It all starts somewhere, whether it be your neighbor you espy feeding a stray cat on their front porch, or news feeds on social media about a dog stranded in a horrible situation. But somewhere along the way you may find yourself in a situation where a lost animal comes into your life at the right moment, an animal who needs your help whether they’re feral or not. My hope is that there is still a large part of humanity who will listen to their silent calls for help and do what they can, even it means just putting a bowl of fresh food and water outside on their front doorstep. Animals cannot use words to tell you what they’ve just endured, they cannot tell us when they are suffering, so our job as genuinely decent human beings is to not ignore that dog sitting by itself on the side of the road or the unkempt kitten who comes ambling into your yard because “someone else will take care of it” because, most of the time, they won’t. Most of the time we have no idea what an animal went through just to get to our yards or to the side of the road where they are visible to the public (and sadly some of them are just dumped there). We don’t know what they went through, and when we spot them, we can’t know if anyone else will see them before it’s too late. We cannot rely on the goodness of humanity to come by and miraculously and conveniently save them because, sadly, the only caring person that will appear in the lives of these animals in that precise moment, is you. That is the moment they are not alone: the moment you see them, the moment you as an individual can do something about it. So do something about it. Or else, they will suffer or just toil for survival alone.
A “rescue”, as defined by the Oxford dictionary, is an act of saving from danger or distress. Unfortunately, the world we live in requires acts of this nature, even more so for those who cannot defend themselves. All I ask is that you don’t ignore their cries for help. The more we ignore, the more desensitized we become to their plight. And then we’ll have even less caring people in the world.
In order to advertise just how rewarding animal rescue can be, I am starting an intermittent series of blog posts highlighting the stories of pets and the people who helped them. I would like to preface the following by saying I am only initially writing about my own experience as an example that I have at this current time. There are so many more people who do so much more than I and I want them to be recognized and appreciated for their love and hard work.
About a month or so ago, a pair of kittens, close to adolescence, started to appear on my back patio. One was solid grey; the other was grey and white. They were incredibly skittish, each time I even came near the back door they’d take off into the woods behind my apartment. I would leave plates of canned cat food and a bowl of dry cat food and fresh water on the patio, in the hope that these two fidgety felines would start to trust me enough not to run away when I opened the door. I never really reached this goal BUT I managed to acquire an animal trap. One day I had noticed that the tail of the little grey and white kitten was degloved. There could’ve been any number of causes, she could’ve been in a cat fight, a fight with another animal, or in an erratic attempt to flee was caught on something that managed that much damage. I had no way of knowing, but I can’t imagine it felt good. My initial intent was to catch the grey and white kitten. However, it was the solid grey which walked into the trap and set it off. As a rule, I understand that cats are smart and if I release this grey kitten, he will probably not fall for the same trick a second time and he would be lost to me. So I pursued veterinary care for him. Due to possible underlying health conditions, this baby did not survive his journey, but I hope he felt, at least for this short time, that I cared about what happened to him.
But grieving and shock aside, I still had work to do: catching the grey and white kitten with the degloved tail. Thankfully, I was able to trap her with little difficulty. She was taken to the Animal Hospital of Rowlett and, like my little grey feral, had the best care. I’m happy to report that she did survive. I had her scheduled for a spay and tail amputation (ruled as medically necessary) so now she is recuperating comfortably in my bedroom, in her own pet playpen with plenty of soft warm blankets, fresh food and water, and constantly cleaned litter box. And now, as I write this post, I am working on getting her socialized so she can be adopted to a good loving home.
My progress is slow, but we are making progress. I named her Kit Kat because, knowing I’m the type of person who gets attached way too quickly, was not sure about giving her a name at all. For awhile she was just “Feral Kitten 2” in her medical chart. But Kit Kat seems to be a good medium between calling out “come here, kitty kitty” and an actual name. Kit Kat lets me pet her…sometimes. She has not bitten me or swiped out with her paws. She still hisses from time to time but she is clearly still fearful of her surroundings. Like everything worthwhile, it will indeed take some time. But we’ll get there. So the next time you see an animal in need, do what you can for them, because maybe no one else will step up.
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