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The Power Of Man’s Best Friend Is Overtaken By The Power Of Kindness

, , , , , , | Working | March 13, 2019

I worked at an animal shelter a few years ago. An older woman came in looking for a small dog. She wanted to visit this small, white poodle that had just been put on the adoption floor that morning. I put them in a meet-and-greet room and placed the dog on her lap. A few minutes later I went in to check on her and she started telling me her story.

Her twenty-year-old daughter had been murdered three weeks ago. She told me how she had to spend $7,000 to bury her baby and that there were over twenty possible suspects.

As she cried telling me her story, this older poodle sat in her lap quietly and let her pet him. She asked if she could put in an application for him and what the adoption fee was. She started crying more when I told her it was $110, because she couldn’t afford that much right now.

I told her to hang on, to put the application in, and that I would work out the rest. I could tell that both the woman and the dog needed each other. I spoke with a coworker and told her I was going to pay the adoption fee. She decided to split the fee with me, instead. Her application was approved, and she somehow cried more when I told her the fee was taken care of. She thanked me over and over again as she carried that little dog out.

I cried when she left, happy to know I could help someone piece things together again.

We Are Siamese, And We’re Pleased

, , , , , , | Related | February 26, 2019

Fifteen years ago, I finally had a flat to myself again and, full of excitement, I had a friend drive me to a local shelter to adopt me a cat. To be specific, two cats. Indoor cats. Female. Indoor cats are a lot of hard work — and no one likes to deal with litter trays — but my new flat was on the junction of two very busy streets in a pretty grotty neighbourhood so outdoor cats seemed irresponsible.

We pulled up at the shelter and I leapt out of the car like a demented gazelle, giddy as a kid on Christmas morning, and barely managed to wait for my friend before charging inside. I explained what I was looking for to the young lady inside and she took me to look at the cats that were up for adoption. To my shock, about half of the cats seemed to be chocolate point siamese — several hundred pounds a pop, so not what you expect to find in a shelter.

The girl explained that they had all been rescued from a mad old cat lady who was keeping all twenty of them in a one-bedroom house and feeding them enough for maybe fifteen cats. They’d been in a real state when they were brought in, but they’d been fed up and were now full of beans. I was now, if anything, even more excited at the prospect of adopting as the thought of a pair of these magnificent kitties wandering around my flat was really exciting to me. I wandered up the aisle, taking my time and greeting each of the cats in turn, trying to not just yell, “OH, MY GOD! JACK WANT ALL KITTIES! GIVE KITTIES TO JACK NOW!

Cage after cage was filled with these huge, beautiful, and very, very vocal cats, pressing themselves against the front of the cages for pettings. I was totally confused — how would I ever choose? — until I got to the last cage. There, my confusion ended.

In this cage were, once again, two siamese cats. But these two were maybe half the size of the others, and they weren’t pressing against the front of the cage looking for cuddles. They were huddled at the back of the cage, as far away from humans as they could get. I later found out that they were also recovering from cat flu. The cat I would come to know as Sif was huddled into the corner as tightly as she could squeeze herself, and the warrior who would be Freya was lying half on top of her, cuddling as close as she could and I knew. I just knew.

Those other cats, brimming with health and confidence? They could go anywhere, be adopted by anyone, but these two were going to need a special home with someone patient, and I was determined that I would give them that home.

It’s taken years to get them to act like proper, confident goddesses-of-all-they-survey — y’know, cats — and they still get skittish around new people, but Sif will now walk up to people in my flat and demand cuddles — remember, siamese — and even Freya will allow people to pet her, though she has some hilariously specific rules.

And now, beloved readers, those two terrified little cats — the cats I didn’t even see for the first two weeks that they lived with me because they were hiding behind the fridge — those two cats will now not only climb onto my lap at any chance they get but, if I’m wearing a front opening top, they will climb inside that top — with no regard at all for my tender, easily-punctured skin! — and they curl up and they purr and purr as if they’ve finally found their happy spot. And sometimes this makes my face leak, just a little bit.

Adopted Inhumanly Fast

, , , , , | Right | February 12, 2019

I was working at my volunteer job, socializing cats at the local animal shelter, when I noticed that we had a new kitten in with the name of Phil. A young couple entered and began examining our kittens, when suddenly I heard one of them say, “Phil? His first name is Agent!”

Unsurprisingly, Phil was swiftly adopted.

Might Want To Skip Those Pies

, , , , | Right | January 21, 2019

There’s an animal shelter we used to frequent a few blocks away from my house. The place had a prominent blackboard in the entrance announcing any upcoming events that might interest people, like adoption days or charity drives.

One day, however, when I arrived, I advised one of the employees to do something about the new announcement. It read, in big letters, “Adoption Saturday,” but underneath that, someone had written, in smaller letters, “Yummy meat pies on Sunday!”

The Cat Is Gone In A Creampuff

, , , , , , | Right | January 13, 2019

(I am a volunteer at a no-kill pet shelter. A few weeks ago, a couple came in with the angriest cat we had ever seen. Along with a severe case of mange, he was also missing his right eye. The couple explained that their neighbors had moved and left the cat locked inside a junker car parked behind their house. Even with every volunteer working to rehabilitate him, “One-Eyed Willy” proves to be a difficult case; he bites and scratches, yowls constantly, and does not get along with other male cats. We resign to having him as a permanent resident. One week, I arrive to find that One-Eyed Willy is missing from the cat room. A fellow volunteer explains that he’s been adopted over the weekend. The general consensus is that he has been taken in as a charity case and will be returned when the new owner finds him too difficult to handle. Terrified that whoever this person is will ruin a month of hard work, I can do nothing but wait until they return for his neutering appointment in two weeks. I am working the front desk when a young woman approaches me. She does not have a kennel, but has a cat tucked into her jacket.)

Woman: “Hi! I’m here to drop off Creampuff for his appointment?”

(As any adopted cats are referred to by their new names, it takes me a second to realize that she’s holding One-Eyed Willy! He is purring up a storm, curled up in her arms like a baby. While we go over the paperwork, I notice that he is wearing a hand-knit vest to cover his mange spots. With my heart already melting, I get talking to her.)

Me: “So, has he been behaving himself?”

Woman: “Oh, he’s the best cat in the world! I have a teensy bit of trouble sometimes when I need to go to the store, though.”

(She unzips her jacket and sets One-Eyed Willy on the counter. Immediately, he begins to whine like a baby. She picks him up and he stops.)

Woman: *while giggling and smothering him in kisses* “It’s a good thing I work from home, or I’d be evicted!”

(It isn’t easy working at a shelter, but times like this make it all worth it!)