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Happy Tails and Lessons Learned
Page Two

     Our companion animals enrich our lives in many ways and teach us many lessons.  Following are some stories of rescued animals and the important lessons they taught.  Send us the story of your animal friend and let us know what you learned from him.  We will post it as an inspiration to others.

To view large photos, please click on the thumbnails.

Molly was found in the hallway of an apartment house and taken to a kill-shelter. Because of her size it is very difficult to handle her without causing her discomfort. During her examination by the vet she growled, hissed and bit. As a result she was labeled "unadoptable" and slated to die. Workers at the shelter felt sorry for her and put her in a holding area for a couple of days so she could calm down. There was a big improvement in her behavior and she was reevaluated and upgraded. Eventually she was put up for adoption, but even making her "Cat of the Week" didnít help. No one wanted such a big, fat cat. Eventually one of the shelter volunteers who was also "calorically challenged" adopted her and she is now living the good life. DONíT EVER LET YOUR CAT OVEREAT TO THE POINT WHERE IT THREATENS HER LIFE! Donít kill your cat with "kindness." Mollyís excess weight came very close to ending her life in the shelter and unless she is able to lose weight in her new home, it will certainly shorten her life.

Mosby came from a house that had many cats. None of them were neutered. All of them were infested with fleas and worms. Life was very hard. Neighbors had tried to do something about this situation but never succeeded. The guardian of these cats did not believe in neutering, veterinary care, etc. The cats could survive on their own and if not, so what. Well, Mosby got tired of being hungry and he decided to look for greener pastures. He found a house a couple of streets away that looked pretty good. There was a big cat enclosure on the back of the house and there was lots of food and toys and many other cat goodies in there. There were even cats painted all along the back wall! Well, this seemed like an open invitation. Unfortunately the people were away on vacation so they couldnít welcome him properly. No matter. Mosby worked on the screen door until he was able to squeeze through. Missing all those meals made that possible. When the people came back from vacation and counted heads, there was one extra gray head in the basement. Mosby didnít trust people very much. It took him weeks to come up from the basement and months before he would allow himself to be touched but he is now a much-loved member of the family and he just canít keep from smiling. Mosby taught us to never underestimate the determination of a hungry cat.

Boston and James were brought to a kill shelter by kids who had found them in the street. They were only about 4 weeks old and James had an upper respiratory infection. This was at the height of kitten season. They were so tiny and helpless, but a large municipal shelter could not give them the care that they needed before they could be put up for adoption. It was late in the day and all of the cages were full. These two babies would need extra care and if they pulled through they would not be available for adoption for 4 weeks. The shelter could not house them that long with so many others coming in every day. They were going to be euthanized when a volunteer offered to foster them. She took them home and gave them plenty of tender loving care. They responded beautifully and were adopted by the volunteer who couldnít bear to part with them. Consider being a foster parent to an animal in need. It takes only a few days or few weeks of your time, but you will give an animal otherwise slated for death a chance for life.

Dukie (Zoom-Zoom) was found in a vacant lot by teenagers after a really bad storm. She was curled up next to her dead sibling. The kids picked her up and walked through the neighborhood asking people to take her. She was about four weeks old at the time and had been lying face down so that her little nose was packed with mud forcing her to breath through her mouth. The kids were lucky to find someone willing to take on the little orphan. Her new guardian rushed her to a vet who found her to be dehydrated with a temperature of 94 degrees. He unclogged her nose, gave her fluids under her skin and gave her other emergency treatment. The prognosis was grim but he suggested she go to an all-night veterinary hospital so that she could be monitored around-the-clock. Duke spent 2 days in the hospital before coming home. The vets were not hopeful she would pull through Ė she had been through so much Ė but her new guardians took turns sitting with her Ė talking to her and petting her. After about a week it was clear she would pull through. She started drinking with gusto from her little bottle and then took her first tentative steps. Not long after that she was zooming all around the house as if she was trying to make up for lost time. Dukie taught everyone the important lesson that where thereís life, thereís hope.

T-Rex (on the right) is a red-eared slider who was purchased in NYCís Chinatown as a pet for a child. He was carried home in a tiny plastic container where he lived for the next four years. He ate only when they remembered to feed him and often his water dried up before they noticed it. The child quickly lost interest and when T-Rex got to be too much work for the family they decided to get rid of him (flush him down the toilet?) This was mentioned by the childís mother to a co-worker who agreed to take him on the condition that a companion could be found for him. Yuen-Yee (on the left) was a tiny hatchling, smaller than a quarter when she was also purchased on a Chinatown Street. T-Rex was beside himself when he was placed into a large tank with rocks to climb on and caves to hide in. When he saw Yuen Yee, it was love at first sight and they have been inseparable ever since. Never purchase (or adopt) an animal on impulse. Make sure you understand the needs of the animal and are prepared to fulfill those needs. Turtles can live for more than 50 years and their care can be time-consuming. Donít take on an important responsibility only to "flush it down the toilet" when the novelty wears off. Also, in some areas, the sale of baby turtles is illegal. Often these little hatchlings suffer terribly at the hands of those who are not concerned about their welfare. Report such unscrupulous people to the appropriate authorities.

Whoopie was rescued from a fresh-kill slaughterhouse around Thanksgiving and spent the next three years with friends in Brooklyn until she finally found a wonderful forever home at a sanctuary in New Jersey. While in Brooklyn, she was a terrific ambassador for her species demonstrating clearly to all of the humans with whom she came in contact that she was an individual who valued her life as much as they did theirs. She enjoyed the sun on her face and grass under her feet and enjoyed her meals and treats. She was very tolerant of her adopted family of dogs and cats and shared her sunflower seeds with the neighborhood birds. She also shared her warmth with a little opossum who appreciated her downy softness on cold winter nights. She teaches a very important lesson to us all. Like all of the billions of animals slaughtered for their flesh each year, she is a sentient being who deserves better than to have her bones picked apart for the sake of a single meal. When there are so many cruelty-free choices at mealtime, it is a tragedy that wonderful creatures like Whoopie are forced to lead miserable lives and suffer cruel deaths. Eat beans, not beings!

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