Tender Heart

Everyone has things that bring out their tender heart.   For me it is senior animals in shelters.   I wish I could bring them all home.  It breaks my heart to see them there.

I have a dog that was eight and a cat that was ten when they were turned into the shelter.   Their stories are like so many others who should being enjoying their golden years, instead are uprooted from the only home they have known and sent to a shelter environment.   Our dog only spent a few weeks in the shelter, unfortunately our cat spent over half a year before we adopted her.

Senior pets are often slow to be adopted because folks are generally attracted to those young cute kittens and puppies.   Most senior pets have some basic skills and likely a couple bad habits as well.  What is unique about the senior pet is that they are very anxious to please and forever grateful when rescue them.   They will forever be thankful to you for picking them.   This gratitude makes them much easier to train and teach them the rules of your home.

Now that I have more time of my own I find myself stopping at the local shelter volunteering  and spending time with the animals there.  I know I can’t take them home, but I can make their time at the shelter a little less lonely.  Sooner or later a senior lover like me will find them and take them to their forever home.

I just learned that November is adopt a senior pet month….how cool is that.


Is a Laser a Dog or a Cat Toy?

We have a Cairn Terrier who likes to chase all sorts of things that dart around.   By his breed he should be fascinated and want to catch mice, gopher and rats.

We recently bought our cat a laser to play with.    It has turned out that that our dog loves it as much as the cat.   I imagine some day that the dog and cat will smash heads one day when they both attempt to capture the light.   It almost makes me laugh to imagine them like two stooges hitting heads and falling back stunned. Hopefully I will have a camera handy when it happens.

Tireless Volunteer – Spay Neuter Advocate

I have a friend who is a tireless pet lover who puts an unimaginable amount of effort into Spay Neuter Awareness and Clinics.   Just last Saturday Ms. L  was the lead volunteer in pulling together a Spay Neuter Clinic in here in southwestern Montana.  She managed to fill the schedule completely with 90 animals and was distressed that she had to turn 35 cats away because they could not handle any more.   You may think that this is nice but it will drop off, but she has been at this now for several years.   Hosting multiple clinics a year.  This is the second clinic already this year.   For some reason the need for this service never seems to taper off.   I often wonder how it can go on like this, but sadly it does.

Ms. L  is a master recruiter of volunteers.   Except for the vets in the spay neuter clinic is staff by 100% volunteers.  Clinics are often held in school gyms and empty buildings.      Experienced volunteers are often the vet assistants, but it takes so much effort by tons of people from check-in the minute the pet walks in the door until the last one is returned to its owner at the end of the day.   Ms L.  has no shame she will ask everyone for help.   She knows many folks say yes to be there as a volunteer and then fail to show up because something better came along.  She is always looking for a volunteer and there is always plenty to do when you show up.

Ms. L  is an educator.   She will talk with anyone about the value of spay neuter.    She has gone to county commissioner meetings, met with mayors and representatives ensuring they understand the benefit of supporting spay neuter efforts in their area.  She knows that excess pets is a problem not just in her area or county, but the neighboring counties and national as well.   She will go anywhere to talk about the cause.   I have see her use every avenue to get others to understand the value of spay neuter.    Look for her on radio, Facebook, and any where else that will let her in to share the message.

Ms. L  is not afraid to finish up any encounter with  an ask….ask for your help.    You decide how you wish to help, but she wants you to help. There are many ways to help.   One of them is economic .   It costs to host a Spay Neuter clinic.   They hate to turn anyone away because they can not afford it.   You can donate to pay for the spay neuter of pets for those who can not afford them.    It also helps when they secure a grant to have your funds as they are often asked for an equal match to be raised on a local level.

Ms. L has one more clinic to plan and hold yet this summer.   That means there will be 270 less horny animals running around making more animals who will likely never all  likely find a home.  She is a animal lover and a hero.

Adult Cat finds a New Home

2013-07-13-Lily-editThere is something about adult animals that go to a shelter that break my heart.    I know sometimes it is as the result of unforeseen and unmanageable circumstances and when those are the reasons it  pulls at my heart strings.  One of the  hardest reasons for a pet surrender is when a person dies or goes in to a long-term-care facility and their life’s companion can’t find a home short of the shelter.   Any cat who is ten or older and suddenly find themselves at a shelter, my mind wonders what they must think happened.   I read those stories and know that I could become one of those crazy pet owners who has too many animals.   I allow myself one cat and one dog.   That’s my limit based on time we give our pets and the economics of being a responsible pet owner.

We once again found ourselves catless and I wasn’t sure when we would add a cat back into our home.   You never are sure when the time will be right let go of your sadness and move on.   Then if you are like me and are drawn to the older cats, there are so many of them. How to know which one is yours based on that picture online and a visit at the cat room at the shelter?   Your tender heart grows sadder with each story.   Yet, you know that there is only one cat you can change the life of, which one is it?

I found what I thought was supposed to be our  cat last week.  She was nearly 11 years old, and had been turned in because they had a new baby and the husband did not want her around the baby.  She had been at the shelter since March.   I called the shelter and it turns out someone had already put in a potential adoption for her.   I knew destiny had found her a home and she wasn’t mine, even though I was sure she should be.    This week she was still there and when I check it turned out the first person did not pan out.    My gut was telling me go meet this cat.   So we headed off to the city to the shelter for a meet and greet. We came home with a new cat.

The transition period is going well.   We are still waiting for her to tell us what her name is suppose to be.   She has a safe space where the dog is not allowed.   She has wandered out of her space  and explored her surroundings last evening after our dog, Harley, headed to his crate for the night.   But it is going to take a little while for her to find her footing.   She lost the only home she knew, spent four months in the limbo of a shelter, and now moved into a house.   She has no idea what that means, but we have time and patience while she finds her footing in her forever home.

What I did with My Friday Afternoon

cat-friendThose of you who follow this blog know I am a cat person, who brought home a shelter cat who hates me and loves my husband.    This is the first cat we ever had that has NO use for me whatsoever.   I  have given her lots of time and tried so hard to win her over, but two years later it is no go.   She will still walk out of a room when I enter.   She will walk around me to get to my husband.  I want someone to sit on my lap, purr and enjoy being petted.

Now we have a dog, who is a companion animal to both my husband and me.   He likes to be petted, but he is a terrier who doesn’t crave that “lap dog attention.”  So he will sit for a bit on your lap for an ear rub, but he is soon back to sleeping on the floor.

I have been watching the area shelters and thinking about a second cat. I am not a person who is attracted to kittens, I love the adult cats who suddenly find themselves booted out.    If you tell me the owner died or went to a facility my hear screams for that cat.   I know one has be careful when considering an adult or senior cat.   I am the person that a shelter loves to see, because I don’t care about the “babies.”  What I do know about adult cats is old habits are not likely to go away.   Life has already been hard for adult cats in a shelter setting and telling them they would be joining a sassy cat and a terrier could be just too much to ask.

Friday I stopped by the shelter to look at the cats they had on hand.     I sat in the cat rooms talking to the cats, hoping to make a connection.    For some reason my cat karma is dead.   Given the option of me, the kid doing community service sulking on a bench checking their smart phone or just hanging out alone I was the last option.   No one came up and snuggled with me, though a few were interested in the kid, who was more interested in their phone.      Any cat  who I disturbed to pet and chat with acted like I was going to tell them their number was up.   No cat wanted to hang out with me.   I left without a cat.   My time to have a cat of my own was not yet to be.

Death by Chocolate

Abby cat with a hint of evil in her face.

Abby cat with a hint of evil in her face.

Our cat has no use for our dog and this morning  she tried to do away with him…death by chocolate.   I am sure that she has long wanted to do away with this rug rat she has to share her human space with since the day  she stepped foot in our door.   There is no doubt that she has mulled numerous ideas in her mind before settling on this one.

My husband is my cat’s favorite human. Dear husband and Abby Cat have a bond  that makes nothing else matter.    I am sure the fact that he has a habitual sweet tooth never crossed her mind when she discovered he had  bought a package of Hershey’s Kisses home yesterday.     Abby believed that her person had bought these to aid in her plan, not to feed his addiction.     Now things were set in motion Abby just needed to wait for the perfect moment. It happened this morning.

DH got up an fed the animals as  part of his normal early morning  ritual.      Like so many Sunday mornings he came back to bed.   The next thing we hear is lots of scurrying outside the bedroom door. .

DH nudges me knowing I am reading and not trying to sleep, asking me what the cat is doing now, with a hint of frustration in his voice.   He knows that despite the fact I am the number one cat person in our house, this cat has done nothing in the two years she has been here to endear herself to me.   It is highly unlikely I am going to leave my novel and warm bed to go see what happening.   Hearing just a continued shuffle, he can no longer stay in bed.

He makes his way to the kitchen to see Abby grabbing Kisses by the tail and throwing them on the floor.   There on the floor is the dog, with great anticipation receiving the umpteenth Kiss that she has been thrown him.   Now everyone knows, including cats, that chocolate can be deadly to dogs.   Everyone also knows that most dogs, including ours are garbage hounds.   They like to eat food if it is good for them or not.  I can almost imagine Abby smiling with glee as she watch the idiot dog eating the forbidden treat wrapper and all.

Fortunately for our dog, my husband’s sweet tooth left only a few Kisses left in the dish, and the amount of chocolate in a Hershey’s Kiss doesn’t amount to squat.   Much to Abby’s chagrin her plan was foiled.   The little black and gray rug rat is here to stay.

Life of a Cat

We have always gotten our cats from a rescue organizations.   They have come from whatever life of distress that put them in a shelter to our home, which not to brag, but is a life extraordinaire.  The kind of life that I want to come back and live.

My cats all have had a story to tell because I don’t like kittens.   I love adult cats.   I am shelter’s dream because I am not attracted for even a few minutes of entertainment.  I all hear is screaming curtain climbers.

I had a calico cat that was five-years-old when I got her.   My “pseudo sister” who lived me at the time always told me that when she left she was taking my cat with her.   She was a masterful lover who quickly became entangled in your heart strings.     She was everyone’s friend and such a looker.

Joseph and Fred came within six months of each other.   Joseph was a big tough British Shorthair, who was savvy and smart.   He loved deep men’s voices and when the men would gather at our place to play cards.   Even the guys who claimed not to like cats could be found with a hand on his head while betting on a good hand.   What made them special is Fred was slow, not physically, but mentally he just didn’t get it.  (Pick your favorite saying about knives, elevators, or light bulbs).  Joseph was his protector, helper, and provided a lifetime of guidance.    Joseph always made sure Fred was properly groomed, pulling his head down and checking his ears.  The slept together and were best friends.

Mocha, a Maine Coon,  was a child’s pet for five years.   She endured the unconditional love of dress up, tea parties and being the playmate of a little girl.   Unfortunately a blended family brought a highly asthmatic boy and the cat had to go.  It broke the family’s heart and I hope that the boy became the wonderful friend, and protector an older brother can be.   Mocha became our  girl, moving with us across the country and back two times to five homes, never missing a beat.   She always preferred being petting on her stomach  and the perfect relaxing mode was laying on  her back with her arms straight out, leftovers from years of accepting love little girl style.    Mocha was a cat who never used her nails on anything in play, another life lesson she came to us with.  It was only in her twilight years that she would lay on her stomach, I think her bones were starting to protest.

Our current cat was 9 months old when we took her home from the shelter.   She had spent six of the coldest weeks of the winter on the streets of Butte America fending for herself.   Her owner turned her out to the elements when she was sent to the big house.   One look of at her young face told me she had years of hardship under her belt and she should come home with me.   Abby  loves my husband and will go out of her way to avoid me.   She has not forgiven women for her hardship.   She loves to watch birds through the window, but an open door holds NO attraction for her.     She lives in a house with toys bought just for her, though her preference is for the dog’s toys.   She is a groupie of my husband, hanging on him, following him, never getting enough attention from him, but never afraid to let him know she wants more. Her meals no longer require her young wits, but are provided twice a day. Her life is so good that we buy drugs (catnip) for her pleasure.

I think any cat person and many others who claim not to be cat people would agree. I am not sure I want to live the life my cats have lived before they found their way to our home, but once they got there they live a carefree, healthy life. Life is good.