Wednesday, June 04, 2014

A Surprise Party

When David plays Bridge every other Wednesday night, I'm always happy to see him go do something fun that he enjoys.  It's really a huge "geek fest", but Bill Gates and Warren Buffet play, so why shouldn't my hunk o' geek play too?  I often take these Wednesdays to do something for myself guilt-free.

Sometimes I like to go to Home Sense and buy some ridiculous kitchen tool that I didn't really need.  Ask me how many red spatulas I have??  Sometimes I  walk the mall and buy something else that I don't really need, but "have to have".  One of the best things that I do is go to one of our Petsmart stores and really work on getting some adoptions and/or new volunteers.  It's guilt-free time and I really enjoy it.

Tonight, I had sushi with my sons, but I didn't really have anything fun in store for MY "goof off" night.  In  fact, I felt really resentful that I had to drive a kitten 45 minutes - one way - to do an adoption.  It's really nobody's fault, but this adoption has been on the books for several weeks.  The poor foster Mom had a bunch of sick kittens and this kitten had been in quarantine for part of that time.  Then we couldn't connect with the adopter.  You name it - we had problems making this adoption happen.

All the while...the kitten was getting bigger AND she's a black and white kitten too!  I was certain that the adopter would tell me that she found another kitten.  But she remained true to "Mimi".

I grumbled as I drove the toll roads which cost more than $25.00 one way to get to the adopter's  home traffic-free, all the while the kitten has pooped and meowed incessantly.  I finally took her out of her carrier while I was driving and tucked her under my neck.

Now I smell like poop.

The family was wonderful.  The father of the family dropped dead of a brain aneurysm last year and left behind 4 kids - the youngest being 13.  They were awesome teenagers and young adults.  Everybody was was polite, enthusiastic and were planning a surprise for the 13 year old.

At first I had hoped that I would have time to do some Beth related shopping after the adoption, but when they invited me to partake in surprising the 13 year old with the kitten, how could I resist?    The *look* on his face and the joy that the family had giving him this kitten.  It was a beautiful thing...

No amount of candles, spatulas, shoes, or sheets could've given me more happiness than doing this adoption tonight.  Welcome to your new life Mimi!

Thursday, May 29, 2014


This won't be a long post.  I'm too angry to write much.  

Since when is it OK to rip off a charity?  I've heard of people stealing donations boxes from various retail establishments, or stealing  from the cash box.   But I think it's worse when one of their own volunteers tries to take a cat and not pay the adoption fee.

Seriously, I could almost handle the volunteer not paying an adoption fee.  But to make me feel like a scumbag because I've been POLITELY asking for money for 2 months on a cat her family wanted to keep is horrible.  

The excuses started coming in almost immediately.  What people don't realize is that I  used to own a collection agency many years ago.  Hell, I worked my way through University repossessing cars!  Believe me, I've heard every excuse for not paying known to mankind!    Her excuses were on the usual bill collector's  list:  

1.  My paycheck hasn't come in.

2.  A week later:  My employer lost my  paycheck

3.  2 weeks later:  I still don't have my paycheck and they're trying to figure out why.

4.  3 weeks later:  I'm sick.

4.  4 weeks later:  My kids  are sick

5.  My Grandfather died.

6.  I have lots of stuff going on.  EXCUSE ME for being too busy.

7.  I'll bring the adoption money into the vet clinic tomorrow morning.

8.  EXCUSE ME, but I had to work.

9.  I'll send the money tomorrow.  

Now it's  two months later and I'm starting to worry about our cat.  It occurred to me that our cat might not be OK, or that he's not in the house.  It's hard to pay for something you no longer have.  

To help her save face, I even offered to allow her to make payments - something.

Why didn't I just go to her house?  I guess I was trying to be polite.  With every excuse, I would text "OK, I understand."  or "I'm so sorry to hear that!"  Showing up at a VOLUNTEER'S house to "repossess" a cat just wasn't something I was prepared to do.  

So I finally asked her in a text message: "I'm worried about our cat.  Do I need to come over and make sure he's ok?"  Her mother dropped off $100.00 at one of our vet clinics (our adoption fee  is $175.00) and she text'd me this message:

"My Mom is dropping it off in cash in the morning as I have been very sick.  I hope to never speak look  and seem like  a nice person on the outside, but you are a horrible person with no care for anybody but yourself..."

Really?  I'm a horrible person for asking about our cat and trying to finalize an adoption?  I hate airing out dirty laundry like this, but I'm hoping somebody else can learn from my mistake...IF I made a mistake.  I'm sure there are a million other ways to have handled it, but it wasn't fair for the volunteers who DO lovingly scrape together adoption fee money to adopt their beloved cat.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Phone Call

It was surreal to authorize the euthanasia of a darling kitten at the same moment I'm at Petsmart and working with two adopters.  I sat in the adoption centre and wanted to cry.  The excitement emanating from the loving new "parents" with their kittens kept me momentarily in "Yay-you're-adopting-the-cutest-kitten!" mode.

I excused myself from the adopters to speak with the exasperated veterinarian.  She had taken the sick kitten home with her the night before....just to hold her and watch her.  How often does that happen?  Not very.  I was grateful that the kitten was held and loved instead of left in the vet's cage.  The poor wee baby failed so quickly.

Then comes the call that I always dread...the foster parent.  This foster parent has been through this shit before.  She's been fostering for years and sadly isn't a stranger to sick kittens that die.  I was hoping that her voicemail would pick up, but I know better.  This foster parent would be on pins and needles until she heard about her kitten and the phone was answered on the first ring.  It doesn't make it any easier anyway - believe me.  I always say the same useless things.  Blah, I'm so sorry, Blah, At least we tried, Blah...

 I hate that call.  Calling a foster parent at work.  "I'm sorry, but she didn't make it."

But in this case there was yet ANOTHER call that had to be made with regard to this kitten:  She had an adopter waiting to meet her.  A young woman who fell in love with a kitten's picture.  I had to tell her that her beloved kitten - that she hadn't met yet - was now gone.

To make matters worse, I've played phone tag for 24 hours with the adopter.  Each missed message she sounds more and more excited about meeting her new BFF.


It must be kitten season, because my heart is either broken or soaring high above the clouds.  There doesn't seem to be any middle ground during kitten season.  I'm not alone.  There are a bunch of us out there struggling with "The Rescue Emotional Rollercoaster".  Sometimes I think I'm the first in line and keep going on the damn thing even though I'm throwing up.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


We've all been working overtime for the big Petsmart National Adoption Weekend.  Usually, this means "hoarding" cats for the event and pray that they're not all adopted BEFORE the event so that we don't have to start over.

Crazy thinking, isn't it?

I've been spending a lot of time in the car rescuing cats from private parties who want to dump them for various reasons.  God, how I hate to go to people's homes and rescue cats.  I'm a bit of a voyeur, so I find it interesting to see how people live, but it's very difficult for me to  remain quiet and respectful while in somebody else's home at the same time they're acting like idiots.

I just picked up 3 kittens that some guy was threatening to "get rid of".  I always make provisions to help the Mom cat - "do they want to keep her?  Do they want help to get her spayed?" - but this time when I inquired about the sweet black Mom cat rubbing around my legs the man said, "Nahhhh....we want to get rid of her too."

I glanced  at David who always comes out with me for safety reasons.  She's a nice Mom cat and there's an unneutered  young Dad cat in the house, so they'll never get him fixed.  (Husband thinks it's unnatural)  So I picked up the Mom cat who was purring in my arms.

That's when it happened...

The 3 year old little boy in the house squeals and makes the usual noise a 3 year old boy makes and the Mom cat goes bizerk and leaps from my hands and out of sight.  She scratched my chest and arms pretty badly as she tried to get away from the little boy. The Dad shrugged and said, "my son has been mean to her for her whole life.  That's why we want to get rid of her, because she's mean to our son"

David touched my arm.  That means to shaddap, get the kittens, and get out.  But it just wasn't that easy for me.  This son-of-a-bitch allowed his kid to torture this Mom cat for the past 2 years and it's the CAT that is losing her home because of it.  Stupid, stupid, people.

I gently told the man, "One of the best gifts I've ever given my children was the ability to be respectful to our family pets.  They've grown into wonderful, gentle, animal loving adults."

He didn't understand and I couldn't find the Mom cat.   My offer still stands to call me if he can corral the Mom cat.  But he won't.  It's easier just to let her outside.

I hate him and his little brat too.

Monday, April 14, 2014

"Defeated, Exhausted and Frustrated" Must Be A Family Visit.

I arrived home from Seattle and had to hit the ground running.  It felt like kitten season had exploded in the 4 days of my absence.   Phone calls, rescues and adoptions were in full force and there was no recuperation time for me.  

Despite seeing my beautiful daughter, the trip to visit my parents was a disaster.  There are some days I feel like I'm the only one with "family issues".  I love my parents dearly, but have never been more disappointed in their behavior than I was  during this trip.  It was stressful and I left not speaking with my own mother. Ridiculous!  Why can't things be more simple?  

Needless to say, this was not a refreshing or relaxing trip.  I came home feeling defeated, exhausted and frustrated.  

The good news is, we had tons of adoptions and have already have almost 50 adoptions during the month of April.  I guess I need to wallow in good news for a bit.  It always makes me smile.  

We rescued six kittens from the Quebec gas chambers recently.  They spent a few  days at my house while they were vetted and quarantined.  I split up the big litter to allow 2 kittens to go to our veterinary clinic that offers our kittens to be adopted through their clinic.  Their little faces looked at me with great hope I would do the right thing for them.  I left the clinic feeling incredibly anxious.  Seriously, anxious.  I haven't had an true anxiety attack in about 15 years, but I really felt the wave of dread and anxiety hit me deep in my stomach. 

I started to think about the kittens never seeing each other again.   I fretted about it until it became a full blown anxiety attack.  Fortunately, it didn't last long but it left me feeling defeated, exhausted and frustrated. Familiar feelings from that never left me from my trip to Seattle.  

I'm OK, but am envious of families who don't have that sort of drama.  But maybe everybody lives that illusion.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Springing and Sprunging

I've been sick for the past 3 days and I'm on a plane tonight for Seattle to visit my parents.  It's awful to travel when you're sick.  So worried about bringing something nasty to my senior parents.  But I had to cancel a visit in February due to weather, so here I go....

Every year I make some silly formal announcement about "Kitten Season Has Arrived"!  I usually base this on the number of kittens that arrive at the shelters.  Not many have arrived yet, but there have been a TON of Mom cats with their nursing kittens.  We're completely full with pregnant Moms and nursing Moms and the phones continue to ring for us to help them.  We have a 7 month old pregnant kitten in our program right now.  That would be like a 13 year old human girl having a baby!  Seven months!  How awful!

We've recently rescued 13 adult cats and there are 5 more coming in from Quebec tonight.  Adults!  This will probably be the last larger adult cat rescue I do for a while as the kittens will start pouring in.  During the summer, as the adults are adopted, we rescue more but I do proceed with great caution this time of year until the fall.  This is when rescues can really screw up.

One of our volunteers took their kitten into the vet clinic the other day only to find that somebody had dumped a very handsome 2 year old cat to be euthanized at the clinic.  Apparently, the poor guy had an untreated UTI and was peeing outside the litterbox.  Why are people so stupid?  Why would they choose to kill him and not get some frickin' antibiotics?

Isn't he handsome?  AND his litterbox habits are perfect now.   We'll find him a great home.  Kudos to the volunteers who were in the right place at the right time!

As I type this blog post and wait for the Dayquil to kick in, I can see a bird building a nest in our bird house.  She's going back and forth with sticks.  I get so excited this time of year as my yard awakens with new life.  If only kitten season made me feel so positive!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Like a Blur

It's funny when life happens faster than I can blog about it.  So often, I sit down at my computer to write, the phone rings or an email comes in and I'm off and running again.  Sometimes it all feels like old news and it happened only a few days ago!

I've connected with a really dynamic dog rescue group who has recently started a cat rescue area of their group.  They have a good reputation and rescue a lot from the gas chambers of Quebec.  The province of Quebec is SO far behind in animal welfare.  It's hard to believe they still gas animals as a method of killing them due to overcrowding  This rescue takes a lot of dogs from there, so I had 15 needy cats hitch a ride on their 6-person relay from Quebec the other day and met up with them!

They don't have vet cages there to house the cats.  They're kept in large dog crates.  They're trying so hard to get these cats out of the shelter.  It really felt good to take them - plus lots of black kittens:
Usually, I wait a few weeks after rescuing a cat directly from an unknown shelter before putting them up for adoption, but these black kittens only have a fairly short window of "cute adoption opportunity".  So I rolled the dice, had them vet examined, vaccinated, etc and put them into a small adoption event two days later.

The adoption event was at a local vet clinic that was having an Open House.  I figured I could do it on my own.  It was a small venue.  It wasn't until the calls started coming in about "Will kittens be there?" that I figured I *might* need some help.

By 10:30 a.m, the line in the vet clinic was OUT THE DOOR to see and adopt the kittens!!!  Thank God I asked for help from volunteers!  I would've been in huge trouble if I had been alone.  The best part?  Every cat and kitten (15 of them)  was adopted within 2 hours!  We actually ran out of cats and had to shut down early!  

Even my own foster "Pablo" was adopted:

The adopter sent me this picture of Pablo the day she took him home.  Lovely person and I think he went to a terrific home!

Sooooo....I guess you can say this is an all around "good news" post.  I suppose some crappy stuff has happened, but I'm pleased to report that I don't remember it, so it can't be too earth shattering.  It's always a good sign when I'm concentrating on the positives.

March is definitely going out like a LION - a fluffy, cute one!  :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Nothing Special Wednesday!

I'm feeling better, thank goodness.  Your uplifting remarks and private emails made a huge difference, as always.  I feel much more in control of the way things are going and have taken  a "What will be. Will be." attitude.  I don't think that's an appropriate attitude for life, but it certainly works when I'm frustrated and things are spinning out of control.

We're supposed to have freezing rain today so will try to use that as an excuse to stay in and finish the massive administrative tasks that come with running a rescue.'s so much more than just rescuing, vetting and adopting out cats.  I wish people knew that.

Yesterday, I had the luxury of laying down on my bed and taking a 30 minute snooze.  Oh how I LOVE those cat naps!  I snuggle under the blankets with my dogs and two of the cats and it's a 30 minute piece of heaven.  But yesterday was different.  I woke up to our big 20 pound white "Snow Cat" having a grand mal seizure right next to me.  I went from 0 to 60 in less than a second as he lost his bladder as his body lifted up as convulsed over and over.

So much for my 30 minute cat nap.

I'm not a stranger to seizures.  My "soulmate cat" named "Newman" has been taking Phenobarbital for epilepsy for 9 years now.  We spent thousands to only have it come down to "Simple Epilepsy".  "The Snow Cat" has been taking Amitriptyline for litterbox problems for years.  I'm sure it has something to do with that, so will need to take the big guy to the vets.  I don't think I'll be so quick to spend $3000.00 in MRI's and spinal taps with him.  It's amazing how much I think I know without a licence to practice veterinary medicine. A little bit of medical knowledge is a dangerous thing in animal rescue.

As I look out the window, I wish the freezing rain would start.  I really need an excuse to stay in and finish this shit. crap.  Is it wrong that I want to stay in sweatpants and a ponytail all day?   (I didn't think so!) :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

If you're looking for an uplifting post to feel good about rescue, you might want to skip today's blog post.  It's been a while since I felt like running away from rescue.  But once in a while the urge to flee the whole industry rears it's ugly head.  It starts with me feeling really sorry for myself...

You'd think I would've come back from Iceland feeling rested and refreshed.  I think people don't realize that I never really get away.  I would have to leave my phone and computer behind and go to some third world country where the internet is a luxury item.  I often wonder how long it would take me to unwind and not worry.  When my kids were little, it would take about 72 hours.  Even then - I could relax as I knew the kids were in great hands.  With rescue, there are SO MANY people counting on me for answers to questions, problems and concerns.  Our volunteers that handle things when I'm away are outstanding, so my insecurity is truly my own.

We had an adorable 8 week old  kitten pass away last night.  We don't know why and it was sudden.  Now we're on death watch for the remaining siblings.  One kitten had been adopted and now I'm worried sick.

An adopter abandoned an adopted cat at one of our partner vet clinics because she didn't want to pay the $1200.00 surgery for HER cat.  Who did she think was going to pay it?  Yes, the rescue is paying for it.  No way to have budgeted for that, right?

We rescued a really nice 3 year old neutered boy.  I figured since he was already neutered, that the vaccinations, and other general care would put us in the black for this particular cat.  No. Such. Luck.  Turns out he needed $600.00 in dental surgery, and he had a urinary blockage after surgery.  

One of our adopters needlessly verbally attacked one of our awesome partner veterinarians.  Like all of our vets, they reduce fees for services to help the cats.  The vet called me pretty upset...."I don't need to put up with this shit crap for a $60.00 neuter surgery."  (No, she doesn't.)

I feel like there's pressure on all sides and am spending hours and hours on the phone each day.  I received a particularly scathing email from somebody I really like this morning.  I was still in my robe with a cup of coffee and trying to read the paper in front of a fire with David.  Why did I check my email so early?    

I'm just a volunteer.  I work 7 days per week and 60+ hours per week for free.  I do the best I can to have a life outside of rescue.  I'm sure my husband would love to be doing more retirement stuff with me.  Instead, he's stuck waiting for me to finish phone calls - or worse - taking phone calls while we're out and about on  "marital bonding days".

I know there are a lot of people out there working hard for the animals like me.  But every once in a while I sit and think "WHY?"  Why put up with all the bullshit, the lack of money, lack of time and people feeling resentful when I need an afternoon to get my hair done?   If you think I'm talking about *you*, I'm probably not.  I'm just venting about all of it.  It's been a shitty week and I was due for one, I guess.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Back To Business

I managed to survive 5 days in Iceland during the winter without seeing any lost cats or dogs!  In  fact, I didn't see ANY cats and only a couple of dogs out for a walk with their guardians.  I'm so sensitive to being in other countries and seeing abandoned street animals, that I've made a mental list of all the countries I can never visit.  Glad Iceland didn't disappoint me!

It was delightful to find out upon my return that the rescue had  SEVENTEEN  adoptions during the 5 days I was away.  Have I mentioned how much I love our volunteers?  We are a well oiled running machine and it's never more apparent than when I'm away.  But I still worry and find myself with mega Roaming Charges on my cell phone as I'm constantly checking email and messages.  Even being in Iceland doesn't keep me from being out of touch.

Every time David would go to the bathroom, I found myself jumping on my phone...feverishly clicking away to check for email.  I get tired of *the look* from him so this seems to work much better.  It's like something out of a 21st Century "I Love Lucy" program.  "LUUUUUUCY....what are you still doing on that computer!?"

I'm happy to report that our Jolly Roger actually has a working eye!  Apparently, this poor guy has had a massive infection in his eye for (at least) 6 months.  His eye is slightly open, but we're unsure how much vision he has.  I'm so grateful to the foster parent for giving him the eye drops - evidently, he's a rather unwilling patient.  Ugh!

Old Man Winter isn't done with us yet, as we're having a huge storm today.  We received an urgent plea for a Mom cat who delivered her 3 kittens outside in this horrific weather.  The finder brought the family inside for a few moments, but her dogs were unwilling to be friendly to this sweet friendly.  My rescue partner Shelley, said "Yes"....what a kind soul she is to take this family:

I love the little "happy feet".  It must be wonderful for her to be inside and warm.  She's obviously a sweet cat and was abandoned.  How could someone do that?  How?  Her name is "Storm".  :)  Can I name the babies "Ice Pellet",  "Snow Drift" and "Power Outage"?  LOL!

Happy to be back and gearing up for an early kitten season.  Hard to believe it's happening after looking outside.  Spring feels like months away.

Monday, March 03, 2014

"Pablo" and "Jolly Roger"

I have a new foster kitten named "Pablo".  He's about 5 months old - and NO, he's not a brown tabby!  Pablo is an orange and white kitten and is just now feeling better about coming downstairs to explore his environment.  I don't know what it is, but Pablo might be one of those adorable guys that just takes a crappy picture:

He's seriously cute, but appears to look demonic in every picture.  LOL!  :)

Shelley (my rescue partner) and I were notified about a cat in need after it was discovered that tenants moved out and left the cat in an empty apartment.   God, that makes me feel so hateful  to hear that scumbags moved away and left their cat.  What did the poor cat think when he saw the only family he had ever known ... leave.

This particular cat was left with no food, no water and an infected eye.  When we got to the apartment, workers were there painting.  They had given the poor cat some food and water.  They really cared about this him and had named him "Jolly Roger".

I was so pissed when I saw the collar on this poor cat.  They wouldn't treat the horrific infection in his eye, but they bought him a collar?  Bastards.

I hope he doesn't need his eye removed.  The rescue has had some really expensive cats lately.  But we'll do what we have to do.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Land O' Ice

How many people book a trip to Iceland during the Canadian winter?  Answer:  Canadians that thought it was a good idea in August.  Good Grief.  What were we thinking?  We forgot all about this  trip until two days ago when David got a reminder on his phone.  I've been moving full  speed ahead  with rescue and have had very busy days - no time for a holiday right now.  

Looks like I'm going to Iceland next week.  *sigh*  

We've had 90+ adoptions again this month, and we've been doing a lot of rescuing just to keep up with the numbers.  Does this sound like I'm complaining?  Noooo....not at  all.  But I'm certainly not prepared to take a break and go to Iceland.  

I need to file the tax return for the Charity.  It's due now and I'm behind on bookkeeping, bank deposits and and the usual administration.  I am *never* this far behind.  It's obvious that I need to take several administration days or set my alarm to get up before the phones start ringing.  

Yesterday, I  worked the ENTIRE  afternoon entering Paypal donations in our bookkeeping software.   Believe me - there weren't that many!  But with the text messages, phones and emails interrupting me, I found myself making data entry errors and was completely distracted.  I really need to lock myself in somewhere and finish all this stuff.  

Tomorrow night, we move from one Petsmart store to another.  Packing up, moving out and moving the cats with us.  It's all such a hassle, but I think it's nice for some of the volunteers to get a monthly break.  Those of who are more hardcore in the as usual.  

Tomorrow is another rescue day for us.  I'm tired and am beginning to wonder if  my socks are clean or if I'm putting the dirty ones back in the drawer.  That's how I lost my wedding ring a few months ago!  It just completely disappeared on an evening I was 100% exhausted.  At the end of the day, I took off my earrings and my wedding ring and put them in the drawer.  I  woke up the next morning - they were gone. *Poof*  For all I know, I'll find them in the refrigerator when I  (finally) have time to clean that.  

Nope.  I'm not ready for a vacation.  But I'm getting one anyway.  The universe has a way of slowing us down when we need it the most.  I suppose I should be glad I'm getting a trip to Iceland and not an appendectomy!  Tomorrow, I'm  setting my alarm for 5 a.m. and will try to power through some of this tax shit.  stuff.   The glamour of running a rescue...tell the masses :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Busy February!

Whenever there is a larger gap between posts, I always wonder where I should begin.  For once, there hasn't been anything super newsworthy!  At least nothing that I want to discuss publicly.   Those of you who have been reading my blog for the past 6 years might be surprised that there are actually things that I don't want to talk about.  :)

A few weeks ago, we rescued this pathetic little guy from the "high kill" shelter:

He was declared to be really old and very sickly.  You never know what you're going to get when you rescue a cat like this.  He might need to be euthanized right away, or the costs could be in $$$$'s in order to make him well.

Rarely, are there PLEASANT surprises in rescue...but this guy was  a REALLY pleasant surprise:

Turns out our "sickly old man" was really a  "starving kitten!"   How cute is this picture????  PLUS, this guy LOVES the other cats and the dog in his foster home.  BONUS!!!

Our adoptions are really strong again this month.  I'm certain it will be 90+ adoptions for the month of February again.  But with 200 adoptions in two months come a lot of rescues.  We've been swamped keeping up with rescuing, vetting, placing, Petsmart, adoptions, etc etc.  It's a good kind of busy.  No complaints from me yet.

I wish it could be this way every month.  Even the black cats are being adopted fast.  It's funny how there's always a certain colour that seems more popular than others every year.  Some years it was the orange cats.  Other years it was the calicos.  This year?  It's the tabby's.  EVERYBODY wants a tabby.  :)  I'll have to start paying more attention to the Temptation Treats and toilet paper commercials.  They seem to dictate the Cat Du Jour.

I've posted on Facebook some pictures of our new dog "Jeffrey".  He's so homely that he's cute:

Honestly.  I can't be the only one that will admit that Jeffrey is a bit... u-g-l-y, can I?  David gets very sensitive when I say that Jeff is homely.  But Sadie likes him, and that's important too:

I'll try to write more this week.  I'm really holding back on some thoughts and  issues happening in my life.    I'm hoping that they'll correct themselves - but if not...I'll need a place to talk.
Piss & Moan.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hodge Podge of Emotional Writing

I really haven't felt like myself since Doug left us.   I know it sounds crazy, because pets come and go and  as a veteran rescuer, you'd think I would've hardened up a bit more.  But his unfair departure from our lives have left me feeling empty and sad.   Maybe it's just seasonal and the dark days are getting to me.  I've been thinking about my life in Southern California quite a bit lately which is very uncharacteristic of me.

We named our frozen orange and white guy "Wallace".  (William Wallace the warrior!)  It seemed to suit him after he had been through so much.  I think his picture from our vet clinic speaks volumes to how Wallace feels  about square meals and warmth:
A Rant:

We recently rescued a cat from a fellow rescuer who reached out for help.  This rescuer has been *no* friend of mine over the years and has been part of that "Crazy Protester" group.  She's  really a pathetic little woman that has said some pretty nasty things about me and our rescue over the years.  She's called me an "enabler for kill shelters", etc.   I find it incredible that when she needs help for one of her OWN CATS, she asked us.  I didn't take the cat for her, I took the cat because she was desperate and I was worried about him.

The cat arrived to us in horrible shape.  According to his veterinary records, he had lost almost 2 pounds in the past 9 months.  He had  hardened weeks and weeks old diarrhea down his legs and so much caked to his back side that it completely covered his rectum.   The vet felt she had to shave and bathe this poor cat before he could go into a foster home.  The vet also indicated that his feet were caked with mounds of litter - all of which meant he was either living in filth or this pathetic excuse for a human being kept this sweet cat caged.

I'd love to post pictures of this cat, but will keep her identity anonymous.  She doesn't really deserve it, but I need to protect myself too.

How?  How on earth can she call herself a "rescuer"?  How can she sit there on a Facebook page and advocate for animals at a high kill shelter when her own situation is such a horrific mess?  I read her posts about how "disgusting"  this shelter is and that the staff is void of conscience...yada yada  yada...God, I can't imagine what the rest of her cats look like. This poor cat is going to need medical care and lots of it.   I hope the vet files a cruelty charge against her.  I really do.

End Rant

Wasn't this a hodge podge of emotional writing tonight?  I've had a few people mention that I need more before/after happy stories in my blog.  I try to remind readers that this isn't our rescue's blog.  I wouldn't be writing stories like I have over the past 6 years if I was representing our rescue in these posts.  These  are my own personal thoughts and I really think it needs to remain that way.  I'd consider a "Disneyland Rainbow Rescue Blog", but I don't think I could write it.  That isn't really rescue. But after seeing that poor cat that we took from a (supposed to be) fellow rescuer, I'm not sure I really understand it all anyway.

Friday, February 07, 2014

We Did It!

Remember this sad little soul?  (if you missed the post, you can read about him HERE or HERE.

My rescue partner, Shelley and I were knee deep in a hoarder's house rescuing a bunch of unwilling cats when my cell phone rang.  I didn't want to answer the phone, I was busy but didn't recognize the number. Maybe it was a Petsmart volunteer who needed help.

"Beth?  This is E*** the people who have the orange and white cat that was freezing to death in our back yard?"

My  heart skipped a beat.

He was there.  He was in their back yard.  But this time, he was dragging his back leg and he appeared to be severely injured.   I don't think I've ever seen Shelley move so fast!   She jumped in her car and left to pick up the mysterious frozen orange and white cat and I stayed behind to take a 9 hoarder's cats to the vet.

He was there when she arrived.  His hip looked bad - maybe he had been hit by a car.   He must've known he was going to be safe.  He never struggled and this gentle soul allowed the vet to examine him and trim his nails.  X-rays, possible hip surgery, neutering and vaccinations - all on the list for this sweet abandoned cat. He bears a few war wounds across his nose that tom cats often have.   But those will heal.  

 We did it.  He's safe.  He will never have to be cold or hungry again.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Lucky Update

My days have been starting earlier and earlier lately.  I think the severe cold in our area have put my head into hibernation mode.  The rescue's voicemail is filled with anxious people that have been feeding strays and needing help for them in these frigid temperatures.  The voicemail always starts with "I've been feeding this stray kitten for the past 6 months and now it's so cold, he needs to come inside."  So frustrating that people wait so long.

A few weeks ago we rescued a pathetic little girl from the "high kill" shelter named "Lucky".
Her mouth was so infected and abscessed from bad teeth that she just laid in her litterbox and drooled.  She couldn't eat.  Looking into her mouth would make you want to cry!  Lucky is cross-eyed and has a severely broken tail.  She was anything but Lucky until we rescued her:

After more than $1000.00 worth of dental surgery you can see the relief in her face.  All she needs is a little princess crown on top of her head.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Recovery Will Be Slow

First, I want to thank everybody for their outpouring of love and support over the loss of our dog "Doug" after the rescue we were volunteering with "Homeward Bound Rescue of Clarington" adopted him to another family despite our vehement objections.  The tragedy goes far deeper than just the loss of Doug.  I've always wondered how couples who have lost a child could turn on each other.  Now I understand.  David and I are blaming each other for the loss of Doug and Homeward Bound just gets to walk away from the mess with an adoption fee in hand.  I haven't slept well since he left and we're all very depressed.

Although I haven't felt much like it, we've still been rescuing.  "Carrying on" hasn't done much for me emotionally, but it's kept me out of the house and away from thinking about my little guy that loved us so much.

We rescued 13 cats the other day from a woman who was trying to be her own rescue and found herself unable to care for the cats properly.  She meant well and the cats were cared for, but having your own rescue isn't just about rescuing a shitload of cats.

Some faces of our more recent rescue:

The fluffy guy above was found with a missing leg and ear.  I can't even imagine what happened to him.  He had to be sedated to shave the matts out. You need money for that kind of rescuing.

Ah...those dear little faces that rely on us to do the right things for them.  I feel like I'm so close to crying all the time and wish it would go away.  I think the best thing I can do now is just to keep moving forward every single day.  I'm sure Homeward Bound Rescue is happy that I'm off their least for now.

I'll continue to rescue, do adoptions and smile.  But I'll be thinking about my "Doug the Pug".  I hope he's ok.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First Come. First Served.

They took him from me.

David offered to pay the adopter's adoption fee for another dog, plus a donation to the rescue. That wasn't good enough.  A volunteer driver called him and David left a moment ago with Doug.  It's strange, Doug has never turned down a ride in the car.  But when David called  'C'mon Doug!", he ran upstairs to me and jumped into my lap.

I'm devastated.  Heartbroken and my eyes red and puffy from crying.

To add insult to injury, I received the following email from a board member of the rescue pertaining to the blog post I wrote about yesterday.  Again, I'm not verifying the name of the rescue, nor the writer:

Beth I have to say that I am totally disgusted with your behaviour.  How dare you manipulate the situation to make yourself look like a victim. I know that you are a very passionate and opinionated woman, but your selfishness in trying to make yourself look good is just hurting rescue in general. What you are doing is slander and you know it.  You do not have any proof of your intention to adopt and are twisting the situation around.

Perhaps you should mention in your post that you don't have the proof existence of such email exists so it is a more accurate portrayal of the situation.  You seem to have every other email about Doug except the one we have asked for.

I did warn T*** and K***  that you would be a high maintenance foster home, but I never dreamed that it would result in this.  Perhaps I should have realized that you publicly bash everybody and everything when you do not get your own way and should have expected something like this from you.
It's absolutely true.  There is an email "out there" that I no longer have and they said they never received that casually stated our intent to adopt Doug.  They knew I wanted him.  Why didn't they call me to find out for sure?   They're ALL (or were) "friends" with me on  Facebook.  They knew how I felt about him.  

This isn't a sale at Wal-Mart.  The well-being of the animal shouldn't be first come first serve.  

No, I'm not a victim at all.  Doug is the victim.  I can still feel his slobber drying on my cheek as I type this.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

What About Doug?

I've decided that all dog rescuers are completely insane.  How's THAT for a ridiculous generalization?

The dog rescue that we've been with wants to take Doug away from us.  Apparently, they have an adopter interested in him.  I told them a month ago that we wanted to adopt Doug, but since the Foster Coordinator didn't acknowledge the email, they went ahead and put 10+ year old Doug on their website as 6 year old Doug and they don't care about anything but their reputation with the adoption applicant.

The Facebook messaging went something like this:  (Edited for length and to keep the privacy of the moron who I'm messaging.)

Hi Beth,
Hope you are well, I need to have your contact info as we now have a completed application, home visit for Doug.
thank you

I told K*** that we were hoping to adopt him ourselves. He loves us I never heard back from her, and figured we were good.
Uh oh!!! I'm so sorry. What happened to K****? I haven't heard from her in ages. As an administrator of an animal rescue, I drives me crazy when foster parents wait until there's an adopter interested before declaring they want to adopt the pet themselves. I'm so sorry!

K*** is still around. I will be proceeding with the application Beth, I am sorry! What information would you like me to provide to them so they can contact you to set up the meet and greet?

Why is that, T***? Doug is very happy with us and our other dog Sadie.

Beth is looks very bad on us that we have completed the application, home visit etc and then turn around and waste the time and say.. Oh the foster is going to adopt. This is something you would not tolerate from your own rescue. So please let me have your information so I can provide it to the family that is over the moon excited about Doug.

T***y, in our foster home based rescue, our foster parents DO get first pick to adopt. I would NEVER pry a cat away - who is settled and wanted in their foster home. Furthermore, I told K*** quite a while ago via email (right before the dental) that we wanted to adopt.

Well that is your policy. Like I said I am going through with this application, so I can come and pick doug up and do the meet and greet or you can?

(More bullshit messages back and forth - by this time, I'm hysterically sobbing at the computer)

Beth TurnerIn other words, you're willing to pry Doug from a home he loves with people who love him? He sleeps between me and my husband every night. You're more worried about what your potential adopters think of HBR than what's best for the dog? Seriously? are not adopting Doug, I make the decision. And he will be going to another family

Are we unsuitable adopters?

Beth i am really not wishing to argue with you, if you are not going to cooperate with me then I will have no choice then to come and get him and move him asap. We do not expect this kind of behaviour from our foster homes and will not tolerate it.

(Note: At this point, I offer to DOUBLE the adoption fee, she asks for correspondence that I no longer have and calls me a liar.)

Sure, I understand what a pain in the ass it is when a foster parent waits to adopt until an adopter is interested. It happened to me last week! You call the adopter and say sheepishly, "Oops...let me help you choose another cat." The bottom line is, "What is best for the dog?" How many times does Doug have to start over????

At this point, I have no idea what's going to happen. David and I aren't speaking over this, because he always defaults to contractual agreements and I think with my heart. He wants to keep Doug and loves Doug, but he's too Canadian to fight for him.

I, however, am not Canadian and have called a lawyer.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Difficult Rant

(Profanity Alert)
If you're reading this post, it's because I've had the balls to push "Send".   This is a rant about a situation at the "high kill" shelter where we often rescue.  The "high kill"  Pound shares a building with the non-profit SPCA.  It's been this way for years and the SPCA will often come over and pull cats from the pound for their shelter.

I've been rescuing from this city pound for 10 years now.  For 10 years, the  SPCA has been able to come next door and take "first pick" of any cat in the shelter.  For years, they've cherry-picked litters of kittens and left the black ones to die.   The SPCA is no friend of mine.

Two days ago, a litter of 8 kittens were left at a bus stop in a box.  My rescue was  alerted and we went to the city pound and put the kittens "on hold" so that they could finish their stray time, as mandated by the city. A big sign was put on each of their cages that said, "RESCUE CONFIRMED"  with FHCR's name on it.  While we were there, we took a cat that needed more than a $1000.00 worth of dental and two others that nobody else wanted.

My rescue partner and I spent hours sorting through the recent rescue of 17 cats and now incoming 8 unsocialized kittens.  We put out volunteer driver requests to help with moving cats to their proper foster homes and booked vet appointments.  Because these kittens were  "spitty/hissy/cuties", we wanted to insure that they would go to an experienced home who has the time to work with them.

One of our awesome volunteer drivers took took a vacation day from work in order to make the ONE HOUR drive to pick up the 8  kittens and transport them to the vet and prospective foster homes.  She offered to do this as a great favour to me because I was so pressed for time with all the other incoming cats.  We even had another foster parent that would pick up some on her lunch hour from work too.

This morning, after all the T's are crossed and I's are dotted,   I receive an email from a staff member at the shelter I really like:

Hey ladies,

The SPCA has decided to take some of the 8 kittens.  They have first choice so there is nothing I can doL  I told them you had already made arrangements for them so they left some for you…I think there are 2 left.

So sorryL

You can only imagine how I felt when  I received the email.  How can one rescue organization (aka: the SPCA) come in, yank the signs  off the cages and take the kittens that were to be coming to another rescue? 

Before I receive emails about "principles before personalities"  and "it's all about the cats", and "there are no  shortage of cats"...and other similar bullshit.  This post isn't about the cats/kittens rescued today.  I'm happy that they had a place to go and that TWO organizations wanted them.  I certainly wish it could always be that way.  

It's about our VOLUNTEERS.  I value what our volunteers do.  We had foster parents who left for work this morning with spare bedrooms  set up with litterboxes and food in anticipation of their new arrivals.  We  had  a  volunteer that took a fucking VACATION DAY to do transport because *I*  asked her for help!!!!

The SPCA  has PAID employees who walked next door, took down the "Rescue confirmed" signs, took the kittens that I had planned on rescuing for HOURS and said  "Fuck Beth and her volunteers, we need kittens in our shelter."  

I called the Acting Manager of the City Pound who has known me for 10  years.  She  apologized.  She said her hands were tied and that there was nothing that they could do.  Bullshit.  She said they were making positive changes  and to please be patient.  "HUH????  Tell THAT to the army of volunteers I put into place to rescue 8 kittens this morning."  

I lost credibility with my volunteers this morning and wasted  a lot of people's time.  But no more.  I will not be rescuing from this city pound again until the policy of the "all  mighty SPCA is more important than my rescue." is abolished.

With all the paid staff, a six figure $$ paid CEO, Wiggle Wagon truck, in house veterinarian, vet techs, a millions in donations etc., this almighty, fucking organization had 966 cat adoptions in 2013.

I have NO paid staff, a bunch of awesome rockstar volunteers who pay for gasoline, food and litter out of their own pockets and NO SHELTER....and I had 715 adoptions.  

Come get me when you get your head out of your asses.  I'll still be here rescuing the cats that need me.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Rescue Anxiety

Up until yesterday, I wouldn't have been able to tell you if our orange stray that we so diligently tried to rescue was alive.  But 'lo and behold, I received a picture from the people who are watching for him:

Don't get me started on WHY the hell they haven't called or put this guy in their garage.  These people are afraid of fleas and refuse to touch him.  I'm grateful they are still in contact with me, however.  He looks pretty good in this picture, so somebody is feeding him.

Of course, he finally shows up after Shelley and I rescue 17 cats yesterday and are scrambling on veterinary care and foster space.  We left at 10 am and finally got home at 5 pm.  Needless to say, the cats were not all from one location.  I hadn't rescued like that in a long time!!!  I'm such a conservative rescuer by nature, I desperately tried not to have a panic attack as we took a cat with severe dental issues and another big ol' Tom that had been fighting.  Poor guy had abscesses all over his head and massive infections.

When we arrived at the lady's house to pick up one unneutered cat, we discovered she had four cats that needed help.  One was VERY pregnant and due to deliver any day.  She couldn't figure out how that happened since "the unneutered cats only came inside once in a while."  :)  So we loaded 'em all up.

The vet recommended that we viral test the Tom  cat for Feline Leukemia.  Sure...that's easy for her to say.  I don't believe in viral testing for the most part, but I took one look at this big headed tom cat and knew it was the right thing to do.   IF the test was positive, I would lovingly have him euthanized.  He wouldn't be adoptable and the wounds on his head would never properly heal.  I stood staring at the "Snap" test (similar to a pregnancy test) for 10 minutes.  He was negative and I rejoiced!

It was really quite a day.  We were at the high kill shelter, and a nasty smelly drug house - twice and the home of a kind retired lady who was trying to save a few cats but had no money.   I put on a lot of kilometers on the car and at the end of the day my car was filled with empty coffee cups and a couple of muffin wrappers.

I think we were at the vets dropping off cats three different times.  Bless their hearts, the vet managed to get ALL the surgeries and vaccinations done.  Now it's our job to insure they're all moved out of the clinics and into appropriate foster homes.  Piece of cake, right?

Tomorrow?  I'm back at the "high kill" shelter to rescue 8 kittens that were left in a box at a bus stop.

Let the anxiety begin!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Just One.

It's going to be -35 tonight - again.  With gusts of wind 60 kmh - again.  Two days ago, I received a plea for help regarding a domestic cat that had probably been abandoned and he took refuge on a homeowner's back porch:

My heart dropped while the temperature dropped even further and I posted this picture on Facebook.  I didn't know where these people lived and they wouldn't answer their phone.  I could help him.  I was shocked at the number of fellow rescuers from Facebook who sprang into action to try to find where these  people lived.

I called the family this morning at a rude hour to insure I could actually speak with somebody.  Yes, they had seen the cat but they didn't want to touch him because he "might have fleas".  "Fuck.  Seriously?"  But I got their address and was told that I could come to their home to look around.

I grabbed my rescue partner Shelley and we drove into another area of the city where the roads  were sheets of ice.  Anyone with any common sense wouldn't have gone out this morning.  But I kept picturing that chubby orange and white body.  He was somebody's pet at some point.  He wasn't like the other ferals.

The house was a typical cookie cutter with a lovely backyard.  They kept their promise by leaving the gate unlocked for us and we found the chair covered with a quilt and empty.  Apparently, he goes under the fence in the house in the back.  My hands were freezing fast and my ears felt like they  were going to snap off, but Shelley climbed on top of a milk crate and peeped over the fence.

He could be anywhere.

We called "Kitty Kitty" as our lips froze.  The family had bought a live trap, but I was certain that they didn't have the common sense to check the damn thing and I knew our boy would freeze to death tonight.

My heart hurts tonight and this story doesn't have the ending I had hoped.  I hear the wind whistling through our old Victorian house and "my boy" is still out there somewhere.  I won't sleep well and I'm leaving for Seattle tomorrow to visit my parents.  Sure, there are lots of cats that have no homes and are cold tonight. Many won't survive tonight.  But there was something about this one and I wanted to save his life.

I'll be thinking about this poor soul tonight.  I'll be thinking about all of them.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Happy New Year!

I don't think I've ever felt it so cold before.  We're in a deep freeze in the Toronto area and instead of snuggling with my sweetie by the fire I have found myself very depressed thinking about the abandoned domestic animals who are outside and have no escape.  I received a call last night from a woman who went out and rescued a "shivering, skinny cat" who was living under a loading dock.  I guess that was the trigger for me and I felt so helpless for them all.

Yesterday, we moved into our new Petsmart location.  The staff was great and it was sort of  like playing house as we set up in the new store.  This particular store is only about 10 minutes from my house, so that's going to be helpful in the event of emergencies, etc.  The exciting part was we already had TWO adoptions while we were there setting up!   Fingers are crossed that this is a good location for us.

I received some feedback from my last post regarding the "rescuer" who threatened to euthanize cats with ringworm unless she received some help.  As I said in that post, I realize I'm very critical of other rescues mainly due to the fact that I don't want to end up in similar situations.  I take mental notes of other's mistakes and try not to repeat them.  Of course, some things are unavoidable.

 I'm in agreement with several large local Humane Societies that private rescues like mine and others should have some kind of accountability and inspection.  There are people out there calling themselves "rescues" that should never  be running a rescue.  I'm not talking about a single person trapping cats, spay/neuter and releasing them - or finding homes.  I'm talking about people with a rescue "name on the door".  They have no fiscal responsibility to themselves or others.  They rescue cats and hope for the best!  They mean well and are usually very caring people, but many live in horrible conditions with many cats.  It's been my experience that they have a certain local following and supporters, but mainly because they don't turn people down who want to dump or rescue cats.  

 I can tell you that I miscounted our stats for 2013 - we had 715 adoptions - not the 600 that I previously reported.    So much for my mathematical wizardry!   So here we are - 2014.  What will the year bring?   I suppose it will bring the usual life's ups and downs.

But is it too much to ask for more ups than downs?  :)