Monday, May 30, 2011

Dogs, Cats, Facebook, and LiveJournal...

In a nutshell, I still have Mandy (my foster dog), Gloria (the stray cat that gave birth to premature kittens that didn't make it), Coral (newly spayed feral mama cat), and Dory (feral kitten out of Coral).  On top of them, I have Jackson, Brody, Lyla - my three dogs - Clover, Cricket, Cali - my three cats - Baxter and Bella - my two ferrets - and the snake.  Honestly, the cats are all pretty easy.  The dogs keep me on my toes, though!
I'd like to discuss social networking; Facebook and LiveJournal in particular.  My most recent additions, the feral cats, had me fretting due to the lack of funds.  I literally had $12 in my bank account, and I just acquired two more cats - one of which needed to be spayed as soon as possible.  That's when I turned to ChipIn with the hopes of getting donations to help pay for fixing, vaccinations, and homing the feral cat/kittens until they're ready to be adopted out.  I posted the link of my Facebook with a plea for help from my friends.  Some of my friends were able to donate, and I can't begin to explain how grateful I am that they did.  How lucky am I to know people like that?
It was then that I turned to LiveJournal.  Since the arrival of Gloria, I've been posting a lot in there.  I've always gotten great advice from the other cat-loving LJ users.  I figured that I'd post my ChipIn there, too.  I honestly didn't expect ANYTHING.  Why should I expect complete strangers to donate money to something that they don't even know exists or not?  For all they know, I could be a quack stealing their money.  I'm not... but I could be.  The ironic part of it all?  The users from LJ ended up donating enough money to reach my ChipIn goal of $250 within a couple days.  Honestly, I'm floored.  It gives me hope that there are good people out there.  I'm always so hellbent on not having faith mankind anymore that I forget that there ARE good people out there.  Good enough people to donate hard earned money to a complete stranger.
So... this is for you, folks.  This is for all of the good people that are out there, that donate even $5 because it is going to a good cause, and even if they can't afford to help... but do anyway.  You all are good people, and I'm happy to have you in my life... even if we are miles away and have never met in person.  Sometimes I feel closer to those people than some people right here in my life.  I suppose that all I can really say is... thank you.
Peace, Love, and Paw Prints... Emily

Monday, May 23, 2011

“Celebrate endings – for they precede new beginnings.”

Two months after Candy and Mandy entered my life, I'm down to just Mandy.  Candy has officially been adopted.  I actually haven't seen her since before I left for a horse show on May 8th.  Her temporary foster (while I was gone) considered adopting her, but they decided against it.  Their neighbors, however, had apparently fallen head over heels with this sweet girl.  Can you blame them?!  So... when I returned to town... Mandy was returned... but Candy was not.

She was gone for weeks... but it didn't hit me until tonight... until she was officially adopted.  I'd say that it was about three-months-ago that I first laid eyes Candy and Mandy.  I'm not sure what was so appealing about them.  Maybe I'm just naturally attracted to black dogs since all of my critters seem to be dark-colored?  But they were black... and Pit mixes... and the underdogs.  I always fall for the underdogs.

K9 Justice League had enough fosters to bring a few puppies back from a kill shelter in North Carolina.  These puppies were a couple days shy of being euthanized.  There were not enough fosters to save all of them, though.  Candy and Mandy had not been spoken for, and I was secretly keeping my fingers crossed that someone would come to their rescue.  Fast forward to the day that the rescue went down to North Carolina to pick up the puppies they had agreed to rescue.  They rescued said puppies, then some.  Candy and Mandy were two of the "then some".  I was so relieved to see that they had been saved from certain death!

It was about a month later... once Memphis was adopted... that the girls arrived at my house.  They put up with quarantine.  A week or two later, they put up with being spayed and not being able to play like that wanted to.  More time in a crate.  Just what they wanted... NOT!

They were troopers through it all; always happy and with tails wagging.  They're easy puppies - something I had never had before!  My fosters are all special in their own way, but Mandy and Candy were "my babies" the minute I saw their pictures on the rescue's Facebook.  I don't know what it was about them... or how they ended up with me... but we were meant to be together - even if only for a couple months.

It's so bittersweet when a foster gets adopted.  Part of you misses them more than you can say.  The other part?  Well, the other part is just thrilled that you were lucky enough spend that time with that dog until he or she could find a home to spend the rest of his or her life in.

So, for now, I still have Mandy in my life, and as much as I'd love to keep them all, I'll keep my fingers crossed for the day that she finds someone to love her as much as I do.

Monday, May 2, 2011

"Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim."

As of Friday, it's been a terribly difficult few days.  Gloria, my pregnant stray cat that I took in two days shy of two weeks ago today, gave birth to two premature kittens on Friday afternoon.  I came home to find two cold kittens in the nesting box and Gloria not paying much attention to them.  The fact that they were cold and Gloria wasn't being motherly sent me into an immediate frenzy.  I tore out of the house and sped to the pet store to buy a bottle and a heating pad.  I texted Jessica (the lovely, young woman who runs the dog rescue I foster through) to let her know what was going on.  She's fostered abandoned kittens a lot before in the past, so she knew what she was doing.  She came over to take a look... and didn't seem terribly optimistic.  Gloria wasn't even producing milk anymore, and the kittens were small.  Like... premature small.  Jessica hung out for hours to see if Gloria was planning on giving birth to another.  But... 3 1/2 hours later, nothing.  It was a restless night... checking on them every few hours... then waking up early to help with the K9 Justice League yard sale.  I went home to check on them... and was actually feeling a little optimistic when I saw them nursing, active, and even mewing.  Gloria was producing milk, and they seemed to be okay.  They were having trouble maintaining heat, so I was periodically heating a sock of rice up to place with them in the nesting box.  The heating pad just wasn't enough.  By Sunday, they were dehydrated and weak.  They made an attempt at nursing... but I guess it wasn't enough.  The black and white kitten, Nemo, passed away at some point that night.  I found him this morning... already gone.  Gloria still didn't seem phased.  Marcel, the black kitten, was still hanging around... but he was so weak and couldn't even nurse.  Bottle feeding was out of the question since he didn't even have enough energy.  I left the house for a few hours, and he was gone by the time I returned.  I actually started bawling on the way to the barn when I saw a dead cat on the side of the road.  I just lost it over the fact that Nemo was gone... and Marcel wasn't far behind.  Marcel was gone by the time I got home.

A whirlwind of emotions hit me like a brick.  Let me not forget to mention the "What if..." questions that ran through my head.  What if I had gone ahead and bottle fed them from the start?  What if they had been born a week later?  Then I try so hard to remind myself that what's done is done.  Gloria came to me a week and a half previously and aside from the large tummy, was actually really thin.  I could easily feel her hips and spine.  I assume Gloria has been lost from wherever she came from for a long time.  She didn't get the proper nutrition a pregnant cat needs... not to mention the fact that she's hardly 6-months-old.  She's inexperienced and wasn't in a suitable state to give birth and take care of babies.

I'm sad for the loss of these kittens.  Who knew I could become so in love with these tiny, alien-like kittens in such a short amount of time?  I suppose I should have expected that.  I was hoping for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy birth.  I had already imagined adorable kittens romping around.  I'm devastated that I'll never see them romping.

As well was being sad, I'm angry.  I'm angry that people don't spay/neuter their animals.  I'm pissed that I now have to suffer this sadness of losing them... on top of the sadness that I feel daily for all of the other animals that lose their lives... because someone was irresponsible and couldn't fork up >$50 to have their pet spayed/neutered.  Gloria clearly had a family at some point.  She's a good cat.  Good with other cats, dogs, etc.  I can't imagine that she wasn't someone's pet.  Who knows what her story is?  Was she dumped?  Was she lost?  Somebody had to have loved her at one point.  But why was she hanging out at the 7-11 dumpster?  If I can find any positive out of this situation, at least Gloria is safe with me.  Now, with me, she has no chance of being hit by a car or hurt by another animal.  She's a happy and healthy cat that will eventually find a new home with someone responsible and loving and deserving.  For now, Gloria will remain with me until I can get her spayed and vaccinated, and she'll be spoiled just as one of my own.

So... rest in peace... Marcel and Nemo.  I'm sorry that I couldn't do more for you, but perhaps you are the lucky ones in never having to find out in the future how cruel the human race really can be.