I rescued a human today

A colleague shared this today and it made me cry buckets. Because it’s what happens when we adopt a rescue – they rescue us right back!

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I RESCUED A HUMAN TODAY
Her eyes met mine as she walked down the corridor peering apprehensively into the kennels.  I felt her need instantly and knew I had to help her.  I wagged my tail, but not too exuberantly, so she wouldn’t be afraid.

As she stopped at my kennel I blocked her view from a little accident I had in the back of my cage.  I didn’t want her to know that I hadn’t been walked today.  Sometimes the shelter keepers get too busy and I didn’t want her to think poorly of them.

As she read my kennel card I hoped that she wouldn’t feel sad about my past.  I only have the future to look forward to and want to make a difference in someone’s life.

She got down on her knees and made little kissy sounds at me.  I shoved my shoulder and side of my head up against the bars to comfort her.  Gentle fingertips caressed my neck; she was desperate for companionship.

A tear fell down her cheek and I raised my paw to assure her that all would be well.  Soon my kennel door opened, and her smile was so bright that I instantly jumped into her arms.  I would promise to keep her safe.  I would promise to always be by her side.  I would promise to do everything I could to see that radiant smile and sparkle in her eyes.  I was so fortunate that she came down my corridor.

So many more are out there who haven’t walked the corridors. So many more to be saved.

At least, I was able to save one.

I rescued a human today.

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Once you’ve loved

There have been a few people at work recently who have lost beloved pets, so there is quite a lot of chatter on the discussion groups about the holes they leave behind, and whether/how soon it is appropriate to bring another pet into the family (as soon as it FEELS right, and the new pet finds you, is my opinion).

I saw this on a card once and while it referred to the love/loss of another person, I feel it is equally applicable to the love/loss of an animal:

Once you’ve loved,

There’s a part of your heart that simply belongs to that person.

It can’t be sold or rented out – it’s theirs,

You gave it to them,

And they live in it,

Claiming its space for all time.

Thank God our hearts are able to expand exponentially to accommodate all those loved ones living in it. Here are a couple of my heart’s residents, Toto and Schroeder. I’m happy to carry them around with me 🙂f000000500000019700bSunday281001 010

Guest post: Happy Birthday Firefox!

This post is by McColleague Corinne, whose kitty Firefox celebrated his 3rd birthday this week. This post really brings home the bond between a girl and her cat, and the joys of adopting a special furry friend from a shelter…

A cat is probably among the first things I ever wanted in my life. As a young girl, I always wrote my stories about "Stripes" the tiger, "Mint" the cat, etc (I still have most of these little books). All my early artwork was of felines, my birthdays were cat-theme… I had a cat figurine collection, many stuffed tigers, all the Littlest Pet Shop toys, every new cat toy on the block, etc. Obsessed? Probably. My dad was "allergic" and I could never fulfill my dream of having a cat of my own.

Soon after my parents divorced, my mom adopted our first cats – Morgan, then Roxy, and now Tiger. That’s for a different story.

Just about two years ago, I moved to Pittsburgh to start graduate school. Upon arrival, I convinced my roommate Navodit, an international student who’d never had a pet, to bring one home. My reasoning? "When you’ve had a horrible day, you don’t want to talk to anyone, it’s raining, you’re hungry and tired, and you feel awful… you come home to a furry ball of love waiting for you." This led to a special clause on our lease: "Corinne P may have one cat in the apartment".

I literally went to the rescue league the weekend I moved in. I didn’t even wait to unpack and settle in. It was almost Labor Day Weekend 2008 and the league would be closed for the holidays. Plus, the place was overloaded with cats – any animal over a year old was on sale. What timing! So, I went with the goal of adopting a 1+year-old cat that was docile and cuddly. I didn’t want anything too playful.

After the typical ‘cute overload’ of seeing all the caged cats and meeting all of them, I requested my first visit: a black-and-white shorthair. She was incredibly playful and couldn’t sit still. I decided to meet another cat, and wandered down the cages.

I came across a big ginger tabby (or ‘magical orange cat’) named Garfield. He was chowing down and didn’t seem to notice me. I requested to meet him, and the volunteer snorted "Another orange cat named Garfield? How original." She unloaded the guy and started to tell me his story. They’d found him wandering in the suburbs with a collar on and called the number: disconnected. Strangely, someone had shaved his tail so that all he had was a giant puffball. We’re in the visiting room and he has no interest in playing. He’s exploring the place, sniffing me, jumping in my lap, etc. Very sweet and good-natured. I called Navodit to come down and meet this Garfield, because I thought he’d be our guy!

Navodit was hesitant around Garfield. However, the second I handed him over, Garfield curled up in Navodit’s lap and fell asleep. We were both thrilled… and carried our new cat out in a cardboard box that day. As soon as he snuggled up on our sofa I realized he was a spitting image of the Firefox logo. The name stuck.

You’ve all probably heard the mention of Firefox’s early days: it turns out, his sedate and affectionate behavior was his way of demonstrating that he was sick. We spent the next weekend at an emergency vet clinic getting him treated for his feline herpes flare-up: sore pink eyes, sneezing, and no desire to eat or drink. Once he was healthy again, Firefox had two personalities: Bonzo (the crazy guy) and Fox (the sweetheart). In time, Fox dominated and became the cat I love today.

He’s had his share of adventures: a summer without me as I took on an internship in Virginia. The introduction, initial dislike, and eventual love between him and my new roommate’s cat Kenji (ever walked in on cats cleaning each other? awk-ward…). The drive from Pittsburgh to New Jersey when I finished up graduate school. The time I traveled abroad for three months and he broke out, engaging in suspicious and unknown activities for a week and a half. The flight out to Seattle, stowed under a seat in a Southwest plane, with a layover in Chicago.

The Fox and I have a routine about our days: I wake up in the morning and wash up. As I brush my teeth, I let the faucet run so he can drink out of it. I give him a good belly rub or brush down before I leave for work. When I get back, I find him waiting by the bi-fold door and meowing through the glass window. The second I step into my part of the house, he rolls onto his side for another rubdown. Sometimes we’ll have a "chase the laser pointer" session or I’ll watch TV on the futon and snuggle with him. When I take a bath or shower, we bat at each other through the shower curtain and I sometimes spray him to see the stunned look on his face. At the end of the night, I sleep curled up in a ball on my right side – Fox sleeps in the little nook behind my knees.

I can’t imagine not having Firefox with me for these first few years of adulthood. As was my initial promise to Navodit, Fox is still there to console me and be affectionate when I need him the most. He may not be the smartest or most affectionate cat, but he sleeps like a pro. He’ll even “meerkat” for treats. He’s my Fox.

Happy Birthday, Fox: ~3 years old and 2 years of memories.

Best Job Ever: Video Producer (when you get to shoot 100 cats in an Ikea store)

I’ve decided. Once a week you’re going to get a post about a job I reckon would be Best Ever. In this case, 100 cats are let loose in a UK IKEA store after hours to shoot a masterful ad (the final scene of which absolutely slays me, it’s PURRfect).

I’ve been involved in a number of video shoots and have always loved it – even the ‘hurry up and wait’ bits – THIS, however, takes things to the next level: great job + cats = Best Job Ever!

The video shows the making of the commercial, finishing up with the end product. WIN!

 

Jasper’s Wednesday Haiku Collection

I was telling McColleagues today that Jasper was disappointed I had to get up and go to work today (what’s new – he’s disappointed about that every day, but then again so am I, LOL).

Anyway, it started a whole long discussion about how hard he is to leave, and how he totally has me PWNED with his pouty-jowls and his big earnest eyes…. and then out of the blue, McColleague Rachel from Tuscon, AZ sends me an email filled with haiku for Jasper!

I LOVE IT!

I love it so much I’m sharing it with you all here:

Jasper’s Wednesday Haiku Collection

Jasper’s pleading gaze
Makes you feel guilt on work days.
He forgets, and plays.

But when you return,
Pouty-face makes your heart churn.
Will you ever learn?

Mom, stay home with me!
We will have fun, and be free!
Hold on, gotta pee.

Okay, I am back.
Won’t you please give me a snack?
CATNIP! Kitty-crack!

No! Don’t close the door!
Don’t you love me anymore?
…Ooh, sun patch on floor!

Now you’re home! Hooray!
It’s totally time to play!
(Cuz I slept all day.)

Mom, let’s go to bed.
Save me a spot by your head.
Promise not to shed.

Neighborhood block party funds pet oxygen masks for local Fire department

We had our annual block party tonight, as part of the Seattle Night Out – a tradition aimed at getting neighbors to know each other in the hopes that they’ll be more inclined to look out for each other and so prevent crime in the area. It was a lot of fun – we had sidewalk chalk and a piñata for the kids, as well as an ice cream bus. We were able to provide free food thanks to a grant from the city – hotdogs (vegan and non-vegan), vegetarian chili (which was an unexpected runaway hit), watermelon and grilled oysters. Soda was donated by www.jonessoda.com and iced coffee was donated by our local coffee shop, Voxx. A couple hundred people turned up, with kids and dogs in tow, and enjoyed mingling while an awesome Jazz trio provided just the right ambiance.

Part of the goal of the block party is to provide some social service too, so we had information out about disaster preparedness for people and pets, as well as crimewatch information. And my job as part of the organizing committee was to “do something about animals”. Well, because we had such a focus on disaster preparedness, AND because the Seattle Fire Department was going to be paying our party a visit, I decided to both hand out information on disaster preparedness for pets AND run a little raffle to raise money to buy our local fire crew a set of pet oxygen masks.

I first heard about the need for pet oxygen masks through the Bark 10-4 campaign sponsored by Bark Buckle Up back in October (which was National Fire Safety Month) and learned to my horror that most fire trucks do not carry pet oxygen masks – most fire fighting crews would be hard pressed to have one per station, let alone any on a truck. According to the Bark 10-4 campaign, more than 500,000 pets are affected by fires each year, and over 40,000 pets each year die of smoke asphyxiation – many of them needless deaths that could have been prevented had the fire crews been carrying the right equipment to help.

When I told the block party committee this was my plan for “doing something about animals” they unanimously supported it, and got a couple of local businesses to donate prizes – nothing fancy, a few bottles of wine, some movie tickets… I made up some posters and decided to charge $2.00 per ticket. 

Now to find how to get my fire department those masks! While searching online I found this awesome site called www.wagn4u.com that has ALL this most excellent pet safety stuff! I couldn’t help myself – I ordered a Pet Emergency Pocket Guide (for me), a fun Pet First Aid Bandanna (that got a lot of attention at my little table tonight) and a packet of Vehicle Heat Alert Tags – very cool tags that alert you to when it’s too hot to leave your pet or child in the car.

Tonight at the block party, I had a table on which I’d hung signs advertising my raffle and what it was for (but not what the prizes were, because I only found out late what I had to give away – turns out it didn’t matter to people so much what they were going to win, as the fact their pets were going to be safer in the god-forbid event of a fire). To everyone who came past, I would tell them what I was raising money for and ask them to buy a ticket. Some bought one, a couple bought twenty!

I also handed out the Vehicle Heat Alert Tags with the Pet Emergency Preparedness info to anyone who brought their dog tonight – we went through all 25 in a flash, people really liked them (and anyone who knows me will know it’s an absolute crusade of mine EVERY summer to educate people about the dangers of leaving their pet in a hot car, so I was happy to have these to hand out)!

When the fire truck came and the kids (and plenty of adults too) had climbed all over it, I had the Lieutenant do the draw and announce the winners. Even after we’d done that, a couple of people slipped me a dollar or two to add to the kitty. All in all we raised $138 – doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s enough to buy two sets of pet oxygen masks for our local fire station – with $8 left over!

I’m going to order the masks through the Wag’N O2 Fur Life Program (a.k.a. The Pet Oxygen Mask Initiative) and have them delivered directly to Station 22 of the Seattle Fire Department on behalf of the residents of Eastlake and the Eastlake Block Party organizing committee.

THANK YOU to everyone who supported our effort! And THANK YOU to our brave firefighters who save lives every day – and who now will be better equipped to save the lives of our beloved pets with two sets of pet oxygen masks!

Dogs speak out against dogfighting

Powerful video that doesn’t rely on graphic images. It gave me a catch in my throat, for sure.