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!  :)