that cost thousands of $$'s and you can't say that you don't have the money to treat him. The cat AND the volunteer that loves him are counting on YOU to make sound financial decisions for the rescue to insure that there is always enough money for emergencies.
9. Of course, you'll want your adoption fee to include the spay or neuter surgery. If you're a legitimate rescue and are concerned about cat overpopulation, you'll insist on it. Who is going to pay the vets?
10. Ah yes. Our hardworking veterinarians! They deserve to get paid on time. How quickly your bills will add up!! It's always more than you think it's going to be. Our rescue has 22 affiliated veterinarians to insure that ALL of our volunteers and adopters have a clinic nearby.
11. Your family won't be happy because the calls will come in during movies, dinners, and family events. They'll glare at you as it rings....AGAIN. You can turn off your cell phone, but you know it'll be ringing and the voicemails will be waiting for you. Your heart will always be thinking about who might be calling.
12. Bookkeeping. Yes, Revenue Canada (Canadian IRS) will want to know what you're doing. Even if you're not a Registered Canadian Charity, you'll still have to keep track of your accounts. Don't know the difference between a credit and a debit? That's a shame. Find somebody who does.
13. How will all these cats that you're rescuing get adopted? Sure, you want to help them all. People will constantly call you. You'll have to learn to say "no". Your heart will hurt when they ask you to rescue a black cat and you already have 20 in your program. Foster parents will wonder why THEIR foster cat hasn't been adopted.
14. Think this isn't a business? Think again.
15. Just as you think things are organized and you have a moment to breathe, one of your foster parents will need a break and a cat will need to be moved, or an adopted cat is being returned because it's pee'ing on the couch. Of course, the adopter didn't get the urine tested! You'll have to pay for that when the cat comes back!
Believe me - I've barely scratched the surface. I'm sure those who are reading could add to this list - please do!!!
Negative post tonight? Maybe. But don't let it fool you - Cat rescue has been by far the most rewarding thing I've ever done with my life. I love the people that I work with and I wake up each day wondering who will be adopted and who I can help. I'm frustrated, frightened and my anxiety is always peaked. But I wouldn't trade my life for anything.
Friday, October 18, 2013
I don't really have anything controversial to write about today. I've started to write about the several local "rescues" who have turned out to be hoarders and one in particular who continues to dodge the authorities. Sometimes I'm in the mood to argue a point and other times...well...I feel too beaten up to do it.
My 25 year old son fled his apartment where he lived with his girlfriend and 2 cats the other night. He showed up at our door at 7 am with 2 cats and all of his belongings. We knew that the girl was abusive and my son was "battered". But he wouldn't leave her and despite numerous attempts and begging from us he'd go back. He came home bruised and a bone broken in his foot where she stomped on it. Apparently, he woke up in the middle of the night with a knife to his throat. Police were called and she was taken away - ANOTHER 3 day psych watch where she leaves only to return the same pathetic mentally ill human being.
So why am I writing about this? My sons cats were our cats. They used to live with us. They have observed the abuse and I can say that they seem different. Sure, they're worried about a new environment. But you can tell that they seem happier in a happier home with peace. They have stuck to my son like glue - sitting on his bed and running to him when he comes through the door after work. Since my son was always going back to the crazy girl, I was terrified that she would do something to the cats too. They were innocent and frightened of the yelling, screaming and throwing things.
Now there are 2 more cats in our house and the games for dominance begins. I'm already stressed, so the hissing, growling and usual cat-crappiness isn't helping. We're trying to help our son and once again, begging him to consider counseling and praying he doesn't return to her. He's handsome, smart and adores cats....you'd think that the world of women would be his, wouldn't you? A guy like that should never have to settle for someone like that. But it appears to be textbook. Men. Women. It doesn't seem to matter.
Writing about this is really helping me today. If I can't save my son from going back, I'm going to save his cats and make sure they remain with me. Each day that he doesn't go back is a victory - for him, for us and his two cats. Maybe this time he can do it.
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Every once in a while, I feel like I need to sit down and reconnect with the foster parents. Not-so-ironically, I feel this way after kitten season slows down. I think our volunteers understand that there are some days where I wake up, start returning calls from our adoption phones and never stop until 9 pm. Even then, I'm still answering emails past 9. Yesterday was one of those days and today will be too.
THEN...there is "Melvin". Melvin was found in a ravine. He had 200+ fleas on him, he was blind, and has a huge neurological deficit. His well-meaning finder had him for 48 hours without money to give him proper care. He was almost dead by the time I brought him to the vet.
I won't need Halloween to scare me - Our vet bill for this guy will probably do the trick.
But look how CUTE he is! I'm terrified that the person who has offered to take him will renege. I don't know what I'm going to do with him if she does.
I'm juggling cats today and know that I'm not alone. There are a lot of us out there juggling cats and doing our best within our means. Where's a B12 shot when I need one?
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
I'm sure I'll hear from lots of caring rescuers asking if it was Distemper....blah blah blah...no, it wasn't. It was the food...on a recalled cat food list that came out yesterday.
Last night, I offered to help a black kitten that was found in a ravine. He is about 8 weeks old, starving, dehydrated, etc. I picked him up this morning (from a friend of the finder) and found that he was almost dead. The fleas were jumping off his tiny body and his gums were white with anemia and dehydration. He was starting to have seizures as I quickly wrapped his tiny body in the towel and jumped in my car.
I don't remember driving to the vets. I remember being flipped off by another car and almost running over a Mom and child in the crosswalk as I sailed through far too quickly. The vet wanted to euthanize the little guy, but I really wanted to TRY. That's all I wanted....just to TRY. Damnit, he survived in the wild and he deserved for a rescue to try to save his life. The managed to get an IV into his dehydrated vein, and treated him for hundreds of fleas that were slowly killing him. As I type this blog post, he's still alive.
All we can do is try, right? Both of the people that I'm talking about - our wonderful foster Mom and the woman that kept the black kitten last night TRIED. I get sick of hearing people whining about "Ooo, I could never foster, because I'd get too attached." Well...shit. Get hurt TRYING.
Friday, September 20, 2013
She noticed how all the employees seemed happy and the cats well adjusted. There were volunteers circling around the cats, holding them and brushing them. Even the bunnies were out in a pen and being loved! It feels good to go there. They need help - the cages are often full. A woman came into the shelter today after finding 2 five week old kittens and the staff sat with her and gave her advice on caring for them.
I'm pretending like I don't have administrative work to do today. I keep waving my hand over the mountain of adoption agreements "Abracadabra!" but it's all still there.
There's been some drama with our Free Pet Insurance that I've been dealing with lately. To add to the confusion, I've called the wrong adopter and gave her incorrect information...unraveling THAT mess is going to be horrific. I don't think I can procrastinate any longer. I need to suck it up and make my mea culpas.
I wish people knew what is really involved in running a decent rescue. It certainly isn't without mistakes. (See above!) I wish I could do more rescuing and less data entry. Or more helping people and less "information desk" type stuff. I spend hours going over every vet bill...and finding mistakes! But all that takes time. Yesterday, I think I found about $270.00 in vet bill errors. Sometimes I have to Google the name of medications just to be sure I was billed for the right meds. LOL
Every once in a while I feel a little overwhelmed with all the little (yet important) stuff that I have to do that doesn't really involve the cats.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
All those whiners and complainers said NOTHING when an opportunity came to help 6 cats get out of the shelter. Furious and too busy to really make time to do it, I decided to do the simple drive myself....
The staff at the "high kill" shelter had picked out the cats that had been there the longest. They were permitted to choose 3 kittens and 3 adult cats. But when it came time to choose the last adult, they had a problem. They had already chosen a black cat to be saved, but there was another VERY sweet girl that should go too - problem was....she was black too.
The choice? Pick a 2nd black cat that had been in a tiny metal cage for TWO MONTHS through illness, euthanasia days and heat or a VERY DEPRESSED dilute calico who had been through all the same things, but one week less time.
At the risk of the no-kill shelter not rescuing again because they ended up with two black cats (and two black kittens too) that don't get adopted quickly, with a heavy heart, I chose the depressed dilute calico.
This was the little girl I left behind:
You could see how I was torn? She's so sweet and has been through so much. She needs to be rescued. Badly.
I won't sleep tonight thinking about her.
When I arrived at the humane society that offered to help these 6 cats, I was greeted with open arms and they seemed happy to see the little group. I was expecting criticism that perhaps the kittens that were chosen were just a little too big, but that wasn't the case. They oooo'd and aaaah'd at how cute everybody was.
The cats were given HUGE cages with comfy blankets and "perches" to sit up high. I watched the big black boy that we rescued stretch his legs after more than 2 months in a tiny, metal cage. All I could think about was the little black girl that I left behind at the "high kill" shelter and wished she could've gone too.
She would've liked it there.
(AN UPDATE: The little black girl in the video has been rescued!)
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
We had a very large adoption event last weekend. Just about 40 cats were adopted in total, and that number in itself should've had me singing happy songs from the rafters. But my daughter was here and I wasn't able to properly participate in the event. I feel like I led the troops to battle, but never stepped foot on the field.
Our usual high level of organization wasn't quite up to speed either. We're so fortunate to have strong volunteers who picked up MY slack, but I still felt guilty as my cell phone rang with questions and I'm in the mall shopping, or in a nice restaurant eating, or laughing, or doing anything fun while they dealt with a weekend of insanity.
After the umpteenth dirty look from my family for taking these calls I started to get really angry. "YES, I have other responsibilities this weekend and YES there are people who are picking up the slack for ME so I can be here with ALL of YOU!" (I'm not talking about my daughter - she was very understanding.) But the men in the family? ARGH!!!!
I showed up to the event on Sunday afternoon to insure that all the cats were picked up by foster parents or taken where they needed to go. I explained to the family that I would be back in a few hours. It felt like 15 minutes when my cell phone rang..."Mom, where are you? It's been almost THREE hours!!!!"
I ended up with more than a dozen cats that needed a place to go after the event. I had five stops to make all over the city with upset, crying, pooping cats in the car and a family waiting for me at a restaurant.
Believe me. I didn't have it half as bad as some of the volunteers over the weekend. We had tiny orphaned kittens dying in a foster home, and an unhappy, hissing adult cat that got loose in the Petsmart store and I wasn't there to help clean up after the event.
I need to say, "It was just one of THOSE weekends" and get on with life. Somehow, I haven't been able to shake it, so I had hoped writing about it would work. It helps, but I'm tired and catching up. David and better not mention his lack of clean underwear or the dried cat hairball at the bottom of the stairs. I'll get to it...
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
A couple that adopted our OTHER big boy Brando (who had been abandoned at the same shelter) reached out to us about rescuing this other sad guy:
It was 35 degrees Celsius with a humidex of 43 degrees today. (95 degrees and 109 degrees Fahrenheit) Without air conditioning, this shelter quickly becomes unbearable. Sweat poured from my menopausal face as I arrived at the shelter with an extra large cat carrier to retrieve our boy:
When I put him in my car, I pointed his carrier to my car's air conditioning. I watched his face brighten as he lifted his chin and allowed the ice cube air blow into his fur. Never did I appreciate air conditioning more than I did at that moment.
He was greeted with open arms by my feline gang as our big boy waited patiently for his new Dad to pick him up. He's going to have an awesome life.
If he were mine? I'd name him "Bob". Bob Big Boy :)
Monday, September 09, 2013
It's been a while since I've mentioned the nuts that post regularly on Facebook about wanting change at the "high kill" shelter. I used to call them "The Crazy Protesters", but they seemed to have settled down a bit and use the social media venues to stir up the insanity.
They want to be taken seriously by city council members and the staff at the shelter....but then they post
Hello Manager and all the wonderful caring people in (the shelter). Try this to accomplish change in the killing routine you hate so much
LOCK THE DOORS!
Tell everyone that tries to enter with an animal that you all find it much too upsetting to continue watching their animals get sick and killed and you REFUSE to continue another day!
Send them back home with a list of all the rescues to contact to beg them all to take the animal off their hands!
When that fails for them, tell them to kill their own animals from now on!
And give them the contact info for the Mayor and council to complain!
This might get you some of those changes you all say you want.
Yes indeed - you just read that one of those crazies suggested that the city's residents should kill their own pets if they can't get help from the shelter or the rescues. They posted that in a public forum!
They wonder why they're not taken seriously? I'm sure I'll laugh about it tomorrow - but for tonight, I'm completely offended.
Thursday, September 05, 2013
While one cat was being adopted yesterday, I received an email from a foster parent that said her cat had to be moved. I thought the timing was perfect, until I realized that the foster parent with the newly adopted cat could no longer foster now that school had started. Blast!
We had a very kind family yesterday call me in tears as their son's allergies were becoming too much and sweet "Tootsie" would need to come back to us. The foster parent who had Tootsie is always amenable to take back her fosters, but she currently has quite a few right now AND our adoption event on the OTHER SIDE of town starts in 10 days. Where could I juggle Tootsie with the least amount of stress on her so that she could go to our adoption event?
Sadly, another foster parent broke her ankle and arrangements had to be made for pick up and drop off of her foster cat for spay surgery tomorrow - going into and out of the city...on a Friday.
When an emergency call came in for a probable pregnant Mom cat, I was thrilled that we actually had foster space available for her! The foster parent lives 2 hours away (she allows Mom to deliver her babies safely and keeps and loves them through weaning and returns the family to the rescue). The logistics of arranging transport was HUGE. I also had to insure that there was a vet near the new out-of-area foster parent. The finder of the Mom cat decided to take the Mom to the vet just to insure she was healthy before transport.
Everything was in place....but there was one glitch. The Mom cat wasn't pregnant!!! Now she's going to be spayed and go to a local foster home! So phone calls have to be made today that the Mom cat doesn't need transport, an overnight vet boarding at the halfway point, etc etc.
Usually, all this stuff happens in the course of a week or two. This happened yesterday. I'm certain that I'm forgetting something.
But the good news? We have an opening for a sweet, pregnant Mom cat that needs us. :)
Friday, August 30, 2013
Very few things about cat rescue give me anxiety more than three words: "FIP", "Ringworm" or "Distemper". I can handle anything - but when faced with a possible outbreak of any of the above, I want to shut down. We heard there was a small Distemper outbreak in the "high kill" shelter. Of course, we had just rescued a bunch of kittens so have been on "watch". I hate that. My anxiety rises and every call about diarrhea, or "quiet kitten" makes my stomach turn.
We know of a kind woman that found a cat and unknowingly took the cat to the local SPCA that is next door to the "high kill shelter". The woman spoke with the CEO of the SPCA personally and told her that after the cat is there for her standard "3 day stray time - she would adopt the cat! She was promised "nothing will happen to this cat.... I promise!" They immediately took the cat next door to the high kill shelter, where she was euthanized 3 days later.
Nobody from either agency called this woman. The cat died alone in an empty shelter cage when there was somebody who wanted her.
This kind of shit used to drive me insane. I'd go absolutely nuts, make calls and cry.
Now? It just makes me feel tired and beaten up.
What can I do? I have to keep pushing forward through stories like this. There are thousands of them every year. They used to empower me. Now I just add this to my ever growing mental list of sad stories that I can share with others that have a fresher outlook on this horrific situation.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
These people seemed different and we decided to help them. We only had room for in the rescue kittens and this family had promised they would look after the adults and get them fixed. They were very credible, kind and we really had no doubts about it. I really felt that we could make a huge difference for them and help them PERMANENTLY resolve their problem.
I won't take kittens unless provisions are made for the adults to be fixed. Period.
It took us an hour to drive out to the country. It was a beautiful drive - an area of Ontario I hadn't been to before, but I knew right away what house it was when we drove up. Cats in the front yard. Cats in the side yard and Cats running through the bushes in the back.
We started feverishly gathering up kittens. Bless their little hearts - grubby little farm kittens. ;) The resident 10 year old little girl started crying - devastated that the kittens were leaving. For two hours we trudged through bushes, assessed kittens and loaded up the carriers into our car. We were so stressed. I stood there, sweat pouring from faces, the daughter still crying, kittens meowing in the car, and adult cats in the yard wondering what was happening....
....suddenly it occurred to me...
There would be no thank you. No Donation. No fixing of the adults. Don't ask me how I knew it - maybe it comes fro years of dealing with people. But I was right. Once again - I believed the public and they lied. I just provided these people with a band-aid solution which was never my intent. Why didn't I offer to help get the other cats fixed? Because they said they could do it. They could afford it. They would provide for the skittish little Mom cats left. In the winter, more kittens will come.
They'd better not call me again. I don't like being used.
We drove 2 hours round trip with 20 kittens in the car, stopped at the high kill shelter and rescued 7 more kittens, plus 2 "high risk" adults. It was a big day and we were exhausted. As pissed off as I was, I'm happy that 20+ cats and kittens were rescued in a day. Those faces that needed us out in the farm won't become victims to a busy road, raccoons or a life unloved. I need to spend more time focusing on that part - not the users.
Friday, August 16, 2013
I decided to try one more time to apply at a dog rescue. If you didn't hear what happened earlier, you may want to start HERE. Within 24 hours my foster application was not only approved, but I received the sweetest "Welcome to the family" email!
I'm really pleased to be part of this well organized and kind group: Homeward Bound Dog Rescue. It's just nice to be appreciated! Not only did my application get approved, but I was also approved to rescue THE cutest little girl named, "Sadie":
This little girl is so full of fear. She had been hit by a car, had a crushed pelvis, and the shelter had hoped she could be rehabilitated. But she didn't do well in a shelter environment.
That's where David and I come in:
So now we're home. Sadie hates me. She loves David:
I'm starting to sound like one of our cat rescue's new foster parents, right? I probably bit off more than I can chew, but I don't care. :) She's really an endearing little thing....
Monday, August 12, 2013
As the summer comes close to an end, I'm SICK of voicemails that start with....
"I know your message said that you can't help with owner surrenders, but we're moving and..."
"There's a really pregnant cat living under my porch...."
"My cat had 7 kittens. We found homes for 5 of them and there are two black ones left..."
"Sorry. No adoptions today at Petsmart...."
"I think raccoons are going after these kittens in my back yard...."
"I'm pregnant and can't clean the litterbox..."
"My son has allergies..."
"My husband has allergies..."
"My grandson who visits ONCE A YEAR has allergies....|
"PLEASE help this cat I found outside..."
"He's such a sweet cat...."
"Somebody moved away and left these cats in the house...."
Bah!! I guess it's nothing new to those who read this blog or are in rescue.
Our awesome and well organized Petsmart Volunteer Coordinator contacted me about the adoption event in September and I wanted to cry. September! I just need to keep up with our Foster Parent spreadsheet from yesterday!
Our foster parent list has grown exponentially recently. We have lots of foster parents who have found kittens, or nursing Moms temporarily giving love, food and shelter to the cats they've found. Because these wonderful volunteers will probably not be permanent foster parents, they (understandably!) require more care. I can only hope and pray that our regular foster parents understand why I'm a little slow on the response. :)
I haven't really resolved the dog fostering or dog adoption situation. I've always wondered how ANYONE who knows ANYTHING about rescue could EVER adopt a dog through a breeder. Now I understand. Adopting or fostering a dog through a rescue is really difficult. I'm not saying it isn't worth it - I'm sure it is. But I'm insanely frustrated - maybe it's because it's a frustrating time of year. But I'm tired of going on dog rescue sites and having them say "FOSTER HOMES DESPERATELY NEEDED" only to find out that I'm either not good enough or they didn't really mean it.
I get a foster application and I'm calling TONIGHT. I get an adopter calling and I'm calling TONIGHT! I look for ways to make the adoption - not for ways to turn people down. Yeah yeah..dog rescue is different. I get it.
Yesterday, I put out an urgent plea for a sweet VERY pregnant cat left outside:
I received a response from a lovely woman that adopted a Mom cat from the "high kill" shelter two years ago and wants to help this girl have her kittens safely! I'm over-the-moon and am hoping this mom-to-be hangs in there until we can sort out the details. (Is it safe to jump for joy yet?)
As rescuers, I think we need to hold on to these victories as long as we can.
Tomorrow? I'm going to get my hair cut and roots coloured. ( I wonder how many times I've written THAT in this blog?) I'm going to tell the young lady that makes me feel aesthetically human again that I don't feel like talking and she'll be happy. No small talk tomorrow morning!
Just me and my iPhone. :)
Thursday, August 08, 2013
Despite an enormous number of recent adoptions, I have no space for this young orange guy. I've checked around, made calls, send emails - without luck.
This poor guy has some (hopefully) minor medical issues. The vet tech at the shelter said he was probably running a fever and had been vomiting for 4 days. It's not the money that's keeping me from rescuing him.
Where will I put him?
I already have two adult cats boarding at a veterinary clinic because I have no room. I have NEVER had to board cats because of lack of space. I'm a PLANNER. But I was lied to and "2 eight week old kittens" turned out to be "two adult cats".
Now this poor young guy may pay the price.
It's been a while since I put a finger on a particular cat. I usually can squeeze in "one more". But August adoptions have been slow and we're buried.
I'm going to leave this in the hands of other rescues to help him. But I'll be going to bed tonight thinking about him.
(((AN UPDATE - August 9th at 9:30 am - A LOCAL VETERINARY CLINIC HAS COME FORWARD TO SAVE HIS LIFE!!!!)))
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
We've been missing our dog Maggie. If you missed that part of my blog posts, you can read about her Here and Here. David and I have given it great thought and decided that we have so much to offer a dog, but really want to wait to adopt. We're busy and are enjoying not being tied down for the moment.
Since I'm in rescue, I hear things. I knew there were several dog rescues that interest me, and filled out a foster application for one of them. I was really careful about what I wrote - knowing what they were probably looking for and wanted to be diligent and honest. "Yes, I can drive the dog to vet appointments; Yes, I can have adopters to my home; "Yes, I can meet adopters at THEIR home; Yes, I can give medication; Blah blah blah blah....
I received an email response 4 days later:
David thinks most rescue people are nuts and even he raised an eyebrow.
Somewhere there's a dog that needs out of a shelter, or is going to die that needs us and THIS RESCUE didn't think we were good enough.
I'm too pissed to write any further. I'll post comments - maybe somebody has some insight.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Our big Adoption Blitz was a huge success. Something I've never experienced before - 41 (yes, FORTY ONE) adoptions in a 6 hour time period. Adopters were actually lined up out the door to take turns meeting the cats in our small adoption area. Some had printed out cats they had hoped would be there and others just wanted "any sweet cat".
Hard to believe I'm actually typing this, but....we adopted out EVERY cat that we brought that day! Not one cat was left!! I had two families FIGHTING over a 12 week old BLACK kitten! Holy crap!
Adoption screening was easier than I thought it would be. I turned down a BUNCH of impulse adopters. The rush of people took us all by surprise and the LACK of phone calls after the event tells me that we made some great decisions for our cats.
With 41 adoptions means more rescues, so we headed out to the shelter yesterday and rescued nearly 30 cats and kittens. Vet visits and assessments have left us exhausted and exhilarated. We're trying to get everybody spayed/neutered etc before we go into Petsmart for the month of August.
Last night I had an emergency call from one of our foster parents. Apparently, some
The first of Facebook messages came in from the foster Mom:
"Momma and babies are in their new abode. Momma is a sweetheart. She lay down beside me, let me pet her and purred her heart out...."
And this morning:
"Everyone is fine. They are the happiest bunch ever. This morning, when I opened the door, momma sang me a good morning song and she and all of the kittens ran over to me.
They are all love-muffins. Everyone is eating, everyone is drinking, everyone is using the litter box and the kittens rough-house all the time.
I don't think I have had a more delightful group.
I want to keep them all."
My heart is full and happy this morning. I wish every rescue day could be like the past 3 days!
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
The rescue had been very quiet - a little too quiet - when I left. The volunteers ended up being very busy and jumping through hoops to get 4 sweet cats adopted. It's amazing what we have to do to get cats adopted during the summer months. Pathetic. The hardworking volunteers sounded happy to have me back.
I'm doing something this weekend that I've never done before. Thanks to recent donations and very healthy foster cats, we're reducing our usual $175.00 adoption fee to $75.00 for a one day only adoption event. Honestly, I'm scared to death. I'm afraid of everybody being adopted at such an awesome rate, and I'm also afraid nobody will show up! The adoption rate includes everything we usually include - spay/neuter surgeries too!
Obviously, we're losing a ton of money. But think of the cats that will get homes! :)
Another local rescue recently published what they went through at the "high kill shelter" on a vet day. It was very surreal to read about what they went through. I felt as if I was experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as my stomach did flip-flops. I remembered (all too well) and felt the pain of knowing that I couldn't save them all. Those of you who have been reading this blog for the past 5 years know that I'm not a stranger to what happens at this shelter. For a moment, I had a sense of relief that another rescue was taking over the torch, so-to-speak.
The writer of this article usually writes about nonsense stuff - "fur mommies" and "fur babies" and other sophomoric dribble. But this time it was different. She wrote from the heart and the pain was apparent. It's the kind of pain that only somebody that has been there can fully understand. They took a bunch of cats and I wish them the very best with them. This is not a rescue that I support, but am happy for the cats that are alive.
So it seems to be another summer of jumping through hoops. We're loaded with cats in our program and there are others waiting for our help. Wish us luck on Sunday. If you come visit? I'll be the volunteer gripping the adoption fee collections with white knuckles.
Friday, July 12, 2013
The call came from David's cousin & family. They have a cottage in northern Ontario and had found a young black cat. (Of course, it was black!) "What do we do?"? I told them we could help them, but it was kitten season....yada yada yada....could they please hang on to the guy and I'll do my best as quickly as I can. They don't like cats. Didn't want a cat. Period.
I asked them to show some compassion for this cat. They have children....it's important.
A few more emails arrived from the Mrs. that "Spencer" (he has a name now!) would be staying in their boathouse and "Mr." (staying anonymous here) was not happy about having a cat in his boathouse. Seriously? Was it really that hard to keep this guy in an empty boathouse until I could figure it all out?
I was so happy when the email arrived that they found a foster home for Spencer! It was well within the borders of our rescue, and I couldn't be more thrilled that this was all working out. The email continued, "....but the foster home won't work because the dog doesn't like him."
Oh. My. Gosh. Back to work on finding placement for Spencer.
A few days went by and I kept my head low. I was hoping that they'd get this sorted out on their own. But nothing could prepare me for the email I received next....
"...I am heartbroken. We took him to the vets....he was dehydrated....lots of money...we put him down."
The words jumped off the page. My heart pounded as questions flew through my head.
They had him euthanized because he was dehydrated?
Why didn't I do more?
Why did I let them flail around and figure things out on their own?
What kind vet killed a dehydrated cat?
*I* would've paid for his I.V.!
I could have done something!
THIS IS WHAT *I* DO!
I failed. I failed big time on this. They reached out for help and I had hoped it would all go away. Maybe they would fall in love with Spencer, or find a family to love him. I knew they weren't animal people....
They had sent me a picture of him when they first found him.
Sunday, July 07, 2013
I don't like the way I feel. Our local SPCA had a huge adoption blitz and lowered their adoption rates to almost nothing. I think 46 cats and kittens were adopted during that time. My phones didn't ring. I should be THRILLED for the cats that were adopted. Believe me - I really am! They all need a home! But I have volunteers that I have to be accountable to and kittens that are growing up in their foster homes. I can't be the only small rescue that feels competitive and helpless. Fortunately, my friend called me out on it and said, "Beth, look at the last few years adoptions in July...what were they?"
She was right. July sucks every year.
On a happier note, our Kismet is doing very well! If you didn't read about her, please click on the link. It's a very sad story with a great ending:
For me? I have a new foster kitten named "Dunkin':
We have some adoptions pending today so I have my fingers crossed. But then again...it's July and I won't hold my breath.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Last night, my favourite little foster boy "Fillmore" was adopted:
I just had a very interesting phone call as I am typing this blog post. A woman contacted me about a kitten that she had found in her live trap (for raccoons). She said that she had called Animal Services to pick up the little guy (not knowing that this was a high kill shelter). When the Animal Services Officer arrived, she opened the trap and let the kitten out! As the kitten ran away, the officer said, "We'll just kill it in 3 days, he'll have a better chance out here than in the shelter."
What a terribly sad, sad statement. Since when does a kitten have a "better chance" outside, with raccoons, cars and disease than in a shelter? Something is VERY VERY wrong here that a shelter can't be a safe haven for animals in need. It's incredibly sad that this Animal Services Officer felt that being hit by a car, or eaten alive by a wild animal is a BETTER choice than being at the shelter.
...and what happens when this kitten becomes sexually mature?
Anyway. She's going to try to trap the kitten again and call me.
So with this sad story, comes a story of hope when a staff member at this "high kill shelter" took home a kitten that was brought into the shelter with burned feet and singed fur. She nursed the poor baby back to health and contacted us to help the kitten along the rest of the way:
It's too early to feel so burned out with kitten season. I'm really fighting it.
Monday, June 24, 2013
If you've been reading my blog over the years, you'll know that this kind of urgency usually puts me in high gear. My adrenalin gets pumping, and I start posting sad pictures of cats that need help. My rescue's foster space was full, but I could squeeze in a little brown tabby kitten at my house if he was in danger of being euthanized the next day. I don't know why I even said "Brown tabby"....I don't really care about colour. But I truly felt frozen and unable to react.
Is it possible that I'm just burned out with this bullshit? I'm tired of rewarding this city's lack of care and compassion for the animals with our rescue's hard earned money and donations. I watched the Facebook page spring into action with other rescue's coming forward to help cats that they didn't have room for or money to take - but they did it anyway.
So where was I? Why did I feel so immobile? I have no idea. I thought about it all weekend, and I still have no idea why I didn't do anything. I just felt pissed. Hurt. Yes...very, very, hurt.
The rescue's phone line was ringing off the hook for people who had found cats...kittens...feral trapping help....injured cats. We had a big weekend adoption event last weekend that I was preparing for and couldn't risk taking in sick cats that would possibly prohibit the healthy ones from attending the event.
Or is that just an excuse?
Whatever the reason, innocent cats and kittens died on Friday at that shelter because there weren't enough homes. Or compassion. Or Love. Or space in Foster Care. And this City keeps saying, "Nah, we're not going to let cats or dogs get adopted...either they're claimed by their owner, rescued or they die."
Those of you who read this blog know this isn't my first, second, third or fourth rant about what happens to these innocent beings at this shelter. But this IS the first time I wasn't able to rally to even take one when they needed me. Maybe it's because I'm still paying the vet bill on the poor "tortie' Mom cat that this shelter "sent out" to our local vet to die - along with her FOUR healthy kittens - with an enormous, infected wound in her belly....
This blog post has more profanity than I usually like, but this kind of crap brings out the worst in me. I'd better get my shit together. Kitten Season isn't over yet.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
I was wrong.
We placed Brando into a loving foster home where he was given a strict diet and he promptly lost several pounds. His mobility became increasingly better and he started walking up and down the stairs. He was in good health too! His foster Mom told us that somebody really loved Brando. He was loving, affectionate and longed to be a lap cat despite his size.
Brando had a Forever Home! His new family named him "LOGAN" and sent us the following email updated on his first day of his new home (edited and copied with permission from sender):
"As was expected he did hide under a bed for the first few hours but before we new it, just after dinner he was out and about – purring and soaking in all of the love and attention we could give him. We gave him a good brushing and he just loved it, rolling around and purring happily...Logan is all that we expected him to be and so much more! What a love-bug! We are so happy to have him in our lives as part of our family and we promise to love and care for him for the rest of his life! Thank you so much for letting us adopt him, we simply could not be happier to have him!d"....." can’t believe anyone would have ever let him go, let alone abandon him. He is such a WONDERFUL, AFFECTIONATE and LOVING little being ... such a shame. I do however take comfort in and believe that everything happens for a reason ... Logan is our baby now and nothing bad will ever happen to him again!
Have a beautiful life, Brando...errr...Logan!
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Months went by and the kittens in the trailer grew. They were bathed in anti-fungal bath and treated regularly. Some never had symptoms of ringworm. But being a responsible shelter, they were all treated and DNA tested. I was never permitted in the trailer until it opened for rescue months ago. Seeing that many cats in one small trailer was incredible. These are now adult/young cats that have never really had much attention, (the staff did the very best that they could!) and have never known what it was like to live in a home.
The trailer was all they knew.
Our rescue took many of the 53 cats over several months. But as time went on there was only one cat left....
Gus has never known a home. He's never known a kitchen, a vacuum cleaner, a doorbell. He's never known regular love or a lap to snuggle. Every time he was picked up he was dunked into a sink and soaked in an anti-fungal bath. I had a feeling this was going to be a difficult transition.
Today was Gus' rescue day:
You can tell Gus was a shelter favourite. He had his own room with toys and a bed. But it wasn't a home. Apparently, Gus had started to meow for attention. He watched 52 of his friends leave the shelter for new adventures.
When David and I left the shelter with Gus the staff applauded. "Difficult transition?" We think not! Gus is dying to bond with somebody! He knows his name and comes when he's called. He purr's and rubs and is dying to explore the rest of his foster Mom's house. Gus is going to be OK! He's going to have a beautiful life thanks to a shelter that cares enough about their animals to make it happen.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
HOWEVER ....When the shelter was approached about their culpability, they denied sending the Mama Cat and her 4 kittens for euthanasia, I couldn't figure out why. Why would they deny doing that? They kill animals all the time. It's a "high kill shelter".
Uh uh. That isn't right. If it doesn't make sense, it probably isn't true.
The By-Laws say that every stray has 3 days to be claimed by their owner UNLESS the animal is suffering and a vet feels it's humane to euthanize. That's the way that the 3 days stray time can be waived.
This Mom and babies had only been there for TWO days. She suffered for TWO DAYS without anybody noticing that she was in pain. When shelter staff finally noticed, SOMEBODY scrambled and sent her out to the vets be euthanized.
I know this is true. I spoke with the staff at the clinic - including the veterinarian. This family was NEVER to be treated or examined. Just killed. So somebody at the City is in deep "doo-doo" for not obeying the by-law.
Let's not forget how this cat suffered. The following are pictures of this poor baby sent to us by the veterinarian who is taking care of her. (Gore alert) The wound has been cleaned and held together, so look much better than when she came in.
My God, I can't imagine...
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
A coyote pup was drinking water from a pot hole in the road. I thought it was adorable at first until the pup started to run off. He had a severely broken leg and blood over his back. My heart broke into a million pieces as this poor baby risked so much for a drink of water. I watched one other driver pull over and call the local Humane Society. She said she would wait and watch the pup until they arrived.
No. There isn't much I could do. I wouldn't risk being bitten, so I left knowing that "help" was on the way. I'm still thinking about this poor guy.
When I came home I received a call from one of our volunteers. She was at the veterinary clinic around the corner from the "high kill" shelter where we rescue. Apparently, an animal control officer was there to have an injured cat put to sleep. As I would do, she peeked into the carrier to discover it was a Mom cat with 4 kittens. The kittens were to die along with the Mom - for no other reason than there would be nobody to feed them.
The vet gingerly took the Mama cat out of the carrier. She had an 8 - 10 inch gash in her abdomen. The skin was necrotic and infected. Air had gotten under her skin, so she was in a enormous amount of pain. Despite it all, she was purring and nursing her kittens. The sweet, gentle Mama Cat leaned forward and gently groomed one of her babies. She didn't know that they would all die shortly.
Even the vet didn't understand why this family had to die. She was angry and frustrated with the system. She didn't want to kill 4 healthy kittens too.
Our volunteer asked: "Can we take this family?"
I couldn't imagine saying no. She will require a lot of care - expensive care and surgery.
With promises to the Mama Cat to love and care for them, our volunteer carefully took the 4 kittens home to bottle feed them. The Mama Cat will be given nurturing medical care - not death.
Me? I hung up the phone and went to the shelter website and found her:
Maybe I don't have the whole story. Maybe there's something I don't know or understand. But I do know that some things never change and my heart hurts.
Sunday, June 02, 2013
Of course, the timing was off because we just took cats and kittens into our Petsmart Adoption Centre. The first few days when we open in the centre are always a little insane. I wish I could be there for added support, but our volunteers are on the ball and I'll probably only be in the way.
We just rescued 26 kittens from a hoarding house a few days ago. The look on the veterinary staff was priceless as the kittens were paraded through the clinic for vaccines and checkups. (I think they thought we were kidding!) I really expected this little group to be frightened, malnourished and having goopy eyes. But my fears were put to rest. They (surprisingly) looked really good!
Our first two adoption days of June have been great with 8 adoptions already. The adopters have been lovely and several of the cats weren't even on the website! Adult cat adoptions over the past week have been uplifting! O' how I love adult cat adoptions! The biggest surprise has been the number of phone calls we've received on "Brando" - our 30 pounder! We've had a ton of adoption calls on this guy. He hasn't been adopted - but I think it's around the corner.
As kitten season is now in full swing, I have to admit that over the past 20 years since I've been rescuing I have NEVER found a box of kittens, personally. Everybody I know has found a box, or bag of kittens. This morning, one of our volunteers rescued a feral, sick kitten in a neighbour's yard. Don't you think it's weird that I've never found kittens? Maybe I'm just destined to take painful walks through local pounds.
It is possible that THIS is the kitten season that I won't stress out? Right now, I'm feeling peaceful and happy about rescuing. Our foster homes are pleasantly full, cats are not ill, and although the phones are busy I'm not overwhelmed. There's always one funk every kitten season. Several years it was Distemper - last year it was FIP. I wonder what this kitten season will have in store for us?
Since I'm really never off the clock with rescue, I'll bring my laptop. Our hotel has free Wi-Fi and while my daughter sleeps, I'll check emails, etc in the morning.
I hope I don't find any boxes of kittens.