Saying Goodbye To Another Old Friend…

Ten years ago, a homely little hound dog puppy stole my heart at the local animal shelter.  He was one of a litter of ten puppies, born to a red basset hound named ‘Bessie’.  While I was volunteering at the shelter, mother and puppies were deposited at the shelter by their owner, discarded like yesterday’s news.

In 2004, the show ‘Survivor’ was very popular, and, at the shelter, all ten of Bessie’s puppies were given names of people who were playing the game of ‘Survivor,’ at the time.  The brown puppy’s name was ‘Ethan’, named for Ethan Zohn, the  cute, curly-haired soccer player, who was popular on Survivor that season.

When I decided to adopt Ethan, I decided to keep his name, and thus began my adventures with Ethan, the hound dog. (Note: Only one of Ethan’s nine litter mates survived the shelter.  The others were eventually euthanized.)

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Ethan, enjoying a moment inside

I don’t know what kind of dog Ethan’s father was, but he must have been a big dog!  Ethan grew to be much larger than his basset hound mother, but he had many of her characteristics.  His most outstanding features were his eyes, his long floppy ears, four big feet, and a funny personality.  Ethan could hold his mouth in such a way, that he appeared to actually smile, at times.  When he wagged his tail, it went around and around like a propeller.

Ethan was raised, at my house, by an old brown collie, named ‘Hobbs’.  Hobbs was my first animal shelter rescue, and was the best dog I’ve ever owned.  The peculiar thing about Hobbs was the fact that he always ate his food while lying down.  It wasn’t long before young Ethan developed the same odd habit, which continued his entire life.

Ethan wasn’t always an easy puppy to love.  As a young dog, Ethan had a wicked attraction to cats, and killed more than a couple of my kittens before he finally outgrew his cat attraction and rough playfulness.  I’ll never forget the morning I looked out of the window to see Ethan carrying my favorite orange kitten, ‘Peaches’, in his mouth!  I cried and yelled at Ethan, who didn’t seem to have a clue that he’d just killed my kitten!

A few weeks after adopting Ethan, he became sick with Parvo.  I was pretty sure what the problem was, even before the vet diagnosed him.  (I may had inadvertently brought the virus home from the shelter on my shoes.)  I didn’t have a lot of money to pay for a hospital stay, so the vet told me how to care for Ethan at home.  I did everything the vet told me to do, and Ethan defied the odds and lived–but he was a sorry-looking sight for a while!

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Ethan, after Parvo

A few weeks after surviving Parvo, Ethan came down with a case of Red Mange, the result of his damaged immune system, the vet explained.  Once again, the vet guided me through the treatment process, and, once again, Ethan defied the odds, and was cured.  The mange treatment was painful, though, and as a result, Ethan grew to mistrust me. (The strong dip burns the raw skin)  Ethan would no longer let me bath him or put my arms around him in any way.  I wasn’t able to put any kind of medication on him, not even flea powder!   If Ethan ever saw me with any kind of container, he quickly bolted out of sight!  Ethan remained skittish the rest of his life.

When I adopted Ethan, we lived in our old house, next door.  We built our new house and moved three years later.  As a result, Ethan could never decide which house to call home!  He spent as much time at our old house, with my daughter,  as he did at the new house with me.  He’d often split his time between our porches.

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Ethan, resting in his favorite position (on my daughter’s porch)

Before my daughter moved next door, she lived just down the road.  At times, Ethan would roam down the road to visit with her dogs.  On one such visit, Ethan wandered out onto the highway, and was hit by a car.  Once again, Ethan defied the odds, and wasn’t killed, but one of his hips was injured. The injury resulted in arthritis, during his later years. In an effort to get more comfortable, Ethan often began sleeping on his back!

The thing Ethan loved most was eating!  That old hound dog would eat everything in sight, especially cat food. Ethan was notorious for stealing the cats’ feeding bowls, and carrying them off into the woods to lick them clean!  Ethan was a sneaky one, and he finally forced Ed to build the cats a ‘cat cafe’, high up off the ground, so the  poor cats could eat their food in peace!

Ethan had an internal clock, and if supper was running late, he’d gladly remind you when it was time to eat!  Many afternoons when Ed and I would be working out in the garden,  Ethan would call to us from the yard, telling us it was suppertime.  He had a loud, gruff bark that was impossible to ignore.  Ethan’s gruff bark would alert us about visitors approaching, as well.

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Ethan, a couple of years ago

Thankfully, Ethan eventually outgrew his wicked obsession of bothering my cats!  In fact, one of our younger cats came to love Ethan so much, she’d sleep with him every night.  Often I’d see the two of them curled up together, napping during the day, too.  I’ve even seen Suzie grooming Ethan, at times.   At times like that, I’d think back to how Ethan used to be, and say to myself, if Suzie only knew…

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Ethan and Suzie, BFF’s

Ethan’s health eventually began to fail, especially the later part of last year.  A host of  health problems seemed to develop all at once,  including a strange, unidentified bulge under Ethan’s abdomen.  Ethan still had a few good days, along and along, but most days he didn’t stir much–except at mealtime or for an occasional short walk. We knew Ethan wasn’t going to have a lot of time left.

Ethan’s health began to rapidly decline the past couple of weeks, and he really began to struggle more with each passing day.  The glimmer in Ethan’s eyes gradually became replaced by a dull look of constant pain.  Ethan didn’t seem to be able find comfort anywhere.  He could barely walk, and the bulge under his abdomen became much larger.  His breathing became labored. Yesterday, we made the choice to say goodbye to our friend of ten years.

Thankfully, today, Ethan suffers no more.  We’ll miss him, and things won’t be the same around here without him, especially at suppertime!  Ed and I laid Ethan to rest near Hobbs, the old collie who raised him. May the two of them rest in peace together, in a place where there’s no more pain and suffering.  If they’re eating together, somewhere, I’ll bet they’re both lying down!

Feb. 2012 072

 Goodbye, old friend

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Published in: on May 20, 2014 at 9:57 am  Comments (8)  
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Shelter Tales…Freckles

***I’m linking up today with http://www.mrsmamadrama.com and http://www.bellycharms.blogspot today for their co-hosted blog hop called “Think of Me Thursday”.  If you’d like to hop along, check out either blog for details on how to link up.

I was going through old photographs the other day, and I found some pictures of “Freckles”.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted a “Shelter Tale”, so it seems like a good day to write one.  Be forewarned though, this one doesn’t have a happy ending. 

Way back in 2004 I was volunteering at our local animal control shelter.  I was adopting LOTS of animals, because I couldn’t stand the thought of those beautiful, innocent, kittens and puppies being destroyed.  I was letting my heart overrule my head…I couldn’t help myself!  More times than not, after doing my Friday afternoon volunteer shift at the shelter, I would end up bringing some kind of an animal home with me. 

I already had several cats and kittens, as well as two adult dogs, and a hound puppy at home–when I went for my usual Friday visit to the shelter and saw “Freckles”!  It was love at first sight!  He was a white, fat, fluffy, little butterball of a puppy!  I knew my husband was probably going to kill me, but I had to have “Freckles”.  

Freckles--just look at that face!

I have no idea what kind of puppy that “Freckles” was, but he reminded me of a “Chow”.  His fur was thick and fluffy, and he was white all over except for his ear.  He had little black spots sprinkled all over his muzzle–hence the name “Freckles”.  “Freckles” also had a hernia, so I took him to the vet to get him checked out. The vet said that it would be fine to let the hernia wait until it was time to have “Freckles” neutered, then he would repair it at the same time he did the neutering.  

About four months later, “Freckles” was neutered and had his hernia repaired without any complications.  He was a happy healthy little puppy.  Our old collie mix “Hobbs” (the first dog that I adopted from the shelter) acted as “mother” and caretaker to “Freckles”, as well as the hound puppy that I adopted a few weeks before “Freckles”.  They were one little happy family. 

Freckles is giving Hobbs a kiss

Then when “Freckles” turned a little over a year old, his troubles began.  He developed the red mange.    He began to scratch a lot, and due to frequent scratching, he began to develop huge sores on his skin. I never did totally understand everything about mange, except that it concerns a dog’s immune system and mites.  There are two types of mange, regular mange, and the red mange.  The red mange is the most difficult type to cure.  80% of all dogs treated will be cured, the other 20% will not.  

The treatment for red mange is a dip prescribed by the vet.  It’s a strong chemical type of medication that is  mixed with water and sponged all over the dog.  You have to wear gloves to protect your skin.  It burns if it gets on your skin.  Judging from the way “Freckles” behaved, it must have burned his skin, too.  Treatment consisted of two treatments given two weeks apart. 

After being dipped, “Freckles” would act really sick for several days.  He was one miserable-looking dog.  After we’d dipped him twice, “Freckles ” still had huge sores.  I took him back to the vet, and they shaved all of his beautiful fur off.  We followed that with two more rounds of that horrible chemical dip.  “Freckles” just got sicker and looked more miserable.  He was no longer active.  He didn’t play with the other dogs anymore.  Instead he laid around licking his large, bloody, weeping wounds.  

Unfortunately, our poor “Freckles” fell into the 20% category of dogs who are unable to recover from red mange.  He could not be cured.  I was forced to make the toughest decision that I’ve ever had to make regarding one of my pets.  I made the choice to have him put to sleep to end his misery.  It was a sad day when my husband and I took “Freckles” to the vet for the final time.  I stood outside the office building on the steps and cried.  It makes me cry to this day to even think about it.  My husband went in and held “Freckles” until he breathed his last breath.  He came out with tears in his eyes, and swore that he would never do anything like that again. 

So that is the story of “Freckles”…a life that didn’t go exactly as we planned, but we gave him the best that we could–we tried.  The Christmas following “Freckles” death, I hung a small ornament of a freckle-faced dog, wearing angel wings on our Christmas tree.  I like to think that he’s still with us in spirit somehow.  At least he’s not alone in “Doggie Heaven” anymore, the old collie “Hobbs” who took on the role of  his”mother” and caretaker, passed away this year at Easter.

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 8:43 am  Comments (6)  
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Shelter Tales…Not Just For Dogs And Cats

During my volunteer days at our local shelter, I quickly discovered that the Animal Control Shelter wasn’t just for dogs and cats.  While it is designed primarily to accommodate unwanted felines and canines, occasionally there are other boarders–such as horses.  

Back in our shelter’s beginning phase, if a case of animal abuse was reported and confirmed, the animals were rescued–just like on “Animal Cops”.   I’m sad to say, that due to county budget cuts, this is no longer the case. Animals are only picked up now if they are a danger to society.  The incidents in this story took place in the shelter’s beginning phase. 

 During my first summer of volunteering, a horse was rescued and temporarily housed in the fenced in back yard of the shelter.  This particular horse didn’t stay long, but there were other horse rescues after this one–including an entire herd rescued from a flood. 

temporary shelter resident...a horse

 

One day I entered the shelter and found a flock of chickens housed in the end kennel!  That was a strange sight–those little white chickens housed among all of those dogs.  Apparently, someone had been keeping those particular chickens in an abandoned car!  I guess being housed at the shelter among dogs and cats was a little better than being kept in an abandoned car…but the chickens didn’t stay long, they soon found an appropriate home. 

At one time the shelter also had two abandoned parakeets.  The animal control officer decided that she would like to keep the birds in the lobby of  the shelter.  One of my volunteer duties was raising money for the animal shelter–a duty that I gave to myself.  Thanks to a generous, kind-hearted co-worker at school(who also loved animals), I was able to buy a nice, large,  cage for the shelter birds to live in.  I jokingly called it the “cage condo”. 

the shelter birds in their new cage

 

The birds were very happy in their “cage condo” for many months…Then one day the unthinkable happened. 

Lo, the shelter officer would occasionally allow a couple of well-behaved dogs or cats to run loose in the front part of the shelter.  They were sort of like our “greeters” to any visitors who came in.  When the shelter was closed, sometimes she would leave an animal loose in the lobby area.  Occasionally it was a dog, but usually it was a cat.  One particular day, Lo left the wrong cat on the loose…  

While the shelter was closed,  one of the feline “greeters” decided to have our shelter birds for lunch!  I don’t know how that cat managed to do it, but she pried the door of that bird-cage open–despite the fact that it was  wired shut!  When I arrived at the shelter–there sat the empty cage, door open, feathers strewn all about…That darn cat ate both of the parakeets! 

me holding two of the oppossums

 

During my time of volunteering there, the shelter was also a temporary home for an abandoned rabbit (which I adopted), a chinchilla, a small, parrot-like bird, a hamster, and a family of baby opossums.  Shelter volunteers rescued all animals,  except the baby opossums, which were had raised by Lo, then turned over to a sanctuary for wild animals.  Lo became very attached to her baby opossums during their stay at the shelter,  and it was a bittersweet good-bye when Lo left her babies at their new home.  

That’s it for today.  Thanks for sharing my memories of my shelter volunteering days.  I still have a few more tales left to tell, so I’ll be back before long to share some more.  Thanks for listening…and remember, shelter animals make the best pets–I speak from lots of experience!

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 9:30 am  Comments (1)  

Shelter Tales… Taken From The Newspaper

While I was volunteering at our local animal control shelter, I began writing a series for our local newspaper called “Shelter Tales”.   I recently found some of the old articles I’ve written, and thought that you might occasionally enjoy reading an excerpt from some of those articles.  The following is one of those excerpts:

“Our isolation room at the shelter has been quiet lately.  The last unusual visitor that we had staying in there was a buzzard!  What a shock that was when I turned on the light to the isolation room, and there he was–in all of his ugly buzzard glory! (I never knew what I’d find in that room)

I did not realize that buzzards are “protected” birds. ( I can’t imagine why, there are plenty of them all around! ) I’m not sure what happened to injure this particular buzzard, but I believe it was attacked by someone’s dog, and the dog owner brought the bird to the shelter after the attack.  After patching the buzzard up and letting it recuperate, Loretta found it a home at “Sanctuary on the Sapelo”, an island sanctuary for certain kinds of wild animals.

Recently a most unusual event occurred at the shelter. One morning Loretta came to work and found a large black dog chained to the door handle of the animal shelter.  While not knowing if the dog was friendly or not, Loretta still had to deal with him before she could even enter the building to begin her workday.

Fortunately, the dog was friendly, but the poor thing had a large chain embedded in his neck and back.  It was embedded quite deep and must have been very painful.  The chain was carefully removed, and the scar healed nicely, but unfortunately, poor “Scar” wasn’t adopted, and eventually had to be euthanized.

On a happier note, I’ll share one last tale with you.  A couple of months ago, someone left nine motherless newborn puppies outside of the shelter.  This could’ve been a real disaster, but I believe a “Higher Power” intervened. 

It happened that a delightful Boston Terrier named “Monica” was living at the shelter at the time.  Monica had recently given birth to seven puppies of her own, and all but one of them had died.  Sweet little Monica took in those orphaned puppies and raised them all, plus her own surviving pup!  The orphaned puppies were a large breed of puppies, while poor Monica and her pup were small,  making it even more amazing that she was able to raise all of them. 

Believe it or not, Loretta was able to find homes for every one of those orphaned puppies, for Monica’s little pup, and even for Monica herself!  Now that’s a happy ending!”

I hope you enjoyed reading the excerpt from my old article.  If you did,  let me know and I’ll share some more with you.  Thanks so much for stopping by…

Published in: on June 3, 2010 at 8:45 am  Comments (2)  
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Shelter Tales…Susan

Susan at the shelter

I’d been volunteering at the Animal Control Shelter for a pretty good while when I adopted Susan.  Actually, I never intended to keep her, but she was already about four or five months old, and she was a female– so the odds were not in Susan’s favor for being adopted.

When I adopted Susan, I actually had another home in mind.  I was thinking about my aunt and uncle, the ones that Ed and I have in common(you know…his aunt married my uncle).  They’d had a daughter named Susan, who actually fixed Ed and me up on our first blind date, but unfortunately, Susan passed away several years ago.  I was hoping that my aunt and uncle might adopt Susan the cat from me–in honor of their daughter, but  I  ended up not asking them to take her.

Due to Susan’s age, and her being one of the last to join my ever-growing litter of cats, things were hard for Susan.  She was bullied a lot by the other cats.  She spent a lot of time by herself.  As a result of this, Susan grew up being a  bully herself.  As she out-grew some of the other cats in size, she began to “push her weight around”. 

Susan still spends most of her time by herself, but so do a good many of the other cats,  now that they are grown.  They all come together at the “cat cafe”  to eat, and a few of them will sleep together, but they are very selective about who they hang around with.  I never realized how funny cats are about that.

The most amazing and unusual thing about Susan is the fact that she likes water!  I have several fountains, and a gold-fish pond located throughout the yard, and it’s not unusual to find Susan hanging out around water.  She doesn’t mind getting her feet wet at all, and apparently she doesn’t mind getting some of her other parts wet either since she sits in the bird bath!

Susan sitting in the birdbath

Susan’s other favorite past-time is eating!  She’s eaten her way to a new nickname–“Fat Susan”.  She’s twice the size of most of the other cats now.  I guess bullying does have it’s perks…Don’t worry, all cats get plenty to eat, Susan just hangs around to clean out the bowls.

The giveaway for the patriotic windchime is still going on all week.  Just guess a number between 1 and 100.  You can enter once each day between now and Sunday at midnight.  The following numbers are already taken…86, 32, 35, 16.  The winning number will be chosen by Random.org on next Monday morning.  The person choosing the closest number without going over will win…if two people choose the same number, the first one chosing it wins…  Good luck, and thanks for stopping by…Kathy

Published in: on May 17, 2010 at 9:54 am  Comments (3)  
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Shelter Tales…The Five Letter Word Every Dog Lover Hates

I wonder how many people immediately knew the word when they read the title…Somehow I managed to live 45 years or more before I’d ever heard of the word.  Either it wasn’t around as much years ago, or we were just lucky and never encountered it.  Haven’t figured out the word yet?  It’s P A R V O…yes, the dreaded Parvo virus that puppies and young dogs get–which can so easily become a death sentence. 

Parvo is basically the equivalent of a stomach virus in dogs.  They can’t keep anything down.  They throw up, they get diarrhea, they get dehydrated, then die.  It comes on in a hurry, and it will kill a puppy quickly.  The sick puppy will look and feel just as miserable as humans do when we get a bad case of the stomach flu.

When I was volunteering at the shelter, I quickly learned about Parvo.  Unfortunately, the first thing that I learned is that an outbreak of it at the shelter meant death for all dogs there.  As a general rule, all are put to sleep, the shelter is then disinfected with bleach from top to bottom, and is closed for a certain number of days.  Parvo is extremely contagious–especially vulnerable are young dogs and puppies.  Older dogs can get it, too, but it won’t kill them…however, they can spread the virus–which is very easy to spread.

In my early days of volunteering, I adopted 3 dogs, within a few weeks of each other.  The first one I brought home was the old collie, Hobbs, (who recently passed), then I adopted Ethan, a hound mix, and Freckles, a chow mix.  I hadn’t had all of them too long when Ethan became sick with Parvo.  By then, I’d learned all about it, and was devastated when I realized my puppy had it.

I loaded Ethan up in my car and took him to the vet.  I used the same vet that the shelter did, because he would give me discounts on vet care for all of my animals,  because they were shelter adoptees.  Dr. S, the vet, quickly told me what I already suspected…he told me that he could keep Ethan in the hospital and he might make it, but it would be expensive–or I could take him home, force-feed him pedialyte around the clock, and pray for the best.  Financially, I didn’t have a choice…I had to treat him at home. 

Dr. S also warned me that Freckles was vulnerable, and would most likely catch the virus if not vaccinated–so knowing that my hubby is a medical person, Dr. S sent the Parvo vaccination home with me so Ed could vaccinate Freckles–which he did.  Fortunately, neither Freckles or Hobbs caught the virus.

Unfortunately, Ethan was sick enough for three dogs…I have never seen anything like that in my life.  I kept him closed up in the bathroom off my bedroom.  I cleaned up the worst smelling, most vile body fluids I’ve ever seen–and I’ve raised 3 children AND worked at school for 15 years…Nothing beats Parvo!  I force-fed poor Ethan that Pedialyte every couple of hours.  Some of it stayed down, some did not.  Some even made it out the other end…After a couple of days of that,  I began to offer Ethan some chicken broth.  Slowly, he began to drink, then eat.  He was one pitiful-looking puppy when Parvo finished with him–but he made it!

Ethan...after parvo

To this day, Ethan is “skittish” of me.  He remembers those syringes of Pedialyte being shoved down his throat–then later in his life I had to treat him for red mange, which was also unpleasant.  Ethan loves me, but he doesn’t completely trust me, which is sad.  In fact, these days he spends most of his days over at my daughter’s house!  She lives where we used to live, and I think that will always feel like home to Ethan… remember the picture of Ethan on his back on her porch???

Ethan...today

I was prompted to write this story because yesterday my son, Brad, was telling me a story about his girlfriend, Jennifer, waking up and finding her new puppy sick–with Parvo.  They had a very eventful day because of that, but I’ll share that story on another day…until next time…Thanks for hopping by!

Don’t forget to comment and let me know if you’d like to be entered in Friday’s cash drawing for twenty dollars…I can’t wait to see who will win…It’s been a long month!   Kathy

Published in: on April 29, 2010 at 9:59 am  Comments (7)  
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Shelter Tales…”Socks” aka “Big Red”

"Big Red" and "Mr. Big" sharing a "morning sniff...while "helping" me paint

How many cats does it take to help paint???  That is the question I was asking myself yesterday when I was trying to paint the door to my little back porch.  For some reason, whenever I am trying to do something, “Big Red” is usually in the way.  Yesterday was no exception, but this time, “Big Red” had a friend–“Mr. Big”– tagging along.  I finally had to get ugly with the two of them, and resorted to the spray bottle of water…it was either that or have cat hair mixed in the wet paint! 

I adopted “Socks” back in 2004, along with his sister, “Bobette”.  Both kittens were dropped off at the shelter together, so that’s how I adopted them…together.  Remember, that 2004 was the first summer that I volunteered at our local shelter, and cats were everywhere…  

I don’t know how two cats could look so different, and be litter mates.  “Bobette” was a gray tabby bob-tailed cat, and “Socks” was bright orange with a long tail, and  four white feet, which made him look like he was wearing socks!   “Socks” has strange markings on his sides, and it you look closely, it seems to spell “Todd”… 

 Much to the dismay of my hubby, my “brood” of cats was steadily growing.  The picture below was taken during that summer–and all of the cats that I adopted were not in that picture…FYI The cat with 1/2 of a tail was born that way. 

Bottom to top: Cali-girl, Socks, Mr. Big, Stubby, Bobbette

I didn’t have “Bobette” for very many months before she disappeared.  She disappeared during the time when our neighborhood bald eagle was swooping in and stealing my cats!  I lost several cats to that darn eagle!  Bobette was one of my smaller cats–the ones that the bird seemed to prey on.  Unfortunately, some of the smaller cats were also my favorites… 

“Socks” loves to eat–he always has.  The more he ate, the bigger he got.  Eventually he got so big, we began calling him “Big Red”.  The name “Socks” no longer seemed appropriate. 

"Big Red" participating in his favorite activity...can you tell how fat he is?

“Big Red” could be a force to be reckoned with, due to his size, but instead he’s a gentle  giant.  Maybe it was growing up with the name “Socks”???  Just yesterday  afternoon, I watched another tom cat half  “Big Red’s” size, jump on him and  run him off.   

If “Big Red”  hadn’t been neutered, he’d probably be a lover–not a fighter, too!  We’ll never know…  He just sprawls out in the yard, and enjoys himself–waiting for his next meal–or the next chance to “help” me do a painting project!  It’s a crazy life…but it’s his life!

Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 8:34 am  Comments (5)  
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Shelter Tales…Drake The Cat

Drake

Drake, a gray tabby cat,  and his bob-tailed brother, Dutch,  were dropped off at the shelter together.  Both were fully grown, and had already been neutered.  In their former lives, both had been pampered house cats of a single lady.  However, their owner was about to get married, and her husband-to-be had one stipulation–“No cats allowed”. 

I can only imagine what it must have been like for the young lady–to be forced to turn her furry companions over to an animal shelter…I wasn’t there when she brought them in, thank goodness, but I felt horrible for everyone involved– except the hubby-to-be!   I wanted to punch him..right in the face! 

Lo, the shelter officer, is kind and sympathetic to displaced animals, and tried to be accommodating to the cats during their time at the shelter.  She’d let them roam free around the office some of the time, especially Drake, who had the calmer demeanor of the two.  Still, the chaotic shelter atmosphere was quite a challenge for the” formerly” pampered house cats! 

The two cats stayed at the shelter long past “their allowed time”, waiting for someone to adopt them(sometimes the rules are bent a little)…  The truth is, not many people want a grown cat.  Cats are finicky, and they don’t always adjust well to new surroundings.  If people are looking for a cat, they usually choose the playful, furry kitten every time. 

Finally, I couldn’t stand it any more, and  I adopted Dutch, the bob-tailed brother.  I’ll admit, I take a fancy to those bob-tailed cats…  I brought him home, and he was doing okay, but he hadn’t bonded especially well with the cats that I already had.  Cats are much more accepting of a kitten than another adult cat.  I put Dutch outside, but he really didn’t seem to mind.  In fact, he seemed to like it.

In the meantime, I  talked one of my cousins into adopting Drake.  I told her that I would bring him home with me on Friday night, and she and her husband could pick him up from my house on Saturday.  At the time, I was notorious for trying to place unwanted animals with family and friends…

When my cousin and her husband came to pick up Drake, her husband’s loud voice sent Drake “into orbit”.  I’d never seen Drake act that way.  Drake went absolutely wild!  It was obvious that the two of them weren’t going to get along…Meanwhile, they saw Drake’s brother, Dutch, and liked him because he didn’t have a tail…Finally, I agreed to keep Drake, and let them have Dutch instead.

So…Drake ended up living at my house after all…He’s made himself at home–outside, with all of the other adoptees.  He used to sit at the glass door and look inside of the house…his eyes pleading to come inside.  He really enjoyed his former life as a house cat!  Eventually, he became accustomed to being an outside cat, and he can usually be found sleeping on the rocking chair on the front porch.  Drake’s been with me for about 5 years now.

Occasionally, Drake wanders over to my daughter’s house and bullies her cat (another shelter cat, which used to be my cat).  I don’t know why Drake feels the need to do that…maybe he has to take out his frustrations on someone every now and then…I found out  later, that Drake’s brother, Dutch, eventually ran away from his new home….I guess he just couldn’t adjust to city living.

Published in: on April 13, 2010 at 9:18 am  Comments (4)  
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Shelter Tales…Gizmo II…One of a Kind

Have you ever met an animal, and formed an “instant bond” with them?  Well, Gizmo II was one of those kinds of animals.  I was volunteering at our local shelter in 2004, and as usual, the place was over-flowing with unwanted puppies.  In the first kennel on the right there were many puppies, but one little “homely” pit bull mix caught my attention.   

The first thing that caught my attention was his name, Gizmo.  Gizmo was the name of my daughter’s chihuahua that had been so special to us before a snake bit him and he died.  The next thing that caught my attention were his sad eyes…his eyes would follow me each time I passed by the kennel.  His eyes looked so sad…I’d always stop and chat with him for a few minutes each time, and I’d promise to try to find him a home.

Several weeks passed, and Gizmo was still stuck at the shelter.  By then, Gizmo was 3 or 4 months old, and had caught  ringworm from being allowed to roam in the front area of the shelter…along with a couple of cats…His age plus the case of ringworm sealed his fate–his name went on the “to be euthanized list”.

  I’d told my daughter all about him, and how special he was.  When Gizmo made “the list”, she decided to visit the shelter with me.  Once she met Gizmo, she sensed that there was something special about him, too.  Brandy’s an animal-lover at heart–just like her mother–suddenly–and just in the nick of time– Gizmo found his new home–with Brandy and her husband.

One trip to the vet cured the ringworm, and Gizmo became a house dog.  A very lucky house dog who loved to sleep in the bed with his new parents!  Life changed quickly for Gizmo…and it was a good change!

Gizmo never had to be “trained”.  Remarkably, he never had an accident in the house.  He was the most well-behaved dog I’ve ever seen.  Brandy or her husband could say “Gizmo, get in your bed”–and he went, immediately!  Ah, if only children would follow directions that well…

Gizmo was quiet, and never bothered anyone.  There was one time–when someone, I think it was our oldest son, was playing around with my husband, and pretended to hurt him.  Gizmo came to my husband’s defense!  He sprang to his feet and growled in a menacing way that got our attention!  We were careful never to play like that in Gizmo’s presence again.

Gizmo was just like a member of the family–a well-behaved member of the family.  Those piercing eyes…I loved his eyes.  They weren’t as sad after he found a home, but they were always watching…Unfortunately, Gizmo’s time with us was brief…less than three years.

We aren’t positive, but we think that Gizmo became a victim of dog food poisoning.  Remember when so many dogs were dying and they discovered it was contaminated dog food?  We believe that is what happened to Gizmo.  He was fine one day, sick the next day, then died during the night.  We had no idea what was going on at the time–except that he acted like he’d been poisoned.

Gizmo left us too soon, but his life was good while he was here.  Thanks to Brandy and her husband, Gizmo had a happy life, and he was loved.  Best of all, Gizmo was a great pet–I’m so glad that we all had the chance to get to know him and have him as a part of our family–even if it was only for a short while…  Rest in peace, Gizmo.

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm  Comments (2)  
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#2 Shelter Tales…The Love of a Pet

Trying to find something that "Sport" liked to eat

There is nothing greater than the love of a pet.  If I live to be 100, I will never understand how people can take their pets to animal shelters and leave them.  Our pets love us unconditionally, and depend on us.  I know some people think it’s the best thing to do, but I’ve seen some of the poor pets that get left and it’s heartbreaking.  People, think before you do this!  Please know– that most animals do not find homes–only a few lucky ones.

My first experience with such an animal was with a cat named “Sport”.  I’d been volunteering at the Animal Control Shelter in our county for just a few weeks when “Sport” was brought in.  He was a huge, long-haired, gray and white cat.  He was several years old and had been neutered and declawed.  He’d been the loving companion of an elderly gentleman who’d recently passed away.  There were no family members who were willing to adopt “Sport”, so he was turned in to the shelter–bless his heart.

When I first saw him, the look on “Sport’s” face was sheer terror!  He’d gone from being a lap cat to being dumped in a shelter full of barking dogs.  “Sport” was so large that he practically filled up the cage that he was in.  I took one look at “Sport”,  and said, “I’ll adopt him.”  I brought “Sport” home with me that evening–complete with his own brush, and hairball remedy.

I’d like to tell you that this story has a happy ending, but I can’t.  “Sport” had trouble settling in.  I guess it was hard to lose his only companion, spend time in a shelter,  plus move to a new home– all in less than two weeks!  He wasn’t very sociable, but he did finally eat–after giving him multiple choices.  At first he stayed under the bed, but later  he staked out a spot under my “year-round tree” to lounge around.  He would let me rub him, but not hold him.

After a few short days, Sport began to look at the door like he wanted to go out.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake of letting him go outside.  I’d had many cats and didn’t think anything of it, and he ‘d been so depressed I thought it might do him good.  I figured he’d just sniff around the yard a bit and be ready to come back inside.  The last time I ever saw “Sport” he was sitting on the wooden pool deck outside of our house. 

I spent hours calling and looking for “Sport”.  I even went back to the house where he had previously lived–seven miles away from mine.  I thought that he might’ve made his way back home after a few days, so I continued to check for several days.  I don’t know what happened to “Sport”, but at least he didn’t die at the animal shelter in a tiny cage listening to a bunch of dogs barking and yelping.  God bless you, “Sport” where ever you are.

Published in: on January 13, 2010 at 11:14 am  Comments (2)  
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