It Takes A Village

It’s kitten season, and everyone is full at The Inn! 

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On an early fall afternoon in mid October Marnie of Spot’s Eugene/Springfield Office received a desperate call.   The woman had called everyone she could find up and down I-5 and in the Willamette Valley, seeking to place three cats she had rescued about 18 months prior.  She was having no luck, and was beginning to panic.

The woman herself was in the process of being rescued by her own children, who live in Idaho.  COPD had claimed her health, and they were moving her in with them.  The kittens she had rescued (and socialized) from the streets of Eugene now needed rescue again.  They couldn’t go with her; her destination was a no-cats-allowed rental home.   

The woman was reaching out frantically to people whose names she’d been given in earlier calls.  One of those people was Marnie McCammon.  While not a rescue, Marnie does volunteer for several Eugene-area rescues.  Marnie hoped she could easily place the babies, but she quickly realized everyone seemed overloaded with homeless cats and kittens.  Still, her fire was lit, and Marnie kept at it; to give up trying was not an option. 

In talking with the woman already grieving losses on many levels, Marnie discovered additional challenges.  The kitties had not been spayed or neutered due to the woman’s health and financial challenges; in the past, the woman had always fixed her pets.

The hunt was on — now for help with spay/neuter as well as forever homes.  The homes needed finding by the first weekend in November,  when the woman would leave the area.

People Marnie talked with offered great advice; some also said that putting the kitties back out on the street would be a certain death sentence.   Marnie said the only thing to do was “not give up!”

The final act approached with only faith and perseverance fueling the “engine,” according to Marnie, who pointed out “there was no ending written . . . Yet!”

Then all at once, thanks to the City of Eugene Spay & Neuter Clinic’s special voucher program, Greenhill Humane Society, and a special, experienced “cat woman,” it all came together.

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Since the two boys, Micah and Spot, were socially friendly, Greenhill was able to take them into its cattery after neutering.  The third cat, a little girl, found her angel in someone Marnie knew and saw while delivering the November issue of Spot in Pleasant Hill. 

While at Embarkadero Compassionate Grooming, Marnie shared with proprietor Molly Sargent and staff member Lesa Fisher about the seemingly hopeless predicament.   Learning about “Sweet Baby,” Lesa offered to take the little girl — who is semi-feral and in need of socialization and special attention.   Lesa’s home is equipped for such a case, and she offered to work with Sweet Baby and help prepare her for her forever home once she was spayed.

The afternoon of Sweet Baby’s appointment, Marnie collected her from the clinic and took her to Lesa’s work.  The kitty went home with Lesa that evening, to begin the recovery and rehab to put her on the path to finding her forever family. 

Marnie and Spot wish to thank the village of people who pulled together to ensure these babies were re-rescued and would have a chance at finding loving families for the rest of their 9 lives.   Micah and Spot can be visited at Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene.  To meet or learn more about Sweet Baby, contact Marnie@SpotMagazine.net.

Editor’s Note:  As this story unfolded just before production of the December issue, it became clear that it was an important story to share for a few reasons:  to acknowledge and thank those who stepped up and made the critical difference in the lives of not only these animals, but for the woman who’s heart was breaking.  While she had done so much for the cats, she was simply unable to provide further care, and contemplating the possibility that the cats might be “lost” caused her horrible anguish . . . which turned to relief and huge gratitude when help came.

Finally, this case provides an excellent illustration of the heartbreak, the challenge, the hurry-up-and-wait, the despair and the love and victory that marks many days of those involved in animal welfare and rescue.   To those who face these matters head on, whose hands and hearts and vehicles and hours and energy are given so generously to the animals they hold so dear, we say THANK YOU!