Friday, February 27, 2009

Weekend Adventures

Friday evening began with a trip out to the country; a rescue mission.

I am sure it began with the best of intentions. She'd saved a cat or three and, before she knew it, had a whole houseful to contend with, without the means to support such an endeavor. She asked Heartland for help and we agreed to find homes for some and work with her for the next few months getting the rest spayed/neutered and placed in adoptive homes. We spent a couple hours at her house, rounding up kitties as respectfully and delicately as we could. These were not abused kitties. She truly loved and provided for them, but was simply in too deep before she knew it and was smart enough to call for a lifeboat.

I was anxious before this trip. My own familial history makes me ultra sensitive to authoritarian situations where a person or persons feels they can (and should) determine what is best for someone else. I can imagine how this situation would have played out on an episode of Animal Cops. There were no "good guys" or "bad guys" involved in Friday night's rescue. We all just wanted to help the animals.

I cannot imagine having strangers enter my house and watching them scoop up my beloved pets to take them away, but this woman was very gracious throughout the whole experience. We filled nine crates with ten cats. Three are definitely pregnant. Hopefully, with Heartland’s help, her house will soon be sterile so she can simply enjoy her many cats without the worry of them reproducing themselves into an unmanageable population explosion.
I cried with her as she said goodbye to her babies. Yes, she had too many cats, but she didn’t love them any less than I love my own pets and I knew saying goodbye wasn’t easy. At the end of the night, after all the tears were shed, she did agree that having all these kitties spayed or neutered would be much, much better than going through the such heartbreak again.

I brought home two pregnant kitties. They are scared from the sudden change and it will take them a while to adjust to their new surroundings. They have a room to themselves with several birthing beds to choose from, so I am sure they'll soon make themselves comfortable. And I am sure there will be many kitten photos forthcoming on this blog!

Just to emphasize the importance of spaying and neutering, Saturday also brought a lesson. After just completing an adoption at PetSmart I was celebrating having an evening with no foster puppies. I spoke too soon. A customer informed us someone had staked a “FREE PUPPIES” sign next to our Adoption signs in the parking lot. A few of us ran out to gauge the situation. The problem with free puppies, aside from not knowing where they will end up or how they will be treated, is that they are rarely altered, so the potential of one free puppy adding to the homeless pet problem is great. There was one free pup left – a darling, long-haired, border collie/lab mix who is now my newest foster!

So ended an adventurous weekend.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Ewoks!

I have affectionately called them "The Ewoks" since the day they came to live with me, as they look very much like furry little Star Wars creatures. As I packed them up for PetSmart this morning, it was impossible not to reflect on how far these little boys have come since the day I brought them home, terrified of people and very sick with upper repiratory infections, a product of their puppy-mill beginnings.

In just over a month, they've blossomed into healthy, well-adjusted little guys who love kids and adults alike. They did fabulous at PetSmart today, lavishing in all the attention from everyone until they were just so tired they curled up together in their little dog bed for a nap.

But it was an unusually slow day at PetSmart; not a lot of traffic and very few people seriously looking for a dog or cat to adopt. Just as I was ready to begin packing up all our supplies to head home, however, the applications started coming in on my little Ewoks! We quickly went from no serious interest to competing applicants! That all worked out on its own and I'd soon chosen homes for both Pogo and Pounce!

It was very strange coming home without them! Their crate is still up in the kitchen and their exersize pen still in the back yard. By tomorrow, I will be ready to face putting their things away. I am just not up to it tonight as I am still sort of surprised when it's time to take the dogs out here and I am two short of what I am used to!

I am, however, very happy for them. They got wonderful homes and I've already received photos and an update from Pogo's new mom, who reports he's settling in nicely and is a great fit for their family!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some Happy Endings

I knew Patrick would leave a big, empty spot once he found his new home, not just because of his size, but because of what a wonderful companion he's been during his short time living with me. He slept in my bed every night and followed me around the house. Patrick loved a car ride, so I rarely left the house without taking him with me. Even sitting at this computer, writing this post, is a reminder he isn't here, as I am used to his big ol' head plopped into my lap as I write!

But, Patrick got his happy ending and I am very happy for him. His new mommy just loves him to pieces and I have no doubt he's going to have a beautiful life. She intends to take him to work every day at the horse farm where she is employed. We went to the farm for a visit earlier this week and Patrick looked so content watching the horses, goats and peacocks roaming the farm! He will have tons of attention from all the folks there and many, many animal friends. Since Patrick loves every one and every critter, this is a very good thing!

Josie also found a happy ending this week: a new home with another kitten her age and a family with two teenaged girls. I am quite sure her feet still haven't touched the ground and that she'll be loved endlessly. Since Josie was adopted on Valentines Day, her new name is Valentine!

I will miss both Patrick and Josie -- especially the cuteness of seeing the two of them together as friends -- but know they are both beginning new and beautiful lives. Hooray for happy endings!

Friday, February 13, 2009


Josie was the only kitten from my Tombstone litter not adopted last weekend. Of course, I don't mind spending extra time with her, but coming home Saturday and returning her to an empty cat room was sort of depressing. She didn't like it one bit either, showing her distaste of the situation by standing at the door, letting out the most mournful cries I've ever heard. I ended up spending the night on the sofa in the cat room with her so she wouldn't feel so alone.

The next day, I had to do something I usually avoid doing with my foster kitties. I let Josie join my pride of house cats. That is always a tricky situation -- it can stress the house cats and disrupt their pecking order, causing problems.

Sometimes I underestimate my brood here. Pixel, not yet full grown and my biggest love-bug cat, immediately became Josie's foster mommy. I watched her shuttle Josie off to the litter box by the scruff of her neck and sit in it with her until she was finished. She made sure Josie knew where the food and water was and then insisted Josie join her for a nap in the kitty condo, curling herself entirely around Josie and giving her a bath!

Not to be outdone by the cats, the dogs thought they'd get in on the action too! Patrick, my Saint Bernard mix foster dog, loves kitties. But, Josie is so small, one lick from Patrick's big tongue lifts her right off the ground! Thank goodness Josie isn't afraid of dogs, because Patrick spends most of his time in my bedroom, on my bed. Fortunately, he is willing to share his spot with a tiny kitten and she doesn't mind curling up with a big ol' dog!

Of course, this all changes my adoption requirements for Josie. With all the attention she's received here from the other animals, I just cannot imagine sending her to a home where she would be an only pet. She'd just be too darn lonely. So, I'll continue hoping the perfect family with friendly cats and dogs comes along and decides Josie is a perfect match for them!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Week of Adoptions

I haven't done so before, but today I counted to see how many animals I've fostered have found homes. The number pales in comparison to those who have fostered for years and can count thousands of animals, but still, I was surprised. In the few short months I have been fostering, I have placed sixteen animals in adoptive homes, with the help of everyone at Heartland.

Even more surprising is that six of those placements happened this week! If you know me at all, you know that is just a few too many goodbyes too close together for someone who cries watching hallmark commercials. Still, at the end of the day, it is a good feeling to have had a small role in making a difference for a few of the Universe's creatures.

The week began with Relay's adoption. Relay now belongs to two darling boys and a Labrador Retriever. Her new Mom is sending regular updates and she's doing wonderfully!

Angel and Virgil were adopted together and get to keep their names! Sometimes you just know, with every fiber of your being, you are sending a foster to the perfect home, and that was the case with Angel and Virgil. I am certain they are off to a wonderful new beginning, as are Doc, Morgan and Wyatt, who also found their forever families.

However, the week wasn't all about goodbyes. I had a hello too; a very BIG hello. Patrick, a Saint Bernard I fell in love with as soon as he was taken in by Heartland, is my newest foster and future heart-breaker. If one could custom design the perfect dog, Patrick would be the result. He is the definition of "Gentle Giant". He loves all the dogs here, is endlessly patient with the puppies who use him as their personal jungle gym, and has even made friends with my remaining kitten who, at only 2 pounds, is about the size of one of Patrick's paws!

This dog just emanates kindness. He greets every visitor to the house with a paw and a nudge and, within seconds, each person who has seen him for the first time ends up wrapping their arms around his big ol' neck, hugging him. The best part about hugging Patrick is he hugs back!

I suspect Patrick will be adopted as quickly as he becomes available, but I sure wouldn't mind if it took a lot longer. He is pure joy to share living space with. I hate to imagine how big an empty spot he'll be leaving when it's time for his new life to begin . . .