Archive for August, 2011

The Reality

A lot of times I hear people saying they just can’t bear to hear the sad stories coming from animal shelters. I get that, I really do, but the reality is, there is a lot of sadness in animal sheltering.

I am so proud of how HELP is set up, the animals have the least amount of stress possible considering they are in an animal shelter. Most of the animals have a lot of the comforts of a home environment and believe me when I say they are so loved! Staff and volunteers TRULY love the animals in our shelter. Of course, there is never enough time to just sit and let each animal have a lap or the time to walk each dog. That part makes me sad and I wish that volunteers would understand the importance of a visit to just sit and pet or a walk with a grateful dog.

The last month or so have been really difficult here. We have lost a few long time residents, several animals have been returned from adoptions 5+ years ago and we are looking at having to close our doors in a couple of months for lack of financial support. These things alone might be “just in a day’s work” for your average shelter by ours is run from the heart, and we hurt when they do.

On Friday 8/19, we recd a call from a local vet that had a badly injured cat in their office dropped off by a Good Samaritan. That kitty had a microchip that had never been registered by an adopter but we had put it in. We got her transported to our vet and she required immediate surgery to remove her tail that was barely still attached. I wont go into the horrifying details of what had happened to sweet Arabelle, but despite our best efforts, she went to the Bridge on Sunday morning. I hadn’t gotten a return call from the “adopters” over the weekend and the work phone was only taking msgs. Today I was finally able to reach her adopter at her work number and she couldn’t “remember” Arabelle, she had adopted her in 2007, said she didn’t remember what happened to her. Now whether she was lying or not, my stomach was sick wondering “was Arabelle EVER loved?” I will never know the answer to that question. I do know that in her last remaining hours on this planet, we loved her and we fought for her and I believe she knew that.

Several years ago, we TNRd (trap, neuter, return of feral cats) a cat on Main St where we are located. When the kitty first showed up we thought it was another cat named Mike. One night, I was looking really close and saw him closer and said “Oh, that’s not Mike”, and the name stuck “Not Mike” was returned back to the colony and we would see him every few weeks or so. There are several areas around here that feed feral cats, so we weren’t worried. Not Mike showed up more lately and he looked a bit bedraggled and he was now letting us pet him and talking to us.

During the brutal heat wave last month, someone came in and said there was a cat just curled up in the grass and wasnt moving. It was Not Mike. He went to the vet and found that he was pretty dehydrated and his hair was falling out and beyond skinny.  After getting some vet care, he came to the shelter inside to live. He had decided he REALLY enjoyed affection from us humans. After only a few days at the shelter, he wouldn’t eat and went back to the vet. Awesome Dr. Freeman suggested we take him to get an ultrasound of his liver because of some weird numbers in his blood work.

Long story short, the ultrasound showed his liver as being in bad shape, he went back to Belton Animal Clinic for some fluids and was doing better, loving the affection and attention. Calling from his cage for someone to come and give him a cheek scritch but sometime last night be began seizing. This meant his liver had had it, the toxins were too much for his body and so the seizures. At 3:30 today, I held Not Mike in my arms, told him I was sorry for his really rough life and to not be scared. Dr. Freeman told him that he would soon be with the sweet girl he had been caged next to (Arabelle) and he left peacefully for the Bridge.

And I returned to the shelter with 2 cats that had to be examined today. I was thinking how tough things can be especially for totally dependent animals and how sad this job can be and I remembered someone telling me once “well, this is what you signed up for” meaning shelter work. But when I signed up, I did it wanting to save animal lives, not lose them. I am proud of what we do at HELP Humane and will continue to do it, but the reality is, it’s hard and it’s sad and the “happy” times just cant come too often, that is The Reality.

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2011 BTA Auction Letter

Click on the link to download the 2011 BTA Auction Letter as a Word document.

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Jordan, the white prince

The first time I saw Jordan, I was mortified. I was trapping at a home in a mobile home park and it was raining. It was early evening and getting dark and I see this gorgeous boy come up on the deck and then notice, his ears are just horrible. I knock on the door to the home and ask the caretaker about this boy. She says that he comes around about once a week. I asked her if his ears were always like that and she says yes, and oh, that he is “sort of” friendly. I went back to the car and waited for him to appear again. I could tell he was really hungry and he didn’t mind me being very close but did not want me to touch him. So I got a carrier and brought it to the porch and began to toss pieces of food into the carrier to try to get him to go in and me shut the door behind him.  I was drenched in the rain and it kept coming down but I was determined to not leave there without him. His ears were so bloody and infected, there was no way I was leaving him behind!

Several times he would get so far in and then race back out, again and again, then finally I was able to get the door shut behind him and I threw my hands up in the air and whispered “yay!” so as not to scare him. My niece was in the car rooting me on and she yelled “yay” too!

Back to the shelter we went with this boy. After getting into a smaller room there in case he was in flight mode, I begin to open the carrier and he slowly walked out and right up to us. I think he knew he was going to get some help and after all that rain time, he decided to give me a break. He went to the vet the next morning, he had ear mites so bad that he had just been mutilating himself 😦 He was already neutered, so someone cared for him at one time. The caretaker said someone moved off and left him behind 😦

Oh, and Jordan also tested FIV+, which I knew would complicate his condition and healing. It took quite sometime to get his ears cleared and they are still scarred. But wow, everyone fell in love with this white prince. He is such a love bug and so awesome with the other cats. He was like the grandpa in the FIV+ room. He would groom any kitty that asked. And if you went in there, it was next to impossible to get sit down before he was in your lap. Such a gentle kind prince.

About a year later, we noticed he was not feeling well and we found that he had mega colon. Sometimes you can manage this condition with supportive care and the right mix of meds, but in Jordan’s case, we tried and tried and it just didn’t happen. He had to go to a specialist and have his colon removed. In the year following, he struggled some but it was much more manageable.

In July, 2010, a woman came in and wanted to adopt a cat to keep her small dog company. We told her about the FIV+ cats because she didn’t have another cat and she was up for it. She spent some time in the room and really loved Jordan, as everyone did. He was always the “parenting” type so we thought he might do well “parenting” her dog, so Jordan was adopted! We got to hear stories about him as she would visit often, it was so great to hear about him, we all missed him.

The last few months, Jordan has been randomly ceasing to eat, so he would go in for a vet visit and he would be on the verge of hepatic lipidosis but would get better after a couple of days of being hospitalized. At one time, he had all his teeth removed because they just were so bad, so sometimes we wondered if his mouth bothered him, maybe that was why he wasnt eating.

Last week after only about 2 wks of being out of the vet clinic, he stopped eating again, something was just wrong. The vets said he had become really jaundice quickly, fluid was building in his abdomen and wasnt getting better like before. On Friday night, an awesome vet at Blue Pearl met me there late so he could do an ultrasound on Jordan because something needed to be done quickly. The worst news, a mass in his liver. His mom and us decided that we weren’t going to put this prince through anymore. His mom took him home on Saturday and will wait for Jordan to tell her that its time for him to go.

There are so many people saddened by this, our little prince didn’t have an easy life by any stretch of the imagination. But we are so grateful to be a big part of making this boy’s life better and definitely filled with love the last 5 years of his life. He truly couldn’t be loved more. Thanks for hanging with us you gentle prince, we are blessed to have been able to rescue you, you made our lives happier to have had you in it. We hope your journey to The Bridge is peaceful and gentle like you sweet Prince

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Remaining Basket Ideas

  • Family Night In– DVD, board game, cards, snacks
  • Kids Camping– pup tent, flashlight, batteries, items for smores, compass
  • Hiking– backpack, hiking guide, can coolers, swiss army knife, compass, park maps around KC, bug spray, snacks, canned beverages
  • Winter- snow shovel, holiday lights, couch blanket, hot chocolate, sidewalk de-icer
  • Halloween– Halloween decorative items
  • Team Spirit– KU, MU, K State, etc- grill cover, can koozies, pop up ice chest, grill tools, bumper sticker
  • Winter Wonderland– disk sled for the basket, scarf, gloves, hat
  • BBQ– BBQ sauce, meat seasonings, tongs, spatula, skewers, BBQ themed apron, basting brush, grilling cookbook
  • Royals Baseball– Royals bucket, hat or visor, peanuts (in shell), baseball glove, bumper sticker, baseball cards
  • Bookworm– Barnes and Noble gift card, bookmark, lap blanket
  • Tea Time– tea pot, various flavored teas, Godiva dark chocolate truffles, chocolate pretzels, chai and rooibos tea shortbread cookies, chocolate caramels, strawberry preserves, Lily O’Brien’s double chocolate chip cookies and sugar sticks complement the teas.
  • Picnic – picnic basket, checkered tablecloth, cheese, crackers, meats, bug spray, citronella candles
  • Spa– loofah, fragrant soaps and lotions (bath and body works?), bathrobe, candles, bath beads
  • Relaxation– wind chimes, yoga book or cards, meditation book, herbal teas, candles
  • Lottery tickets– lottery scratcher tickets of all kinds
  • Guy’s Night– poker tabletop, poker chips, cards, chip and dip platter, cigars, beer mugs, coasters
  • Hot Wheels – lots of hot wheels cars, trucks, anything with wheels.
  • Dog Spa– dog tote carrier, dog shampoo, bath spray, doggie bathrobe, nail clippers, brush, charms for dog collar
  • For the Birds- bird house, bird seed, bird watching book to identify different types, bird feeder
  • Beer Basket– place all items in a cooler, collection of single bottles of many different beers (some liquor stores do mix/match 6 packs, could also try some of the Boulevard Smokestack series bottles), bottle opener, coasters, pretzels, nuts,
  • Good Luck Gift– four leaf clover items, horseshoe, ladybug, candy, cookies
  • Teacher Gift– items that relate to apples, cinnamon apple tea, apple chips, apple flavored jelly beans, coffee mug, pens/pencils

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Our Pink girl needs some good thoughts and prayers. She is in hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) right now. If cats stop eating for any extended period of time they can develop this disease. Here is a link about it

Pink came to us as a skinny girl and had been scavenging so long for food, she just ate and ate because she was sure the food would be gone the next time she looked.

She is super quiet and really doesn’t approach for attention but does love it when someone comes to her. She does do “hard” love bites if you pet her for too long, she gets over stimulated.

Last week, we had to have a feeding tube inserted to get her fed enough to get her past this disease. She is really taking it well and keeping it down so that is a good sign.

Please keep Pink in your thoughts and prayers that we can pull her through this….

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