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Back in the rescue business

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi, fellow rescuers. Feeling almost human again after almost a year of intermittant illness, so I'm back on line. Just to touch base.

God in his wisdom only sent me several animals (two kittens and two dogs) during my illness -- although I am not counting the 20 puppies and the mother of 5 of them that I gave to the humane society. The two dogs were too young to send away, since they were still on milk, so the older dogs in my household took them on and babied them, letting them nurse nipples and belly skin that had no milk, but able to give full measure of grooming and loving attention. The two kittens were only on formula for a week, and were also taken over by the dogs. The special bond created by dogs and their adopted kittens is quite wonderful.

As I started to get well finally around March, I found I was adopting and rescuing as if some great door had been opened with the inscription on it -- Now you're well, you can get back to coping with a crowd.

Since February, in fact, there have been 4 puppies, one 9-month old male cat; two black kittens (not siblings), and a very special kitten who had a mangled foreleg, which we had to amputate. So now I am the bemused mom of a 3-legged cat. To trap her initially, I had to sit on top of the cat-carrier and meow plantively for almost an hour while the tiny little wild baby circled me and circled me, nearer and then farther and then nearer again. My own cats arrived (hearing my meows) and joined to effort, coming to sit with me, then going up to the kitten and touching noses, then coming back to sit with me, until this got boring for them and another cat would appear to help. Eventually little Bandit (as in one-armed bandits) came close enough that I could grap him -- awesome scratches. I got to practice what I preach about sitting still even if you are dripping with blood, and tend to the well-being of the cat first. You would think such a little one would't have such big claws... He is still afraid of people, but has accepted me finally as a surrogate mother type. He has not yet found favor in the dogs' eyes as an adoptee.

The more recent little black puppy was discovered by a student of mine -- the father and mother had been hit by a car as they crossed the a major highway. The father apparently died within minutes, but the mother lingered for about 3 days in 100 degree F weather in the shade. She ended up on the steps of a pizza parlor at the junction, and a trail of blood and gore showed where someone had dragged her out to the edge of a parking lot. Meanwhile the father's body was dumped together with rotting garbage from the various shops there. My student begged me to go to Netivot and help the puppy at least. When we got there, the mother was black with flies and gangrene and crawling with maggots. I tried to find someone to put her down, but was unsuccessful -- long story that includes Israeli laws about who can kill the dog depending on location, etc., with the final line that the required person was on vacation and no one else considered it their job. So I caught the puppy as it lay against its father's ghastly body trying to nurse on rotten flesh.

Ugh. Brought the little girl home, washed her six times, washed even her mouth out. She was totally terrified of humans (people had been throwing stones at her to get her to vacate the front of the shops), and was clearly reared in the wild by wild parents. 3 weeks later she still runs under funiture when I call her, but she is slowly beginning to trust me -- helped along by the inevitable surrogate mothers from my dog family, and some extra attention from several of the two-year old cats.

On top of that, I rescued two egret babies from cats (not mine-- these were also in Netivot), and gave away two pups from the fall adoptees. A slow year so far, but I couldn't have handled anything more.

Presently in my garden and tiny 3-room house I have 14 cats and 7 dogs.

Pray for peace...
post #2 of 5
Catherine, Illness or not, you have really been a guardian angel to these needy creatures! I am so glad little Bandit has a home. I was touched by your story of the kittens and the dog, because two of the kittens we rescued were raised by collies. It's a lovely thing to see. My heart aches for the mother dog who suffered so much, and the poor pup trying to get sustenance from its dead father. Thank God these animals have you to help them.

Your ripped up hands and arms are, indeed, your badge of honor. Thank you for the good heart you have and the good work you do. It's a pleasure to welcome you back.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Kind words, Jeanie, but I lay in bed most of the fall and winter fretting about all the animals I DIDN'T save. Stupid, I know, because there was no way I could have coped, The worst thing is that I was too ill to push to find adoptees for one pup, who has now grown so huge and so much a part of the household that she has become the 5th permanent dog.

And just when I was beginning to feel that I was being eaten out of house and home, anonymous neighbors have begun tying sacks of bread and left-over meat scraps to my gate. Someone who dumped a puppy or two into my garden at night? Or not a guilty conscience, but a recognition that they can do their bit in trying to save animals? Well, my household appreciates it. I try not to imagine that someone would offer poisoned food...

Meanwhile, I am bracing for the fall crop of youngsters. I plan to stay in shape this fall by going swimming as often as possible at the Seniors' Center, which is only a short drive away.

post #4 of 5
I am so excited that you are back again and feeling better. You are such a wonderful addition to The Cat Site!

What a story or horror and wonder that you shared. I didn't know whether to cry or smile, so I ended up doing both.

We are delighted to have you back again.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey, lotsocats...I missed reading your replies, too. I am trying to work my way backwards for the past 6 or 7 months -- so much wisdom and esoteric knowledge among the participants of the forums. In the meantime, I have picked up some gems from raw experience, too, so I look forward to interacting again on my favorite subject...furballs.
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