This week-plus was extraordinary for the incoming we saw on the rescue side. ‘Tis the season, so no surprise, but over time we’ve gotten more and more active.
Other than our routine support of the babies who really need a boost in Rescue Me! — those with medical needs, who are a little older, or who have simply been too long in a shelter — historically, we have received fewer, mostly high-emergency calls, like these:
* Homer’s man was dying. Homer was an 8-yr-old unneutered Shepherd mix, and he needed help fast, or was quickly headed for death himself.
* One man needed a foster family for his sweetpea, strictly for the time he’d be away in Iraq.
* A family who had to move across country for financial reasons couldn’t take the baby with.
These are the kinds of cases we’ve frequently seen and responded to, plugging into the network of giant hearts who step up, act fast, and find solutions.
These past couple of weeks pumped up the volume, with three separate kitty cases all at once: one single 7-week old with a cold, one bunch (16!) left to fend for themselves in a house abandoned through foreclosure, and two litters from an apartment dweller who couldn’t keep them — four 7-week-old kittens and a mama with seven 4-week-old kittens.
It was the second case — the kitties at the abandoned house, that brought this week’s memorable moment . . . or more accurately, memorable human being to “Spot’s House.”
It went like this. A woman named Serena was referred to us by Larry Chusid of the Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank after Serena called him seeking help with the 16 abandoned cats. Pongo promised food, and referred Serena to us for help with rescue.
Serena was at wits’ end, having already called 13 shelters, which she named so I wouldn’t tap contacts she’d already covered. She had obtained a promise from Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon to spay/neuter “all the cats she could trap” later this month, which was GREAT, but the question of the cats’ care and shelter remained unanswered.
I went to work, contacting shelters and rescues Serena hadn’t yet, and broadcasting the dilemma through our pipelines, while Serena continued hammering away for answers.
What made it so amazing, when so many do this thankless, frustrating, exhausting work every day?
This was Serena’s initiation-by-fire in the world of rescue, spay/neuter and ferals. Watching her take a step forward, question her direction, press on, step back, hesitate/question, and press on again . . . was amazing. Repeatedly she did the head-up, shoulders-back, deep breath, GO customary to those with the courage, conviction and cajones to push a mountain ‘til it moves.
Day 2 I got a call from a breathless Serena telling me about a government meeting she’d attended to report the situation, plead for help, and to publicly question why those who built this mess weren’t being held accountable. “I was SO nervous!,” she said, rushing through the details of the nail-biter turned invigorating (perhaps even life-changing . . . time will tell) event for Serena.
Day 3 found more calls and more connections. At one point Serena mentioned feeling powerful, excited, and full of passion. She said she thought just maybe she’d found her calling. “Maybe I’m meant be in government,” she mused . . . “Maybe I’m supposed to be an advocate.”
We’ll see how the story unfolds over time, and I’ll be sure to let you know. I doubt I’ll have to, though: I have a feeling this dynamic, funny, smart, upbeat, no-bullshit woman I’ve had the pleasure to get to know a little through this single event will not be a stranger to those of us in rescue. . . . I hope cupid’s arrow (for the love of pets) sticks with her. . . and she with us.
I want to close by mentioning: One of Spot’s long-term goals is to build an animal support network, complete with angels providing transport, medical care, foster placement and adoption in the quickest, most efficient ways. We’re committed to identifying existing resources in order to maximize them and eliminate redundancy. I dream of a network that is fast, efficient, and far-reaching, saving time, money . . . and MORE LIVES.
If you would like to be a part of growing this dream, every helping hand helps. Making phone calls, transporting animals, shooting out broadcast emails, fostering. Anything and everything matters. Every bit of effort touches a life. If you’d like to be a part, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you and welcome you into this very special world.
‘til next time!