Friday, July 30, 2010

Might be a bite?

Just a quick update on my lunch break...the shelter called and a woman heard about Keen from Sunday's event (I think a friend of her's saw him?) and she's interested in him. She's an older lady who has a soft spot for older cats. I should be getting a call from the lady soon to talk about him and possibly set up a meeting.
(side thought--I really should have cleaned this week more than just reorganizing my book and game shelves)

I'm really hopeful that this is the right lady for him. This will sound nutty, but I've seriously been having dreams the past few nights where he finds the right people and they adopt him. And I haven't had that dream before and now here it's been on repeat (though with different people each time) and he finally gets a bite of interest? I'm just spiritual enough to hope it might be related.

Of course, there will be some sadness mixed in with the joy if he gets adopted by this woman. But it'll mostly be joy. I'll have a glass of wine or a mocha martini, toast the joy and experience he brought to my life and to his happy retirement, and then hope for new photos of him in his new home.

Any vibes/prayers/etc you all have to spare that this works out and he gets his forever home soon, would be greatly appreciated. I really do love this old cat. He's a character and I think could really shine in a home without Toby's jealousy.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Re-homing PSA / I'm on my high horse

I do have sympathy for those who must give up their pets. My grandparents had to give up their dog after my nana's health problems continued to worsen and my grandpa no longer had the time to care for the dog the way he should. Also, the dog loved to dart out open doors and try to run away which isn't a huge deal for younger folk to deal with, but older folk with heath problems and difficult joints? Not so easy. So they asked around and looked at friends of their kids and did give their dog up. The entire process they were open about why they were giving up their dog.

Why is this on my mind? Because I saw a tweet today that said "Tomorrow is the last day for anyone to take our kitty!! If not, she'll have to go to a shelter :( Plz RT!! " from a user whose tweets are locked. This meant that when I thought, "oh that's sad, I wonder why they're giving her up, I'm sure one of her other tweets explained it" (I saw this as a Retweet--rt) and clicked for more info--I couldn't read any of her other tweets. So then I tried clicking on her tumblr link, sure that someone responsible for rehoming their cat would have some photos of the kitty.

Uh, no. No photos. No mention of the cat whatsoever.

Now, maybe she did have other tweets explaining the situation. However, if so, they're in a locked account that's not viewable by the adopting public.

So I'd like to make a PSA for those who, for whatever reason, feel the need to re-home their pet to whom they promised love and fidelity until death do you part (yes, that's part of the unwritten contract we have with our pets, it's even stronger than marriage because humans can deal better with being left after years of being loved, they're not utterly dependent on us).

1. Consider whether you really need to re-home your animal. Is it money? Look into pet foodbanks or vets with flexible pay plans. Behavior issues? Have you talked to a trainer? For any of these, when in doubt, talk to your local shelter. They likely have counselors and behaviorists on staff who can assist you in finding these resources.

2. When emailing/tweeting/flyering/blogging about your pet that you need to rehome, please, for the love of pawprints, say WHY you are finding your beloved pet a new home. Honestly, I promise not to judge you for "my 2 year old son can't breathe with kitty around and we've tried shots, roombas, and wipes all to no avail" or "I'm shipping out in a week and my friends/family are all allergic or unable to take my pet" or even "my pet is too rambunctious with my child and I don't have the time to train my kid and pet how to deal with each other."  Seriously, potential adopters and those people who want to help you, want to know what the reason is. It makes it a lot easier to help you find your pet a new home if we know why you're giving the pet up.

3. Read ASPCA's guide to re-homing your dog and seriously do everything they say. I'd love to see ASPCA have some social media tips added to their list, but honestly, it's the best advice on this. Go read it. Make sure you get your pet healthy and up-to-date on shots. Make sure you charge people at least some money to cut down on Class B dealers (those who take free-to-good-home pets and sell them to labs).

4. Don't try to guilt people. It's your pet. If he or she goes to a shelter tomorrow, that hangs on your head. Not the head of readers who didn't adopt him or her. This is not an animal already given up in a shelter, this is someone who you vowed to love and care for. It's really not a very effective way of getting adopters because it just makes me think that you're shucking all responsibility.

5. If you do have to give your pet to a shelter, please make a donation and bring supplies, and try to find one that's no kill if you can to give your pet the best chance possible. Especially if he or she is older. Keen is 15. He's very lucky that he came into a shelter with such an active foster program. He would likely not be alive if he had been dropped off at many other shelters. And I say that with my shelter not being no-kill. We're just lucky to have enough fosters that there was room for him at the time to get into the program.

I'm sorry if this seems harsh, but I get very upset with people. I understand how hard it is to give up an animal, really, I do and I don't judge you for having to do so, but I do think that we need to take responsibility for our actions. Giving up a pet should not be the same as giving up a purse. It should break your heart a little. If it doesn't, why did you have a pet in the first place?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Greeted with a purr

Sorry for the lack of posts but I didn't want to announce that I'd be out of town for a few days. My boyfriend and I headed up to Cleveland to see my parents. My boyfriend has only been in Cleveland at Christmas when it's not at its prettiest so it was a treat to show him my home town full of greenery.

We had a bit of a scare two days before we left when Toby started peeing frequently and I spotted some redness in the pee. The vet gave us another prescription for anti-inflammatory meds and said not to worry unless it happens again. I then of course freaked out about asking my neighbor to not just feed, scoop litter, and play with the cats but to medicate Toby--until I gave Toby his first dose and remembered how crazy he is for that anti-inflammatory. He literally tries to suckle on the dropped. It's bizarre but kind of awesome.

My neighbor has two cats of his own who have met Toby and Keen in the building hall and is a really nice guy but I was still a bit nervous about adding "and keep an eye out for bright red pee spots" because that just somehow sounds crazy and weird, but he was really nice about the whole thing and swore he didn't mind.  I left a blueberry pie in the fridge for him which has disappeared so I'm assuming it was a good thank you gift. I'll probably find out Thursday when I stop by to say thank you and pick up my extra keys. We didn't get back until after 11 on Wednesday so I didn't want to bother him.

The cats seem happy and there were no major messes, which, as you all may know, is unusual for kitties left wild.Unless mine are just odd.  I'm not sure if it's Toby purposefully being naughty or if the stress of me leaving throws off his digestive system, but there's almost always some big mess near the litter box, into which the bathmat, toilet paper, and various other objects have been pulled.

As I write this, Toby is laying on the table, staring at me and purring. We played a short game of fetch after he flank rubbed my boyfriend and me. Even more impressive, guess who started purring when he was scooped up? Yup. Keen rested his head on my arm, relaxed, and actually purred for about 10 seconds before gently leaping to the couch (without claws!) and then formed a little kitty loaf and purred at me with his sides moving in and out with the purr.  Such a nice way to be greeted home.

Tomorrow is back to work and the shelter. A friend of mine is an amazing professional photographer and he agreed to shoot some photos of WHS's Georgia Avenue cats tomorrow evening :)  I'm really excited. His photos are absolutely amazing and in this age of, a good photo makes all the difference. Cross your fingers that the shoot goes well!

Also, in case you didn't see Webbthistle's comment, her two fosters from WHS got adopted! Grinned so hard when I saw her comment that I almost cried.

Not sure there is a greater homecoming than Keen purring, Toby forcefully flank rubbing, and finding out two kitties got adopted. Such an awesome day.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

To make your hope easier

My dad has been a die-hard Cleveland Indians Baseball fan since 1954. For those of you who are unfamiliar with MLB, to be a fan of the Indians (or really of any Cleveland team) requires one to be an optimist. My dad is no exception. One day in college when I was upset about something and I asked my dad how he could deal with all the setbacks and negativity and bad people and bad things in the world, and still be an optimist, he responded:
"I have always found optimism to be a healthy antidote to much of what happens in life. I always think that something nice is just around the corner. And every once in a while, just often enough to keep me going, there is."

And it's true. I find that I'm somehow the same way. I get down and sad about life, and then there's something good that happens that draws me back into being a bleeding-heart optimist who really does believe that something nice is around the corner.

Well, tonight I needed that. After reading about high kill shelters and lost cats, and being reminded of how anti-pittie Peta is and how many animals they kill while making money as a "pro animal" organization... I was upset. On the sort of scale that's beyond my fears that Keen will never find a home and that I'm not doing enough but I'm not sure I could do more right now, just overwhelmingly upset and worried that we'll never make headway and my great great grand-niece will have a futuristic apartment with foster cats from shelters who still have to euthanize to make room for all the homeless animals...

But I'm an optimist, even when it takes a little work. And I decided to screw waiting for that corner, I'd go out looking for some positives to keep me going. So here are five.

1. Ohio, which is my home state and doesn't have the best record on animal rights, is making serious progress! Advancement for both farm animals as well as at least some legislation cracking down on puppy mills. It's not perfect and it's not everything, but it's more than I expected and it's positive so I'm counting it as a win.

2. Pfizer and World Rabies Day are giving free rabies vaccines to shelters for World Rabies Day in honor of feral cats across the country (also, )

3. Speaking of ferals, Alley Cat Allies is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Boardwalk Cats Project.

4. The black momma cat in the high kill shelter that the awesome HubbleSpacePaws posted about was saved!

5. posted an awesomely perky summer video of pitties and their people playing on the beach.

I went to a Jesuit university and my favorite priest, Fr B, had this way of looking at the world and talking about it that really did make our hearts burn for social justice and filled us with the belief that we really could make a difference just by trying to be men and women for others. One of my favorite homilies he ever gave (sermon for those not familiar with Catholic jargon) included this:
"Hope is not answers or solutions; it's faith that something is waiting for us, that there are possibilities. Hope isn't easy."

What we do isn't easy, but we do it because we have faith that we make something better for those animals, that there are possibilities beyond accepting high euthanasia rates and over crowded shelters. On this Independence Day, I'll raise my blueberry pie to all the amazing people in the United States and beyond who work for animals whether in their day jobs, as volunteers or fosters, donating time and talent, and even just being good examples of how to treat animals. Because it's not always easy. But it is needed and it is part of what makes this country great.

I'd love to read about some other people's victories for animals, please leave some in the comments!