or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › The Cat Lounge › Dorothy and the shelter -- I don't know what's happening, please help?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Dorothy and the shelter -- I don't know what's happening, please help?

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
Dorothy has been at the shelter where I volunteer for about three weeks now. The first day she was on the floor, a woman wanted to adopt her. and they put her name and number on Dorothy's paperwork -- but they wouldn't let her have Dorothy until they spayed her (she was found to be already spayed), and by the time she'd been kept in for that, she'd caught a URI, so then they said they had to keep her until she finished her medicine. Okay -- the lady said she'd wait, because she really wanted Dorothy.

Then someone said they thought Dorothy had a leg injury, so they sent her to be X-rayed last week. I was there the next day and was told by a senior vet tech that no injury had been found. (I'd never seen any problem, either -- when she was living in my neighborhood, she ran, she jumped, she climbed all over the roofs... she seemed fine.)

Today, I had a nice conversation by phone with S.F., the woman who wants to adopt Dorothy, who said she'd been at the shelter to visit her earlier today and was told that E.M., a volunteer and former member of the board of directors of the shelter, had taken Dorothy home to foster until she finished her medicine. This made some sense -- she's more likely to shake the URI if she's outside the shelter environment, where it runs rampant. (However, I had put a note on her paperwork that if she needed to be fostered, I would be happy to do it.) Anyway, S.F. and I agreed that when they give her the call to come get Dorothy, she'll call me and I'll meet her there and bring some toys and a brush that are Dorothy's, and also some of the food Dorothy is used to (which I've been smuggling in to her every other day).

An hour later, S.F. calls to say that someone from the shelter called her and said that they'd discovered an old injury that was going to require surgery, Dorothy was going to stay in foster for now, and S.F. should just look for another cat!

She was very upset, because she's very committed to Dorothy... and we're both mystified, because I had been told there was no injury -- certainly not one requiring surgery!

So I have a couple of theories:

1. E.M. may have decided that she, or someone she knows, wants Dorothy, and they're putting off S.F. to get her to relinquish her claim. E.M. is a very powerful figure at the shelter, and what she wants, she gets. Dorothy is a very desirable cat -- part Siamese, blue-eyed, declawed, very sweet and loving... E.M. may just be manipulating the situation.

2. Someone may simply have told me wrong the other day, and the injury may be real. In that case, though, why would they tell S.F. to look for another cat? She's perfectly willing to wait for Dorothy! The only reason I can think of that they would not be delighted for her to simply wait and adopt Dorothy after her surgery is if there isn't going to be any surgery -- if they don't intend to spend the money and plan to just put her to sleep instead!

This terrifies me. I'm going to be over there first thing in the morning to get to the bottom of this, but I'm really scared, since Dorothy isn't on the premises anymore -- I can't just grab her and run, y'know?

If it's a matter of money for the surgery, S.F. may even be willing to pay for that -- she's an attorney and money doesn't seem to be an issue. But she said she's had a very hard time getting anyone to talk to her, to give her any answers... which is everyone's experience at the shelter, including my own. The place is chaotic and the people are rushed and evasive.

Is there something I'm missing here, some other idea you can suggest? I'm scared to death that they may be about to euthanize this wonderful cat, and I may not be able to stop them! Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm paranoid... but severe illness and extreme aggression are the only reasons why they will occasionally euthanize there.

As much as I don't like E.M., I would far rather she be "stealing" Dorothy for herself or some friend, of course, rather than my other theory. But... is there any other possibility that comes to mind? Please help me think this through if you can... I'm just lost here.
post #2 of 51
I think I'd be for going to confront them in person and getting to the bottom of things face to face. Sounds like someone is playing some kind of game with this cat's life, and someone else needs to call them on it.
post #3 of 51
That all sounds fishy to me too.

Call the shelter tomorrow and ask what is going on and why there have been so many stories and rumours going around about Dorothy's health.

Tell them that since you looked after her for weeks and really came to care about her, that you are concerned that suddenly she has all of these health issues, especially some injury that requires surgery all of a sudden.
post #4 of 51
Do you think that they would rather put Dorothy to sleep than give her to someone who will love her? That sounds fishy to me. I really hope that is not the case. I can't imagine animal shelters doing that. Don't get me wrong, I don't know anything about animal shelters except that my two wonderful babies spent way too much time there before I brought them home.
post #5 of 51
Sending you and Dorothy vibes. I hope you can find out what is happening to that sweet girl.
post #6 of 51
I hope you get to the bottom of whatever may be going on.Please keep us updated of the situation and good luck
post #7 of 51
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Samantha1979 View Post
Do you think that they would rather put Dorothy to sleep than give her to someone who will love her?
No, I can't imagine that, I really can't! But there's just no logic in the various tales that are being told, and I'm at a loss to explain any of it, so I'm thinking outrageous things, I guess. I mean... they adopt out FIV and FeLV kitties, with full disclosure, of course... surely this would be handled similarly, wouldn't it?

I've been trying to think how to approach this, and I think I'm just going to walk in and track down the director herself. If I can get a few minutes of her time, I'll explain the whole story, why I'm so confused and concerned... and just ask her to help me find out (a) what Dorothy's real condition is, (b) what, if anything, needs to be done for her, (c) whether S.F. can still adopt her, and (d) if not, why not.

I'm scared to death of doing this, because the attitude toward volunteers up there is leave it to the professionals, don't question what we do, stay out of our way, etc. And I know I'm viewed lately as a meddler and a nuisance. And I know I signed Dorothy over to them, relinquished any rights I had regarding her welfare. But if they can't understand why she still matters to me, why I still feel responsible for her, then they're in the wrong line of work in the first place!

So I can't let them intimidate me. I have to go in there with an absolute conviction that I have a right to the answers I'm asking for. I know I seem all confident here on TCS, when I pontificate about ethical issues and so forth... but in person, I'm a great big shivering coward, and this kind of confrontation scares me silly.

I'm having chest pains just anticipating it.
post #8 of 51
Good luck. I know you will make it all better and figure out what is going on. When you are in there remember how many people on here support you, and believe in you. Think of all of us just standing behind you going, "Yeah!" . Don't let them intimidate you. What's the worst that they can do to you? Not really much!
post #9 of 51
I don't really know what to say but to tell you that I am thinking about Dorothy and you as well. I hope everything turns out ok and that S.F. gets to get Dorothy like she wants!
post #10 of 51
we'll be thinking of you in the morning, hoping you get to the bottom of this!
post #11 of 51
Something isn't right, I can smell it from here...

I think your idea of going to talk to the director in person is the way to go. Don't worry if they think you are meddling! Who cares... I know you will do it for Dorothy.

Sending good vibes and prayers for that little sweetheart, and for you (also a sweetheart).

Keep us posted, you have the power of TCS behind you!
post #12 of 51
You've got too much invested in Dorothy, not just time but your emotions. Talk to the director and explain your history with Dorothy then share your concerns as you shared them with us. She's gotta see that you care deeply about the welfare of this girl!

post #13 of 51
Thread Starter 
You guys are so great... I can't tell you how much your posts mean to me. Hugs to every last one of you good people.
post #14 of 51
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
You guys are so great... I can't tell you how much your posts mean to me. Hugs to every last one of you good people.
Remember we are with you in spirit every step of the way. Dorothy is such a sweet thing and we have all fallen in love with her.
post #15 of 51
I'd gladly come & make them tell me what's up with Dorothy for you!

Just think about that sweet face if you get nervous... I know you can do it!
post #16 of 51
You are not a coward for being afraid to face them.. I usually am afraid to get into confrontations like that, but I've learned how to disguise my fear under confidence with a touch of arrogance. That usually gets me answers, at least.

You'd be cowardly if you were sitting around, determined to NOT face them and to let things go. You'd be a coward if you were making excuses for the fishy, dishonest behavior and hoping things would turn out all right. Trust me, I know what being a coward is--I've been one quite a lot lately.

You're being very brave here.. and I know you can continue to do so. Loving her will be what can keep you going.. just remember her face when someone tries to intimidate you.

Good luck!!!
post #17 of 51
I think going to the director is the best thing too. You have every right to find out what, if anything, is wrong with a creature you love. I'm willing to bet someone else fell in love with her, and they're trying to encourage the other woman to find another cat. Putting an animal to sleep because it needs surgery, without giving the person who wants to adopt her the option of footing the cost doesn't make sense. And, if she finds a good home with someone else, that's great! But, they should be straight with everyone, including you.

I'm like you. I'm usually a jellyfish when it comes to confrontation and getting answers. But, I'm getting a backbone when it comes to my babies. All you need to do is think about Dorothy when you ask. Maybe you'll ruffle a few feathers, but it's not like they can fire you, right? Good luck, and let us know what they say.
post #18 of 51
I am sending you hugs and prayers from Mississippi for you to get the courage that you need.

Do not be afraid of these people, you have to do what you think is the right thing for Dorothy. Somebody has to be able to speak for her.

Please keep us updated on this, I really hope that everything works out.

post #19 of 51
I agree... none of this sounds kosher at all.

Thinking of you and Dorothy this morning! I hope everything goes very well.

post #20 of 51
Something definately sounds fishy and Dorothy needs an advocate. i am glad she has you. Good luck on your hunt to find the truth. Sending vibes your way from Toronto.
post #21 of 51
I've been trying to think how to approach this, and I think I'm just going to walk in and track down the director herself. If I can get a few minutes of her time, I'll explain the whole story, why I'm so confused and concerned... and just ask her to help me find out (a) what Dorothy's real condition is, (b) what, if anything, needs to be done for her, (c) whether S.F. can still adopt her, and (d) if not, why not.

This really sounds like the best thing to do. The whole situation sounds a bit weird. I'm hoping that they just have promised Dorothy to someone else and aren't planning anything bad. Of course, that doesn't help the poor woman who has been waiting for her.

Lots of vibes for you and Dorothy. Please let us know what you find out.

post #22 of 51
I am hoping that you find out only good things today! Please let us know!
post #23 of 51
Yes it doesnt sound right I hope you find out something. Even if you volenteer you still have the right to know.
post #24 of 51
You said S.F. is an attorney. Is this director aware of that? Maybe it should be stressed to her that the shelter promised her Dorothy, and she just might be able to make things very uncomfortable for the shelter if they renege.
post #25 of 51
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
You said S.F. is an attorney. Is this director aware of that? Maybe it should be stressed to her that the shelter promised her Dorothy, and she just might be able to make things very uncomfortable for the shelter if they renege.
that is a good idea.
post #26 of 51
Thread Starter 
Update: I hardly slept last night, and I showed up at the shelter 'way early -- the director wasn't even there yet. So I helped with the morning chores in the kitten room, snuggled a bunch of kittens, and hummed Brahms' Lullabye over and over to soothe a very upset tortie who had just been separated from her two babies, bless her heart. The music really seemed to help calm her!

Then one of my favorite staff people stopped into the kitten room, C.S., a lovely woman who has always been kind to me. She isn't used to seeing me at that hour, so she asked what was up... and I decided to tell her all about it. She said that she knew E.M. was a pain to get along with, but if it made me feel any better, she'd known the woman for years and had absolute confidence that she was great with the animals -- just not with people. She said I could rest assured that Dorothy was in a good environment, which was great to hear. Then she said she would see what she could find out for me.

Ten minutes later, she came back and said that E.M. had taken Dorothy home to observe her and see if the limp that had occasioned the X-ray was something that came and went, how severe it was, etc. She said the person who knew the whole story was the operations director, J.B., and that's who I should talk to.

So I took a deep breath and went to introduce myself to J.B. She was extremely reluctant to talk to me, had the same evasive attitude that most of the staff have... it was all I could do to get her to talk to me at all, and she wouldn't sit down or even put down her bags. This did not bode well.

I explained the whole story as concisely as I could and asked whether something was really wrong with Dorothy, and why S.F. was being told she should look for another cat.

She said they didn't yet know whether Dorothy will need surgery or physical therapy or what, and she could be unavailable for months, so they had told S.F. to find another cat "for her own sake." I said that it appeared S.F. was willing to wait at least for a diagnosis... and she said, "Y'know, we have another Siamese back there. It's not declawed, but if she wants Siamese, we've got one."

I pointed out that S.F. had laid claim to Dorothy on her very first day on the floor, and I was about to tell her that S.F. does need a declawed kitty, because she has another declawed cat that she rescued from its previous owner... but I never got that said. J.B. went on about how there's no legal claim in putting your phone number on the paperwork, etc., and I readily agreed with that, I told her I'm not trying to appeal on the basis of any legal claim, it's just that this woman has been visiting Dorothy and establishing a relationship, and now all of a sudden she's told she can't have her, and I'm just trying to find out why.

I was being polite, but relentless, y'know? And J.B. didn't like that a bit... she was beginning to border on hostility at this point. She seemed to lose patience with me and finally just said, "We used to do that, adopt out animals that still needed medicine or something, but it ended up costing us money, because people would come back and say 'You gave me damaged goods, I don't want a sick cat,' or a lame cat, or whatever, and we'd end up going through the whole process again, so we don't do it anymore, that's policy, and that's final."

I said, "But surely when you did that, it was with full disclosure, right? Why would people come back if they understood from the beginning?" This stopped her for a moment, and I suspect that's the crux of the issue -- they may not have done a good enough job of informing adopters of exactly what they were getting into, just as they fail to inform fosters of the conditions of the animals they're taking in.

Anyway, I said this was a bright woman, an attorney, perfectly capable of understanding the facts and making an informed decision... so couldn't they let her have the opportunity to choose to handle whatever treatment Dorothy might need after adoption?

She said once treatment had begun under the shelter's vet, no other vet will take over, because of liability and insurance issues. That sounds absurd to me, but... I don't know, everything associated with insurance sounds absurd to me, so maybe it's true.

Anyway, now we were down to the sticking point. I said, "Okay -- once they determine what treatment Dorothy needs, couldn't they let S.F. have the option of adopting her and seeking that treatment with her own vet from the start?"

She said, "She's not the only one who wants the cat, so it's not a foregone conclusion she'd get her anyway. You're just wanting me to say this woman can have the cat, and I'm not going to say that."

I said, "Well, no, all I want is to get her a fair chance. She chose Dorothy on the very first day, and I just don't see why she's being told to give up on Dorothy when we don't even know yet whether anything is wrong or not."

She rolled her eyes in frustration, and I was so embarrassed... everything in me wanted to back off and stop being a nuisance, y'know? But I stopped myself and remembered what you all told me, to think of what's best for Dorothy and be strong...

So I started to cry. Not much -- I just suddenly found myself teary-eyed, and I said, "I know I'm being pushy, but you have to understand, I found this kitty on the street and brought her into my yard, and she was happy there, she was such a happy kitty living back there. I know it was bad for her to be outside, but she was happy. And then I brought her here, and now she's had surgery, and she's been very sick, and she's been in a cage for almost a month, and now this injury, whatever it is... and I'm so afraid she'll lose her personality. She's so sweet and trusting, but all this trauma... I just want so much for her to be in a loving forever home as soon as we can get her there, and that's why I'm making such a fuss."

And amazingly, that seemed to reach her. Her face softened and she gave me her business card and said, "I'll find out what's up with her and see what I can do. I can't promise anything, and I'm out tomorrow and Thursday. But you can email me Friday and I'll let you know."

So I thanked her profusely and left feeling a little better... certainly it's clear that euthanasia was not under consideration, anyway. I called S.F. and gave her the report, and I asked if she would still want Dorothy if it turned out she needed surgery or physical therapy. She said yes, as long as she could handle it all through her own vet, because she lives downtown, a very long drive away.

So that's where it stands. I've got everything crossed for good news on Friday...
post #27 of 51
WAY TO GO!! I am so proud of you! I knew you could do it, and you did! I hope everything works out now for you and Dorothy!
post #28 of 51
Very proud of you dear. I know it was hard but you did find out something.
post #29 of 51
Good for you, Carol.

I still don't get all the secrecy behind this, but at least they seem like they are wanting to do the right thing now.

Keep on them!
post #30 of 51
Thread Starter 
OH OH OH OH OH! I can't believe it -- no sooner did I put up that post than S.F. called to tell me that the shelter called her and said she can come get Dorothy at 3:00 tomorrow!


She said they'd determined that there was no detectable injury to her leg, and they think now that the limp is due to the anesthetic injection into her hip when they tried to spay her (again). (That will go away, right?)

S.F. said, "I don't know what you said to them this morning, but you must have been very persuasive!"

Oh gosh, I'm so relieved. I'm running out now to get a crochet hook (can't find mine) so I can make Dorothy a special toy, and I'll go meet S.F. there tomorrow with that and some other little things that may help her... including a printout of the article here about introducing a new cat to an old one.

And of course I'll have to give Dorothy a goodbye snuggle at last. Bless her heart -- she really is a very special cat, and I'll miss her so.

Thank you all so much for your advice and moral support! I really think you made the difference for me... I might not have gotten through to that woman without what you guys told me. You're the greatest!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: The Cat Lounge
TheCatSite.com › Forums › General Forums › The Cat Lounge › Dorothy and the shelter -- I don't know what's happening, please help?