Archive for Daily Activities

See you on the flipside Smokey

I heard a friend say about losing someone that she always said “See you on the flipside” instead of goodbye. I really liked that, truly hate goodbyes and when I have said way more goodbyes than I care to remember, I latched right on to this saying.

Today, I had to do just that with our Smokey Vaughn. Smokey Vaughn came into our care in 2007 when his pet parent passed away, so we gave him the pet parent’s last name because Smokeys were just too common. Oh boy was Smokey a handful then. He didnt get that much time out of his confined area because he hated other cats and didnt have a single flinch in just attacking them full on. About 10 days a day, someone would say “Smokey Vaughn, knock it off, you are going back into time out” This was a cat with 2 eyes at the time and hadnt been neutered for more than 1/2 his life. Mr Vaughn, although had nothing for himself, couldnt bare to see a cat starve or want for anything. And even though he would lose his patience with Smokey Vaughn because of his aggressive behavior with other cats, he loved him just the same.

Smokey in 2007

Smokey in 2007

We had to shave him alot because he wasnt that interested in being spiffed up, after all he spent many years as a street cat that lived to love the female kitties and that was his main focus, he never really cared about grooming. His long soft hair was quite often shaved in a lion cut. As the vision in his left eye began deteriorating in 2008, we soon found out he had glaucoma. That meant he didnt see out of it anyway and it caused him pain, so we had the vet remove it. We could sense that he was more like himself after that surgery. In 2010, I believe, he began showing signs of the remaining eye being diseased and we knew he was already blind totally, so we wanted him to be free of the pain of that also, so the eye came out.

After the first eye was removed

After the first eye was removed

After both eyes removed and a fresh haircut in 2010

After both eyes removed and a fresh haircut in 2010

It was always so amazing to watch him manuever around a room, of course, he returned after recovery to his same area so he knew it well, but it was when he would turn his head to “look” your direction when you talked to him or he sensed a friend in the room that would also set us into wonder. He never felt sorry for himself, I believe that is a human emotion, not an animal’s. They just decide that this is the way things are now and how will I get around it.

When we moved into our new bldg in 12/2012, we all worried about how Smokey would adjust to his new much bigger room. Pfft! Although someone stayed in his area for a while, there was really no need, the other cats usually moved out of his way and Smokey was getting old and didnt really need much but a litter box, full food and water and of course, his thick quilt on the floor and love. He had arthritis and also had developed hyperthyroidism and recently his kidneys started showing some decline. He tolerated all his meds and the med for hyperT can really be rough on cats, but this survivor boy just took it in stride.

In the past few months, he has had several small crises and he would still rebound back from them. The ironic part in that is that his pet parent was the same way. He had many ailments and when he went into the hospital I would worry he would not be coming out this time, but he did, he found the strength to walk out again, then in 2007 just the day after Christmas, he just didnt. Smokey Vaughn was the same, he would have a crisis and I would fret and we would get a diagnosis and I would worry “is his time close” but it wasnt, and he would somehow come out of it and keep on living.

He knew when his friends came in the room and was always hopeful for a stroke or kind words from even those that he didnt know. He had many friends that would visit the shelter and so many would ask about him and want to visit him. I am thinking about how many hearts will be broken when they get this news.

This morning he suddenly went from ok to in crisis and our wonderful volunteers noticed immediately and got him to our awesome  vet. She called me to give me and update and since inserting his IV catheter for fluids, he had perked up and was looking brighter. Of course, I was thinking, that tough old guy, he’s gonna pull through again. This time it wasnt to be, a couple hours later, our Dr Smith called to say that although he had perked up at first, he was declining quickly again and she felt like I should come and visit for myself.

I wont go into the gory details of exactly what was happening but beside many other things, she had discovered that his heart was just barely beating. Two of the 4 chambers of his heart were barely functioning and from the debris on the ultrasound in one chamber it looked as if clots were forming, his body temp was also dropping, a common sign they are dying.

When I arrived at the clinic, I went to go to his cage, he was lying on his side and not very coherent. I said his name and he lifted his head and I could hear his purr start up. My heart jumped a bit and I could feel myself hoping that another rebound was coming.

Wonderful kind Dr. Smith and Katie a tech helped him and I and a IV pump into an exam room and I cuddled Smokey and he purred like the Smokey I know. I have had to make “the decision” in these cases for way too many times and this one was going to be the hardest. Not only was this wise old soft loving boy loved but he had made so many comebacks. How could I be sure that another one wasnt coming?? What if I made the decision to let him go and he was still working up the strength for another comeback?? I spent about 1 hour curled around him wanting someone else to decide and at the same time wanting no one else to decide but me. After a while, he began to struggle to breathe and his tongue was started to come out and his breathing intensified. I asked Dr Smith some questions and then with anxiety and my heart breaking, I told her I thought it was time but still kept thinking about that so desperately wanted comeback.

Dr Smith let me take all the time Smokey and I needed and when the breathing was getting worse, it had to be then. We both talked to him and told him who would be meeting him on the other side and that to be sure and tell Mr Vaughn about his acupuncture treatments so that Mr Vaughn could shake his head and say “those crazy cat ladies” At one time, Smokey managed to raise up his front leg and lay it on my arm, almost hugging it. I held his head in my hand and quietly and gently he began another journey. His nose was against my coat and then Dr Smith noticed blood flowing from his nose. It broke my heart and convinced me his body had no more to give, another comeback wouldnt have been possible. I kissed him and told him how much I loved him and would miss him and above all, no goodbye, just See you on the flipside Smokey……….Godspeed………..

Smokey312-3-Copy(3)

Blind cats see with their hearts

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The Best of Days, the Worst of Days

All rolled into one day. People tell me “wow, I couldn’t do your job, it would be too hard” and others “wow, your job must be alot of fun”. Strangely, they are both correct, and as far as emotional toll, some of the best days and the worst days can be all rolled into one day. Today, January 17, was one of those days.

This is Sunday, he is about 10 years old and was recently diagnosed with nasal lymphoma. I heard horror stories about radiation from some friends. Sunday acts just fine except his hampered breathing and the mass growing between his eyes. I wanted to let him live out the rest of his time feeling 1/2 way good so I didn’t pursue any treatment. Today, I took him to see the oncologist because the mass is getting so big and yet he still acts like he feels pretty good. We were thrilled to find out that the type of lymphoma he has responds really well to chemotherapy and if it goes into remission, which a high percentage do, it could give him an average of 2 more years. Now, that is quite a long time when your average life span is around 15 years. So, we were all excited and feeling so hopeful that Sunday now had a good prognosis and he actually began chemo today (BTW, cats don’t have the horrible side effects that people seem to from chemo, another big plus! It’s hard to look at Sunday and not feel hurt and a bit squeamish because frankly, its hard to look at the masses coming from his face. BUT, its hard to watch anyone that is ill but that doesn’t mean you don’t try to help them get well if there is that possibility.)

Sunday cat 13

Later today, we got a kick in the gut. Peanut was a cat that had been adopted out twice and returned twice, for no fault of his own, at that point, I decided that Peanut was no longer up for adoption. When he had been put back into the shelter both times, it was just so hard on him adjusting again. Both times, he thought he had a home, but didn’t. In 2013, a man looking for a cat visited our shelter and for some reason, zoned in on our Peanut and wanted to adopt him. Our front desk girls both told him, he’s not up for adoption and told him the reason. He just pursued it more, wanted to speak to the person that made these decisions, that was me. So I spent 30 minutes with the man, first of all I explained about him being returned and how hard on him that was. He appeared to understand and agree but proclaimed he wouldnt dump him back into the shelter. So, then I explained to him that he had to be given an eye med every day and as long as he did that, Peanut’s eyes would probably stay well. I explained that we would provide the eye meds but obviously he would have to administer them and contact us when he needed them refilled. We were able to do one follow-up call to the adopter and he said Peanut was doing well and he wasnt having any issues.

When the next follow-up call was made, the msg said it was not accepting calls. Our follow-up volunteer was worried, I was just hopeful that he wouldn’t have let me down and was maybe out of phone minutes etc. She tried several times to no avail. So, today our worst fears were realized when the adopter walked through our door to once again dump Peanut back into the shelter. Yes, we were happy he didn’t dump him on the streets but the worst part, he stopped giving Peanut the eye meds some time ago and he almost appears to be blind!! So this adopter just either lied during the entire discussion with me or maybe at that time he felt the need personally to make some grandiose rescue to make his own self feel better and after a while of caring for Peanut, he was just too selfish to continue to take care of Peanuts needs and just let him exist.

I keep pondering “With SO many cats listed for free everywhere and available at many other shelters for lower adoption fees and with no special needs, WHY WHY WHY would this guy choose to go through this discussion and convince me that he was going to be Peanut’s angel?? Why??? I just dont understand. So, now Peanut is back with us, I am glad he is here and not dumped on the streets but I just don’t understand this adopters reasoning when he begged and pleaded and promised to care for Peanut forever. Now Peanut is started on many eye meds with more to come and back into the shelter. My heart is literally ripped out and stomped on. I have apologized to Peanut many times since this afternoon and there will never be anyone able to talk me into allowing him out on adoption again……..not the way this story should have played out. I am so sorry Peanut, please think good thoughts and send prayers that we are going to be able to save his eyesight. I just keep saying Why??

Before this last adoption  Peanut Coconut adorable

After being returned to us again today Peanut cat 13

And then this little pitiful Tuna that was rescued by a Good Samaritan and brought into an Emergency Vet. They gave him care and then asked if we would take him into our program. Well, they said he was young and very sweet but didn’t prepare me for what I was going to be seeing. This little boy just barely survived and he still has a long way to go before he is well. What a sweet boy he is but is just so sad to look at right now. He is eating well, we are happy about that, just too bad that we cannot help him to blow his nose. Another sick kitty tough to look at. The tips of his ears will probably fall off from frostbite to them but he purrs and paw paws if you even look his way.

Tuna kitten 13

I am very grateful that we have all three of them and they are all getting care. I am grateful they have a place like HELP Humane that believes all life is precious but am sad that animals have to go through such horrible things and they are all dependent on the goodness of a human being willing to help them. I am grateful for the staff and volunteers that are so amazing and will help these precious babies to regain health and be surrounded by love and our supporters that help us to afford the vet care. I will be working at keeping that in my thoughts instead of the sadness about it. It wont be easy, but I will keep trying. Please send good thoughts and prayers for our babies.

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As 2013 comes to a close……….my thoughts

As we close out another year and welcome in 2014, we look back on all the lives saved and second chances given by HELP Humane. Yes, we are very proud of our work and the organization. No, we don’t save the most lives or do the most adoptions or even have the biggest building or the biggest following. BUT, what we do have is an organization that is run from the heart. All the staff and volunteers love the orphans in our care as if they are our own. Our eyes well with tears when they go out on adoption, happy tears for the adopted animal and a wisp of sadness for ourselves as we know we will miss them.

We know we rescue so many of the saddest cases, we know our hearts have broken many times when we have met that injured sad furry face coming in our front doors. The ones that no one wanted to take on because the recovery time was too long or the expense for treatment was too much. The ones that had almost given up. Many of us have cried into their fur thinking about what they might have went through.

We also know we are an organization that specializes in cats, we rescue dogs, but we specialize in cats. Both cats and dogs are 1st class citizens at our shelter. Very few shelters can say this. This is not always a popular idea as cats are seen as more disposable than dogs. However, we also know that the problem with homeless cats is much larger and more daunting than that of homeless dogs. There are also many shelters and rescues that only rescue dogs and specialize in dogs. We love both and rescue both, we just have a smaller number of dogs in our care.

We know we go into the shelter every day and never know what we will encounter but we know for sure what we want and do our best in the best interest of all the orphans in our care. We can have the best day with a very special animal going home or a sick animal beginning to eat on their own and in the same day have to hold a paw as the vet releases them from their pain from an illness that beat them and us. But every day, we KNOW we are making a difference in these very precious lives in our care. We look into their eyes and we know. We know………..

We also know that we may not have the most supporters but we know we have the best supporters on our team. Our volunteers are the most dedicated and loving people you could imagine. They know all the animal’s names and they worry when they are not feeling well. They rejoice and cry with us in each victory and defeat in fighting for these precious lives. We also know we work with the best vets also, they also rejoice and cry with us. They also deeply care for our orphans. Belton Animal Clinic and Exotic Care Center (Dr Smith and Dr. Bradley-Bays) and Belton Veterinary Center (Dr Kelly).

And our supporters like you who give of their hard earned money as gifts for the care of these precious lives, we are not a complete team without you. It takes a village (or team) to make a difference and if any aspect of it is not there, its just not going to happen like it has been. We just began our 9th year having a brick and mortar facility and our 17th year as an organization. You simply dont do that alone, it takes a team. Thank you for trusting and believing in us! We wont let you or the animals down!

Please watch our facebook page and these newsletters for upcoming events. This year we will also be doing more snail mail newsletters because of a great deal the post office has now. If you would prefer to receive only the online email like this or the snail mail only, just hit reply and let us know.

Within 24 hours, we will bid farewell to 2013. If you havent made all your tax deductible donations that you would like to give for 2013, here is a link to our online fundraiser to cover our vet bills. Even if you are unable to give at this time, please still go to the page to read some of our stories of second chances and please share this email with those that might be interested in helping out. Click the below link to read the stories.
Vet care online fundraiser 

Wishing you every happiness and prosperity in the New Year. Thank you for being on our team, we could never really convey how much we appreciate you. We look forward to continuing our relationship in the coming year.
All the best to you and your family,

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“HELP Humane – We are Run from the heart”

Every day, 365 days a year, we are bombarded with calls, walk ins and emails for help for animals. Many, many are from owners wanting to give up their own pets or an unwanted litter their own pet had, sadly enough. And still many more from people finding strays needing help. And many pleas from other shelters to take animals they are afraid will be killed, some for shear space. Of course, all the pleas hurt, they hurt because we hurt for those animals. People make threats about what they will do to the animals if we don’t take them. Sometimes they yell at us, threaten the animal or write nasty things to us in emails, and yes, that hurts also. If people would only stop and think that if we had unlimited space and financial resources, we would gladly take every single one of them. THAT is what would be easiest on us, not to say “sorry, we have no room and money is short”

Then there are the pleas that keep me from sleeping, the ones that make my eyes well with tears when they unexpectedly cross my mind again, the ones that haunt me so much that I wish I could pull the covers over my head and “check out” for a while. People tell me all the time, “you have to stop saving these true hard luck cases, our finances cannot take it”. Oh, and I say this to myself all the time also, but it usually doesn’t work. My head knows it, my heart can’t accept it. This helpless injured, sick or neglected animal cannot be rescued because there is no money?? How can this be the deciding factor as to who gets help and who doesn’t? How can we say “no, we cannot help because the funds are just not there to help” So, that puts HELP Humane in a place where we are asking for your help. We have really run up some VERY high  veterinary care bills rescuing the most neediest of needy homeless animals. If you can help in ANY way, we are in need because we helped these animals get their second chance, I would like to share some of their stories and you too could see how we couldn’t not help them, now we need your help……..

Wellington – http://wp.me/pgZWh-a6

Jacques – http://wp.me/pgZWh-aa

Professor – http://wp.me/pgZWh-af

Dion – http://wp.me/sgZWh-dion

Brielle – http://wp.me/pgZWh-aA

Shadow Gray – http://wp.me/pgZWh-aE

Astrid and baby – http://wp.me/pgZWh-aR

If any of these stories touch you and you would like to make a donation to their care, please visit www.helphumane.org and click on the make a donation link. We cannot thank you enough for helping us to care for these precious deserving animals. We know together we can continue to help those that need us the most.

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Vivica made her presence known!

In November 2011, we saw a post asking for rescue of a very sick kitten at the KCMO animal control facility. We made contact with the facility and said we would take this little one into our care. A volunteer arrived that night and we looked at the kitten and she was not the one posted, however, we couldn’t send her back, so the volunteer promised to deliver the very sick one the following day.

My heart was just about broken thinking of this little girl staying one more night in this shelter but we waited until the following day. When I came into the shelter the next day, I looked behind the counter to see this:

Get well Vivica

I burst into tears. A good supporter had brought this in for the arrival of Vivica, after fretting all night about her, it just brought me to tears that this person felt the need to worry about her also. Anyway, shortly thereafter, she arrived, extremely pitiful looking, in fact, hard to look at but even through her so sick eyes, you could see fight in there!

Vivica kitten 11

So tiny and so so sick! An amazing foster home had stepped up to foster her and get her well so she could up for adoption. She also agreed to foster the unexpected arrival the night before. This foster family worked so hard at getting this little gem well, it seemed to take forever. So many meds and getting her to eat etc etc. Finally she was well and ready to be spayed and go up for adoption. We were shocked when she went in to be spayed and tested, she came back Feline Leukemia positive 😦 We retested just to make sure and there was no doubt! We were all feeling punched in the gut and it also left us wondering, how in the hell did she get well? A kitten with Feline Leukemia and that sick recovering is nearly unheard of. I remember thinking to myself, “this little girl is one bada** kitten” She just wasnt going down without a fight.  Here she is after being spayed and going up for adoption

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A new plan had to be made with Ms Vivica now knowing she was FeLV+, she would go to live in our FeLV cottage. But while waiting to get her moved in there, our amazing FeLV+ foster family stepped up and said they would bring her into their home. We were all ecstatic! Because its next to impossible to find a FeLV+ kitty a home but they don’t deserve to die just because they wont have a normal kitty lifespan, we couldn’t have been happier that this little girl would live in a home with a family.

Just a bit over a month or so ago, her eye began to swell and we thought it was just an eye infection. When the swelling seemed to keep going even with medical intervention, she saw a specialist and she was diagnosed with a rapid growing cancerous growth. In the last few weeks, her adoring foster family tended to all her needs and we searched for a treatment that might slow it down or stop it to no avail. Most of this time, this little bada** was not going down without a fight and fight she did. She maintained her weight, kept giving her foster family the look of “why so worried, can’t you see there are birds to watch outside and things to get into?”. Our veterinarian was just astounded at her, she said “usually with this cases, they feel as bad as the cancer is going” In other words, she should be going downhill as the growth was almost exploding, but she didn’t. Until her very last day, she enjoyed everything a kitty enjoys in life and with gusto. On Sunday, February 3, she could no longer fight and her foster family knew it was time to help her to cross to The Bridge.

We can’t imagine what the Bridge is like now with Vivica’s arrival. We are sure she is causing a stir there and there are probably others saying “wow, what in the heck is the newbie up to?”. We are happy she is no longer suffering and also happy that she didn’t appear to really be ill, despite her appearance, until her last day. Thank you to all of you that loved and cared for this ornery little girl who carved a place in anyone’s heart that crossed her path. Larsons, thank you for getting her well enough to live a year after we rescued her, thank you Verrinders for loving her like she deserved and sharing her antics with us and Dr. Smith for trying so hard to save her and Dr Bradley for putting her to peace on a weekend evening. Godspeed Ms Vivica, thank you for crossing our path and making us smile so many times, you have lots to explore in your new place, I know you are already into things you are not supposed to ……….

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Princess Arianna…..

It’s taken me a bit to get to a place where I could write this Princess’ tribute. It was June 2, 2012 around 1pm that Princess Arianna left her earthly body for The Bridge. I will miss her so.

Arianna was brought to HELP Humane as a 3 week old kitten needing to be bottlefed. Anyone that has bottlefed knows that a single bottle fed kitten is a total brat. Because they don’t grow up with siblings, they don’t really learn how to “be good”. They believe it should be their way or no way. I looked at the crossed eyes of this little charmer and I was in. Now, I have to say that I am the worst bottle feeder there is because I just panic when they don’t eat well and that is not a good energy to send when a baby is needing a mama to comfort them. But how could I say no to this?

So, her and I survived her bottle feeding and she went to a home shortly after appropriate weight for spaying. There were a couple of times in her 5 years out on adoption, her family called saying that she was a biter and they were going to bring her back but they never followed through. (ALOT of single bottle babies are biters)  In February 2011, they did return her, but not for the biting but because she had some bad potty habits.

After her return, we tested her (again, we always test all our cats for Feline Leukemia and FIV when they come in), she tested Feline Leukemia positive (she was NOT when she went out on adoption). We felt like we had been punched in the stomach. Sometime while out in her home she was exposed to and contracted Feline Leukemia.  This would mean a shorter lifespan for this Princess. After discussing her return with the family, we found out that their vet was pretty incompetent and never even did checks for urinary tract infections. So, off to the vet where we found out that she had all sorts of issues with her booty. *sigh*

We have an awesome foster family that adopted a Feline Leukemia positive cat from us a few years back and fosters them for us also. This family decided to foster the Princess. She was never really a big fan of other cats as she really thought she should have a queendom of her own. So, she made her place in the bedroom of the youngest in her foster family. Arianna would watch over her at night sleeping above her head.

About eight months ago, our vet did a procedure on Arianna’s booty that corrected most of her issues with her booty and she was so happy not to be missed with every day in that area 🙂 and life was good.

Earlier this year, her foster family began noticing her not wanting to eat and their fears were confirmed when visiting our vet with the weight loss. Tests were done and meds were started but our Princess Arianna likely had lymphoma which would take her life. Many Feline Leukemia positive cats end up with lymphoma 😦

So Princess Arianna spent her last couple months training a new Princess. Princess Pammy. Princess Pammy was brought into a local Animal Control Shelter with an injured eye. We pulled the kitten into our shelter and got the injured eye removed and then found out she was also Feline Leukemia positive. The young daughter in our above foster home always wanted to foster a kitten, but since they had to be Feline Leukemia positive, she hadn’t gotten the chance at that. Well, this time she did, in fact, this awesome family took on 2 kittens that were positive.

Princess Arianna trained Princess Pammy to take over the throne when her time was up and Princess Pammy was like glue to Princess Arianna. Foster family went on vacation right before it was Arianna’s time, but she apparently decided to wait for them to return before she was leaving. In her last few days, she had given up eating and on the morning of June 2, foster family wasnt even sure she was still “there”, her eyes were glazed and she just looked past everyone. She was telling them it was her time.

So, foster family surrounded her with love as she left us behind. Even foster daughter was there for her Princess and it was her first time being there while putting an animal to peace. Her passing was peaceful and full of love. Princess Arianna went on to her next queendom and left us behind in tears. We are not sure that she received much kindness in her lifetime between the times we had her but we know she knew it the first and last part of her life. I am quite sure that as Princess Pammy took over her crown that Princess Arianna was proud of her own work. And we also believe that she still watches over her little human Princess at night. Godspeed Princess Arianna……….

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What a ride, even if you didn’t!

Saturday, June 2, 2012 was our first “2 Wheels 4 Paws” Charity motorcycle ride for our shelter. It had been in planning for right at 6 months. I had always wanted to do this type of fundraiser but not being a “biker” person, it just wasnt happening. Then Diana (her and her husband David love riding) decided to take on the challenge, and boy what an amazing job she did!  Thank you Diana for stepping up to the plate and hitting it out of the park!

Now, anyone that knows me knows that I am a big ball of emotions most of the time but it’s just me 🙂 I always love seeing the big biker convoys all riding for a cause. There is something about seeing that that brings a lump to my throat. Well, it was definitely more than a lump with our ride!

The craziness of planning a big fundraiser is full of ups and downs and adrenaline, and the closer you get the more things go wrong and the knot in your stomach gets tighter. Up until about the last week prior to the ride, we really didn’t have a lot of riders that had signed up. We learned some lessons as in all 1st time fundraisers and we didn’t get the word out enough that people needed to pre register for the event (the registration included catered food and we obviously didn’t want to order more food than we needed and the caterer needed notice.

Jump to June 2, 11am and there are 43 bikers lined up to leave Rawhide Harley in Olathe for a 80 mile (a long scenic route) trek to the shelter. Yes, 43!! I was at the shelter getting ready and set up there, so Nicki filmed them leaving there and I was going to film their arrival. When the riders were 2 miles out, we all awaited alongside the road they would pull in on at the shelter. My heart was racing and my eyes were welling. It was such an amazing and heartwarming sight to watch these 40+ bikers pulling in to the cheers of us “non bikers” waiting at the shelter. Each rider chose a HELP Humane resident to “ride for” and tied a picture onto their bikes showing who they were riding for. Could there BE anything cooler?!

So, I wept as they pulled in trying to film it and clap and yell at the same time. I will attach the link to the video at the end of this blog. Animals don’t get choices in their lives, some end up with fantastic lives, others barely get to live at all and still others never even know love. There was something powerful about all these people in their tough guy/gal garb thundering down the highway together to help homeless animals. Most of the riders wanted to meet the animal they rode for, how special is that?  

So, I dabbed my tears and watched them get off their bikes and just savored the moment of awesome people helping awesome animals. A few minutes later, I gave Diana a big hug saying “awesome job”. What an incredible event, can’t wait until our 2nd annual ride!

Thank you to all of you that rode, our fantastic sponsors, those that donated raffle items. all the volunteers that helped it go incredibly smooth all day, the non riders that joined us for the after party, Scratched Vinyl, the band that performed during the after party for free(!), Tracy who designed our adorable logo for the ride, Lisa who donated the sponsor banner, if I left you out, it was certainly not intended, I plan to send personal thank yous to everyone. It was a day that will live in my memory, even though my brain is overflowing most of the time, there will always be this special memory there. Thank you to all that helped create it for our babies, you are all ROCK STARS!!

Enjoy the videos! From them leaving Rawhide Harley in Olathe and then arriving at the shelter, there are 2 different links to the videos 🙂 departing video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9V2cEc7SoE  and arriving video   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8DWXwrGpn4&feature=relmfu

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No man left behind………

Around this time in 2011, we were rescuing several seniors and sick kitties from a high kill shelter that was so out of control that I really hate even replaying all the wrongs being done to animals at that time. (Since then, things have done a 180 with a new group taking over, thank goodness) Without a ton of resources, we just rescued those that appeared to need us the most and prayed for the others still there.

There were 3 seniors that had been dumped by their family during this time into this shelter. At the time of the original pull of kitties from the shelter, we only knew there were two, and we pulled them at the same time. Then a couple days later, we learn that a third kitty was in this family. Well, we couldnt leave the third family member behind, so we went back to rescue him also.

All three of these seniors had many health issues, it was clear their family hadnt given them much veterinary care. Or maybe that was the reason they were dumped, because they needed too much veterinary care? No one will ever know. Jazzy was hyperthyroid and in kidney disease, she was taken into what we call our hospice foster home. Now, believe me when I say, in this case, “hospice” doesnt mean imminent death, it just means that they need lots of care with medical issues that are lifetime. Here’s gorgeous Jazzy

Hemingway was another mess, he looked horrible and was very depressed. We ran all sorts of tests on him but every time it was just a high white blood cell count pointing to infection and antibiotics would help but never get it back to normal.

And then there was Oliver! (the one we went back for after finding out he was also a part of this family of three that had been dumped)  No front claws, horribly skinny and always starving (and quacking) for food. As we begin the medical care on Oliver, his issues are many. Oliver’s big issues were kidney disease, high blood pressure and the worst, a bad heart 😦 After seeing a cardiologist, we find out that his heart has a blocked valve and they tell us that we could just find him “gone” at any time.  We were all so saddened but at the same time, we were so happy to be able to pull this guy into our shelter/sanctuary where he could live out his life; he wouldnt die in a cold shelter, sick and alone. Check out this handsome boy!

So we then decided to reunite these boys after a couple months apart, check out what happened.

An amazing couple emailed inquiring on several kitties and specifically wanting to give a special needs kitty a family. They came in to visit many and Hemingway (now Miller) stole their hearts but they had just lost a special kitty and were only looking for one and Oliver had so many needs. So after some careful thought, we sent Hemingway home with this family. I thought long and hard about this, but just couldnt justify keeping Hemingway here when we didnt even know how long Oliver would even been around. By this time, Oliver had also lost his sight, totally blind. When Hemingway went home, we moved Oliver to a cage behind the counter where we could watch over him closely and give him lots of love.

Over this past weekend, we got a call from Hemingway (Miller’s) adopter inquiring about Oliver; was he still here and how was his health? We gave them a rundown of all that was going on with Oliver and on Sunday, here comes that adopter to visit with Oliver again. To now cut to the chase, they ADOPTED Oliver! A kitty with so many health issues and truly they could lose him at anytime, but they were willing to give him a family, for whatever time that is!

In a throwaway society with more homeless cats then people looking for one, this is a seriously special family! The adopter called when she got home to verify one of the meds and she said Oliver was safe in a cage to rest and would soon be reuniting again with Hemingway!! I thanked her with tears running down my face for giving these special boys the family they deserved and more importantly for her selflessness. She said she just didnt stop thinking about the saying ‘No man left behind” and she just had to come back for Oliver (medical mess or not!) and they did! Oliver was a case of being “no man left behind” more than once….when we found out he was part of the family of three dumped at that shelter and went back for him and now. After hanging up the phone, I looked over at his empty cage already cleaned out and felt my breath taken away for a second. I had always thought that when I saw that cage empty again, it would be when Oliver passed away, my breath returned and a smile through tears knowing that was not the case at all. He was in a family again, his last family and soon to be reunited again with his brother.  Some things are just more than we can ask for………… may you have many more years Oliver, you have been through so much, time to unpack those bags!

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Ferals, we love ’em

Once a month, the Heartland SPCA holds a feral cat clinic. What this means is on the designated Sunday, their clinic is totally devoted to speutering feral and free roaming cats at a reduced rate. Everyone volunteers their time, from the trappers, to the vets, to the recovery room etc etc. It’s really an amazing operation where they are really committed to holding the stress level to as low as can be in this type of situation. They truly care about these feral cats, which is very important to us. We LOVE feral cats and we know how important it is to get them speutered to stop the breeding and influx of kittens into shelters and giving these feral cats a much better life without the constant “need to breed”

This past weekend was a feral cat “weekend” as we call it at HELP because we usually start at least on Friday night and go again on Saturday and transport to the clinic and pick up on Sunday, so it really is an entire weekend of helping ferals.

I prefer to not go into much detail but we used to have two outdoor ferals at the shelter that had gotten pretty tame with all the cat lovers visiting the shelter. Their safety was threatened so we brought them inside the shelter. The area we are located at is really a depressed part of town and cats are abandoned all the time but we have really managed to stay on top of it for more than 5 years. When we brought Freddie and Hobo in, we created what they call the “vacuum effect”. More ferals moved in, in fact, an entire family did, yikes!!

Freddie and Hobo 🙂 matching ear tips

So Friday night we trapped at the shelter outside. We had it set up to start at 7pm, however, the kitties arrived early, so we set out traps quickly. We pull the dry food that is always out there for them and Shannon and I almost cried because one of the younger male tabbies in the family actually came up and looked in the door like “I’m hungry and our bowls of food are not here”. They are fairly used to people being around, although you can only get so close and they are “outta here”. So I watched from outside and the other brother got trapped first. We covered him with a sheet, always do this, it calms them. The old “I can’t see her, so that means she can’t see me”. Matt, a new TNR volunteer showed just before 7pm and Kathy (the expert drop trapper) arrived shortly thereafter and Kathy was drop trapping like crazy, and Matt was helping and even Reese joined in, he was carrying them to the holding area once they were transferred from the drop trap to a regular one. They even got two in one!!! Now that is not an easy feat! The traffic stopped flowing and we had 6 with it looking like only one more left without an eartip, yikes!! More than I thought we had here! We packed up for the night.

On Saturday, Kathy and I met at a local restaurant that we had been hearing about for a couple of months and trying to get there. We finally made it on Saturday. I pulled in first and there were 10 cats right there staring at me! I started pulling up the food, it was crazy, besides the normal dry cat food, there were entire fish there, obviously to be thrown out but were given to the cats. I walked over to a couple of people dumping trash and told them what we would be doing. They were really excited we were there and going to help! Now, THAT is the way we LOVE it. I explained what we would be doing and then began to set traps. The mgmt came back out later and verified that we would be just speutering the cats and bringing them back, apparently a few of the employees were worried we were going to kill them. Verifying we were bringing them back, yup, we LOVE working these places where they truly care about the cats, they just really have no clue what to do!

It was obvious that these kitties knew that when someone came up to this area, it usually meant fresh food, they were not running from us, well, until we drop trapped the first one. It always scares them off, so we try to move fast to transfer them to the normal traps and get them covered and into the vehicle and set up again. Within just a couple of hours, we had 8 and we know there are at least 6 more there, but we were already two over our alloted appts and we don’t like to take advantage of the awesome clinic. Anyway, we were down to seeing only a couple and a big male came, ate, drank some water, ate some more (he was only barely walking into the traps and getting the lead in bait), then he looked at us, sprayed the trap and left, how rude!!! We pulled up for the night but we WILL be back to finish the colony, if you don’t, you can be right back where you started in a heartbeat!

I traveled over early to the clinic and had an awesome surprise waiting, one of our supporters was there waiting to help me unload all these traps! (I am getting way too old to drag in 14 traps, ugh, hate that!) So Anne (and an anonymous man) carried in traps as I unloaded the car. Anne also stuck around and helped me get all the traps marked and checked in. Both these colonies had similar looking kitties so we had to take care in making sure they are returned to their correct home!

Packed full vehicle (and kind of smelly, boy urine, ack!

Tara and Tiena offered to transport the kitties back from the clinic after all were speutered and vaccinated along with given worming and flea treatments (all for $25/each!!) We are very grateful to Heartland SPCA for providing such a needed service! Got them all settled in for overnight recovery, everyone got canned food in a bowl with some water slid into their trap. Tomorrow the boys will be released and the girls will recover another day to make sure they are doing well before release (spaying (girls) is a much more invasive surgery then neutering (boys)). And the results are 4 boys and 2 girls from the shelter. 4 boys and 4 girls from the restaurant! That is 14 cats taken out of the breeding pool this past weekend along with them given a much better life, that rocks!!

Will try to remember to snap a couple of pictures as we are releasing (hard to remember) releasing is my fave part!! I love to watch their faces as they realize I am letting them go, love it!!  So, thanks to Kathy (drop trap queen), Matt (new TNR volunteer), Reese, Anne, Natalie and Anonymous for donating towards the cost, Heartland SPCA, the awesome restaurant employees that care about the ferals, Tara and Tiena and all of the amazing volunteers and vets that make this monthly clinic a reality!

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Who rescues who?

The last couple weeks have been super busy! A lot of the busyness was adoptions and people bringing in supply donations, yay! We couldnt be more grateful. A couple times in the last few weeks, I could feel my eyes welling in tears with the supplies coming in and people looking like Santa Claws 🙂 coming through the door with stuff for our babies. Its not easy sometimes begging for paper towels and canned kitty food, wondering where the rent money is going to come from, so seeing this helps to remind us that there are people that truly care about our babies and want to help them.

I thought this would also be a great time to share with you some animal’s stories from the last few weeks. Those that we have helped, with YOUR help!

Buckaroo is an FIV+ cat that had struggled with a bad ear infection that wasnt getting better. Once some of the debris was cleared from his ear, the vet could see that there was a “mass” down in the ear. She had to open below his ear on the side of his head and removed a polyp. I couldnt believe the size of it! The same day he had surgery, he was rubbing his head on the side of the cage, the one that just had surgery! Yikes! But the pain was already so much less with that nasty thing out of there that even though he had just had surgery, he felt so much better!

Belle and Oskar lost their home of 14 years, who would give these darlings a second chance? We did! Today they were tested (both negative for the biggies) and got current on vaccinations and over the weekend, one of our great volunteers finally got them all brushed out and their matts removed. Now, we just need to find them a home to live their senior years in, they truly are AWESOME cats!

Burly came to us as a “faint” FeLV+ cat found outside with no claws. He appeared to have some difficulty breathing, so on Thanksgiving, he and I spent the day at the emergency vet. He was anemic and DIABETIC! We began insulin but his breathing got worse and we found that his anemia was getting worse instead of better! After some consulting, the vets decided to put him on a med and within 48 hours, his red blood cells began to rebuild and his anemia was gone and he began to breathe normally. He slept for 2 wks, I swear, after coming into the shelter, he was just exhausted from being on the streets with no claws and trying to find a meal. We are so happy to report that after retesting he is NOT FeLV+. Never trust just one positive test, they CAN be wrong, this has happened more then a handful of times with us! It also appears that he may revert from being diabetic, this can happen with Lantus insulin with cats. So we have to check his glucose often because he is needing less and less 🙂

Nakita is a super shy kitty, in her own environment she is friendly but never really approaches those she doesnt know. We monitor the weights of the kitties at the shelter every month, this way we can tell if a weight loss is happening and can indicate a health issue, kitties are so good at hiding them. Nakita had lost weight and her teeth were needing a cleaning and she had some gingivitis, so we thought that might be doing it, but she only ate a bit better after the dental. Nothing showing in bloodwork or xrays. Off to see the specialist who did an ultrasound, still nothing. He suggested doing a scope which she had the following day and there it was, she had IBD, so much inflammation in her digestive system. We have a treatment set up for her now and hopefully things will be better for her.

Nermal was found to be FIV+ by the finder of this boy, the finders called animal control to pick him up because they were terrified of the disease (no reason to be terrified of it) We heard about this and ran to the AC shelter to get him knowing his FIV status was a death sentence there. Poor thing has cauliflower ears from some sort of trauma or disease but what a sweetheart! One of our awesome volunteers was spending some time with him and said he had horrible breath. A peek inside his mouth, yikes!! Ugly in there! Yesterday he had a dental and many extractions, horrible infected teeth and gums and rotted teeth 😦 Just visited him and wow, he is already a much brighter boy having all that nastiness removed from his mouth!

Isis was also dumped outside the shelter and they “hid” her behind something so we are not sure how long she was there before someone noticed her and came into the shelter to tell us. We felt so bad for her, funny how bad we felt, how bad did the “dumper” feel? Anyway, she appears to be at least 10 years old and VERY thin. We are having a difficult time getting her to eat. She went for bloodwork and it all looks good, so that is hopeful, but we really need to get her to eat. We have tried everything. We refuse to let her give up, we are going to pull her through this and bring back her will to live. Good thoughts for this darling please!

Then there are the puppies (poopies as we lovingly call them because that seems one of their main jobs!). Three little crazy adorable 12 week small breed puppies we just got in from foster care. They were speutered this week and ready to go home. They are so adorable playing and wrestling and “play growling”, how can you watch them and not have your heart filled with joy!?

I still have lots of stories to share but really need to get back to caring for all these babies and many more 🙂 We truly love what we do, even though sometimes its so gutwrenching to watch what these animals have been through. However, we try and focus on them now getting help from us, such a privledge to care for these animals. I cant describe the feeling inside when they look up at you and you can see that trust developing and the gratitude they feel. What is that saying “We think we rescue them, when in fact, they rescue us”! Thank you for all you do to help us to help them, we cant do it without you!

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