Friday, August 30, 2013

Tired and Beaten Up

It's been a long, hot, week.  Adoptions have been good for an August and the never ending calls for cats that are in need continue.   We have one more day in our Petsmart location for the month and I'm looking forward to being "off the clock" for another month.

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

Taking Some Responsibility

My rescue partner and I received a "call to action" for a very kind sounding farm family who have had quite a few cats dropped off at their property.  Honestly, we get a lot of calls like this - desperate sounding people who just want it handled.  They usually don't offer any help or donation.

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

Chew. Biting Off More Than I Can...

I'll preface this blog post by saying that I'm on some wonky cold medication.  I'm not really "that sick", but just sick enough to take cold meds and need some daily naps.  Blah.

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:

She's starting to HOWL when he walks away from her!  She looks at me like I'm spawn of Satan.  I  can touch her - but barely.  This is only the third day - I can be patient. :) 

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

End of Summer 'Crazy'

I must have the End-of-Summer burnout.  My rescue partner is feeling the same way.  We spent probably 30 minutes on the phone today prattling back and forth.  I don't think we heard each other - we just vented. 

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...."

"We're moving..."

"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 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

Here's to Hope

Tonight I'm thinking about an urgent plea that went out for a fluffy 8 month orange cat at the "high kill" shelter.

He's marked for euthanasia tomorrow at noon.  

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. 


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Thanks. But No Thanks.

So here's a rant of a different flavour:

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:

Dear Beth,
 I am writing to you in regard to your application to foster for ****** dog rescue.  Although we appreciate your interest, and thank you
for applying to our foster program. It has been determined that at
this time we are unable to use your services.."
They went on to say that I was DECLINED to foster a dog.  Seriously.  Me!!!    I feel angry, humiliated and incredulous.  We have a fenced-in GORGEOUS yard the size of a fucking football field and they think that we're not suitable as foster parents???  
They didn't even have the courtesy to CALL AND TALK TO ME.  

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.