Monday, May 27, 2013

Country Roads

I decided to take the day off yesterday.  David is playing Bridge at the Canadian National Bridge Tournament For Geeks, this week and I'm finding myself remembering what it's like to not have to wait and free to do whatever I want.  So I drove about an hour into the country to visit a huge antique mall. 

Like many men, going to an antique mall would've been hideous for David so I  was pleased to be able to putter through it by myself.  As  I drove through the country roads with the sun roof down, the sun warm on my face and singing whatever was on the radio, I stopped suddenly at a  "Free Kittens" sign in front of a farm driveway.

"It's your day off.  Keep driving, Beth."  My inner voice pleaded with me to continue on, but my "inner cat rescuer" put her foot on the brake and pulled into the farm.  I  could see the cats and kittens from inside my car.  All feral - eyes dilated with fear and distrust.  They disappeared into various corners around the house and barn. 

I could've knocked on the door and asked more questions, offered my help to get the cats trapped and fixed.  But I didn't.   I probably have a list a mile long on my desk at home with people asking for help.  Do I want to add another?   I put the car in reverse and left, leaving the cats and kittens, along with a dust trail from my car behind me. 

It only took me 1 hour to get through the 3-story antique mall.  My heart wasn't in it any longer.  I have to admit that the whole situation at the farm ruined my day.  The guilt was heavy on my shoulders and my heart.  Those little faces...  I could still see them scampering away from me.  What would become of them?  Did they have any chance at all?

If I had known the area better, I  would've found another way to the highway in order to avoid that farm and the "Free Kittens" sign.  Oddly enough, I didn't see the sign or the farm again. 

Sadly, I was relieved. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Personal Defect

We decided to try to stay ahead of all the incoming kittens by having a mini-adoption event today.  It was rather impromptu with a weeks notice and a paid online ad.  We let the Petsmart staff know about 5 days ago  that we'd be putting out cages, etc. 

It wasn't our turn in the adoption centre, so the cages would have to be in another area of the store.  We had about 13 kittens and 5 adults.  Nice numbers and friendly, cute kittens! 

I wasn't there when it happened, but one of the volunteers from the OTHER rescue went bizerk when she saw us with our cages.  She started red-faced screaming at our volunteer - obscenities... demanding we pack up and leave!   Gratefully, our volunteer was sensitive enough to politely suggest she go speak with the manager of the store.  The other rescue's volunteer stormed to the manager and started screaming at her too.  Her arms her waving, her face was red, people were staring.

How horrifying.   What kind of personal defect do you have to have to treat other volunteers that way? 

It's pathetic when these things happen with rescues;  Lack of class, tact and professionalism.  You'd think we were competing for a profit or something.  Shit.  I just wanted to adopt out some cats into loving homes today.  Honestly, I'm glad I wasn't there when it happened this morning.  I don't think I would've been as as our volunteer over the situation. 

Those of you who have read my blog over the past 5 years, know that I'm not a stranger to altercations and other rescue's bullshit.  But I usually retreat.  It's one of the reasons I started my own rescue.   But I've NEVER verbally assaulted another volunteer like what happened today. 

I'm tired tonight and this crap has hovered over me all day today.  It sat on my shoulder like a piece of bird shit.  (I guess I could've said "dark cloud", but "bird shit" felt more accurate)  We had 9 adoptions today - 3 of them were ADULT cat adoptions.  That's enough to make me smile and make the whole day worth it. 

I'll think good thoughts about this other rescue.  I know how embarrassing it must be for their volunteers, the customers in the store, and the store staff to have witnessed it.  It's an imperfect world and we're all volunteers trying to make the world better for animals.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Holding Tight

It's been "one of those days".  It started out just fine - a rescue, a vet appointment, and moving newly rescued cats into foster homes.  As I type this at 9 pm, I'm grateful that David has a Bridge game tonight and isn't here to see the ugly frown on my face. 

Two months ago, I had promised an elderly lady that I would help her get her cat spayed and bring the kittens into our program once they were 8 weeks old.  I hadn't forgotten my promise, so when the lady called me, David and I drove the 45 minutes to her house to pick up the 6 kittens. 

I could smell the stench of the house from her front yard.  The front door was completely blocked with debris and we entered the side door.  I can't describe it.  If you've seen the program "Hoarders", you'll get the idea.  The kittens seemed healthy, but lacked any socialization.  From the look of the place, I thought that the kittens would have goopy eyes, ear mites and fleas....but they were totally fine.  When I asked the lady about the number of cats in the house, she didn't know - "Maybe 15?" 

How am I supposed to help this person?  It's a rhetorical question, I guess. I know what to do.  I'm just  tired of people not helping themselves! She couldn't even drive the kittens to meet me part way! 

The lower adoption rate this month has seemed to accentuate other issues and problems.  I've missed the 'adoption high" that I get seeing a cat or kitten going to their new home.  Instead, I've been bombarded with veterinary problems, bank reconciliation challenges, and just a big ol' CRAP-FEST in my direction.  

My two foster kittens have eye infections that I can't seem to clear up.  Poor little guys are just getting bigger in my house and I need to get a solution to this eye problem.  Is it bacterial?  Viral?  Why haven't  the past 6 medications worked? 

Sooooo....this has just been a nice little whiny rant tonight.  I'm actually fine and feeling better now as I type this.   David is playing Bridge all weekend, so I'm hopeful for some quality shopping time at the local Mall and some better adoptions coming up. 

As usual, I'm holding tight and waiting for the good part to  come.  It always does!


Friday, May 17, 2013

A Tiny Bit of Love

I hate it when foster parents lose their foster cats.  They put in so much work and love and  to have the cat's just awful.  With kitten season upon us, it seems to happen more frequently.  

Tiny is a really special, sweet kitten.  She appeared with one of our affiliated veterinarian's on a local television show, "Animal House Calls."  Normal size for an 8 week old kitten is about 2 pounds.  Our Tiny was under 1 pound at almost 8 weeks:
She has been in foster care with her brothers for a month and her brothers are twice her size.  The runt of the litter often struggles and needs some extra TLC.  The other night I received the dreaded call that Tiny appeared to be failing. 

The foster Mom took Tiny into the vets this morning and was encouraged that Tiny might be just a little constipated!  Wow!  Could it be the little girl just needs to poop?

We weren't that lucky.

They did an x-ray and the vet called me:  "Mrs. Turner, I have NO  idea what this is  and  I've shown it to three other vets and they've never seen internal organs that look like this!  It could be cancer, it could be FIP...We just don't know and doubt she'll survive."

David and I are in the grocery store.  He hates it when I take these calls while we're together because he's left wandering around the grocery store.  But this time, he could see the look on my face as I leaned against the frozen food doors and listened to the vet. 

She proceeded to tell me that there was a vet tech in the clinic that had fallen in love with Tiny and wanted to take her home - even if it meant her survival for a few days.  Apparently, the tech had wrapped her in a baby blanket and didn't plan on getting any work done today.  She would spend her work day loving Tiny and giving her the very best chance of survival. 

I was practically speechless.  Other than a full recovery, how it could it possibly get better than this?  Tiny has  a home.  She has somebody that will love her and care for her - regardless of the outcome.  She'll get around the clock medical care. 

Just for now, my heart feels very full this afternoon.   Tiny has a home. :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Midnight Post

It's 12:30 am, and I'm usually an early-to-bed kind of gal.  But rescue comes with a price and I'm either exhausted or too wide awake and worried to sleep.  Tonight?  It's the latter. 

Cats and kittens are coming into shelters with such velocity that rescues can't keep up.  Usually, I don't lose sleep this early into kitten season, but I'm looking at our foster list and realizing that we have a lot of foster parents out on holidays and some with circumstances where they can't foster for another month or two.  I'm sinking - but I'm not drowning :)

I've been working with a really sweet family who adopted two kittens from us over the big adoption event 10 days ago.  Sadly, one of the kittens has become extremely ill with some unexplainable symptoms.  It's  awful when a kitten is this sick and worse when I'm trying to console a new adopter. "I promise, the kitten was FINE when he was adopted....these things sometimes happen...What did the vet say? can we help you?"  What's worse?  They just lost their beloved elderly cat a few weeks before the adoption.  Kids are crying, parents are upset... I guess this family is on my mind tonight.   They're going to an A+++ vet and he's doing all the right things.  I'm  just praying this little dude turns the corner soon. 

When David and I bought our house, we truly fell in love with the HOUSE.  The yard was another story.  We are not gardeners, but this yard is like a frickin' football field, so decided to give gardening a try.  I've never had a REAL garden and I was getting excited about the prospects.  I bought books.  I cultivated the soil, and got my hands muddy and it felt great!  I started with strawberries.  I lovingly planted sprouted strawberry plants - 10 of them - in my little garden. 

I felt like Martha Frickin' Stewart, and I was proud of myself. 

Then I woke up the next morning....

My little strawberry plants were GONE!  All that was left were some stems.  I stood there.  Incredulous.  I didn't know what could've happened to my beloved little strawberry plants.  Then I heard a voice from behind me.  It was my neighbour:  "Rabbits.  Ya got rabbits.  Didn't you see them in your yard?"

I dropped the handful of dirt and stood up.  "Bunnies?  I..I.. have Bunnies??"

Hell with the garden.  I have bunnies!  Probably bunnies having...(dare I say it?) BABY BUNNIES!  I'm going to give them all names and feed them every day. 

I didn't want that damn garden anyway. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

An Orderly Weekend

It's been nice blogging again. I honestly didn't think people would miss it, but once I started again I had some jubilant emails. :)

What people don't realize about having 121 adoptions in a month is that with those kind of adoptions come an equal number of questions, problems, and complaints.  If I have 30 adoptions, I might have 2 post-adoption problems.  With 121?  Good Grief.  Fortunately, all the adopters were kind, thoughtful and compromising.  But it's been one helluva week for spinning my wheels!

Oddly enough, the adoption lines have been VERY quiet!  We've had some calls  for kittens, but other than that, it's been  super quiet.  Usually, this kind of quiet comes in July and  August.  I hope it picks up again soon.  We have LOTS of people  calling with found kittens and hurt cats and need the help.

I'm fostering two kittens right now.  "Fillmore"  and  "Abigail".  Abigail has a home and I'm babysitting until her parents come back from Cuba.  They adopted  her before they left and I told them I would hang on to her.  Well....damn if Fillmore and Abigail have become fast buddies.  I'm hoping that Ab's new family will want Fillmore too.  But they already have one cat....ugh.  I hate this  part.  I'm going to have to grab another kitten just to keep Fillmore happy!  

I'm feeling more like myself again and less hurried. ( Except for one cantankerous cat we have in our care, things have been moving along smoothly. ) My roots have been coloured, my nails have been done and the hair from my upper lip has been ripped out with hot wax.  David has played in a Bridge Tournament all day today and there are dirty breakfast dishes still in the sink.  I think I'll leave them there until tomorrow morning. 

Yes, things are just as they should be.  :)

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


We've back to rescuing at the "high kill" shelter.  They seem to have figured out the sickness there and although it's an imperfect system - they need us.  Apparently, THIRTY cats came into the shelter from different people within 10 minutes today.  Nine kittens, some bottlefeeders and some adults.  I just can't figure out how a shelter like this with a community that doesn't give a shit can eventually go "no kill".


So we rescued some bottlefeeders today, 4 older kittens  and "Austin":

Austin is a 5-7 year old declawed guy that caught my eye today.  I wanted to rescue a mellow, easy cat for a house of University students that wanted to help over the summer.  I named him  "Austin" for no particular reason other than it put him at the top of our  Petfinder page.  :)

When I brought him to the girls, he was immediately at home.  He trotted around their tiny house like he owned the place and they were thrilled.  THEN....I went to leave....

Those of you who have cats always play the "leg game" when you leave to insure any door dashers don't accidently get out.  This time it was no different:  I opened the door and Austin BOMBED the door.  He was out the front door SO FAST...I couldn't believe it.  He didn't just saunter outside - he bolted and RAN like the wind!

My rescue partner was with me and we bolted after Austin with the college girls behind us shaking a bag of Temptation Treats.  We ran through bushes, flower gardens and into back yards.  I was  panicked.   "What if we lost him?"

Austin finally laid down under a car peacefully as I crawled in under the car with him and grabbed his leg.  Austin looked at me without comprehending what the big fuss was  all about.  He went limp in my arms as I took him back to his new foster home.  We talked about "door dashers" and what needed to happen to insure his safety.  I was sweating and panting - not sure if it was from the running or just the fear.  I've never lost a cat like that.

I left a message for  the girls tonight and received the following reply from them:

"Hey Beth,
Sorry for missing your call. It was great meeting you too! I decided that Austin seemed more like a Milo and I think he likes that name better! It's been going great so far, he's the sweetest cat I've ever met and loves snuggling and taking naps with me- which is awesome because I love to nap! He's been eating his dry and wet food and used his litter box without any problems! All my housemates love him too and I think he's adjusting really well! I'm so glad to have him here and to have been able to help save him! I'll be sending you some awesome pictures in a few days, but overall Milo is doing fantastic and he's just an overall amazing cat!"

I think "Milo" is going to be OK and sounds like he's enjoying the life with some pretty young girls.   But I'm still going to buy him a break away collar with a name tag! 

Monday, May 06, 2013

Content, Thrilled, Stupified

I haven't been injured or given up on rescuing or blogging.  It's really and truly been the craziest month I've had in rescue in a long time.  It hasn't necessarily been a bad month - just busy beyond imagination.  Sure, I've had "busy months", but none that kick my ass like April!

Since April 1st - May 4th, the rescue has had more than 121 adoptions!  That kind of adoption number takes super human strength, huge support and volunteers that are rockstars. 

It's funny.  When I first started the rescue, I would be content/thrilled/stupified with 30 adoptions  per month. (....and STILL would be happy!)  A month that equals to an adoption each day would've been INCREDIBLE.  (We're not a big rescue,  so am still stupified!) 

If you look at my desk, my home, and my life you'll probably see what DIDN'T happen:

1.  The Charity's Return was sent out OVERNIGHT mail on the last possible day without penalty.

2.  I have adoption cash in piles in drawers because I haven't had time to count it out and go to the bank.  Too busy to make a bank deposit????? SERIOUSLY????

3.  I take great pride in keeping our website up to date.  But that ain't happening with a 121 cat adoption month. 

4.  Tight follow up with foster parents who have sick cats or other concerns.  Thank you for doing a great job when I wasn't so great of a leader.

5.  Healthy, wonderful

6.  Sex.  Ask David.  Men don't forget this stuff.

7.  I have dark roots, unmanicured hands and feet and hair on my upper lip.  (Hmm.  See #6)

By 10 am yesterday morning, I had 5 HUGE emergency calls from foster parents with kittens in distress.  My  own foster kitten was in emergency vets Saturday night after making a Peter Pan dive off the banister onto our wood floors....$500.00 ThankYouVeryMuch.   Our white cat Ozzy had a full mouth extraction on Friday and needed me too.  

I woke up this morning with a *start*.  I made a pledge to do NO  cat stuff today.  I left the website alone and David and I took off for a hike on The Bruce Trail.  We went shopping, had lunch at a cute bistro and neither one of us cared that I had hairy legs. 
Taken in front of the Bistro today

Sitting back tonight, I'm thinking about 121 cats in their new homes.  That's a load of cats, eh?  I need to get going on the administration of the rescue.   *Somebody* needs to insure that there is money for the 75 of the 121 cats (kittens) adopted to be spayed and neutered 3 months from now.  But I think a bank deposit will help that!  (See #2)

So yeah.  I'm still alive.  I miss blogging.  I've never stopped this long and promise to continue on a much more regular basis.  I really appreciate all the emails and comments I received asking if I was OK. 

I'm definitely OK, but a little too tired to enjoy the mega-adoption buzz.  :)