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Friday, December 17, 2010

One Cat's Journey Part III

So our newly renamed shelter kitty, Mick has made himself quite at home. When he arrived on a frigid Saturday almost 2 weeks ago, he strolled out of his carrier surveyed his new home and moved right in...He never hissed once at his other feline companions Buzz, Princess or Kittlins..however he has been a tad indignant with food mongering dogs and given two of them whacks on the snouts.

I look at him daily and wonder where he came from, who had he lived with for 10 or more years and what circumstances drove his human caretaker to leave him at an animal shelter with his almost guaranteed option of death?? It breaks my heart daily to see the faces of dogs and cats, old and young, being put to sleep all over the United States. Shelters are impacted by budget cuts which lead them to euthanize more and more healthy animals and those with curable medical conditions. Overcrowding,m pet overpopulation and the economic down turn in the US has lead to record surrenders of pets at all kinds of shelters:private, county and municipal. The best a pet can hope for is to get into a no kill shelter (a legitimate no kill I must emphasize) and wait until they find a home.

I am imploring all pet owners who cannot utilize resources to maintain their family pet..please work diligently to find them a home with a family member a friend or a no kill shelter. Please know that the companion you loved, if left at anything but a no kill shelter has a limited chance for adoption, despite massive and heroic networks that work furiously to place them. Mick was a one in a million lucky shot for all involved. Please contact your veterinarian or links on my website www.henriettahosp.com that can help you find placement for your companion that will not end in death. In addition you can find resources for food and medical care to help you during these hard times.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Corgivet's Chit Chat: The Smallest Racing Dynasty

Corgivet's Chit Chat: The Smallest Racing Dynasty: "After viewing Disney’s latest release, Secretariat with my 16-year-old son, many fond memories surfaced and we talked endlessly about ”The ..."

The Smallest Racing Dynasty

After viewing Disney’s latest release, Secretariat with my 16-year-old son, many fond memories surfaced and we talked endlessly about ”The Horse”. My youngest brother, our Mother and I were all lucky to have witnessed the Big Red colt win the 1973 Derby. I was a student at the University of Louisville at that time. Louisville was a city we visited many times. It was our Father Itzy’s birthplace..so in addition to the college, we had many friends and relatives there.One relative was closely tied to horse racing…our Uncle Sammy .

Uncle Sammy married my Fathers sister. And simply put, he was a character. His job by day was to run a small liquor store in downtown Louisville were he sold spirits and cashed paychecks ( only after the payee passed his strict “criss crossing” examination). As he professed to us kids…he was a “regular Dick Tracy” when it came to detecting bogus checks.

But Uncle Sammy also had a passion for the ponies and his other “job” was a racetrack bookie. A dark secret that was kept from the children! Prior to the Derby my brother and I made local headlines. Our Mother discovered I had opened an OFF TRACK BETTING (OTB) account for my then 15-year-old brother. She was not happy that her children were following a criminal path and reported us to the local newspapers in Rochester NY.

The only tragedy was that Uncle Sammy never got to see the end of a race. He had suffered a heart attack years before and his doctor ordered him to avoid excitement..so he always turned his back at the track as the horses thundered down the stretch. And in all good humor, Uncle Sammy had a stutter which exacerbated when he got excited. So when he spoke of the ponies, their grand lineage and the jocks…it was a cacophony of words and spit…but we enjoyed the stories.

Uncle Sammy took me and my brother to Churchill Downs on several visits but the most memorable had to be the 1973 Kentucky Derby. I recall it was a pleasant Louisville day and we arrived to watch all 9 races. Most people are not aware that the Derby is the 8th race in a day of races at Churchill Downs. Many of my classmates were watching from the infield but we had lucked into Grandstand tickets. We saw the parade of women in absurd hats each trying to best the other in their on audacious manner.

I remember the race as if it was run yesterday. Secretariat thundered down the homestretch like a proverbial equine freight train. However, the MOST exciting race for me was the Belmont, the 3rd leg in the Triple Crown. Never have a I seen a horse since then leave his competition in a wake of dust as did Secretariat in this race. 

Little did our Mother know that her youngest children’s paths in life would diverge but remain tied by horses. My brother loved to watch them race..I loved to ride them and learn about their medical problems. He worked at the Maryland Jockey Club and later as a VP at DC Edelman…I went on to become a veterinarian…Years later still we are still linked by the first Saturday each May.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Gift that Does NOT Keep on Giving

OK, I'll admit after receiving Nick, the 12 year old blind cat scheduled for euthanasia at a Manhattan Animal Shelter, my leanings are a tad skewed. I was an animal lover, perhaps at birth and will remain an animal advocate until the day I die. I worked in shelters briefly, enough to realize I could not bear the day in and day out incessant euthanasia of healthy dogs and cats. Their only crime, was being born into a world where there are not enough caring homes to provide for their needs. Owners of puppy mills will continue to breed animals indiscriminately until laws are enforced and they are run out of town and jailed.

Sadly I was googling for statistics on the numbers of cats and dogs euthanized in our shelters on an annual basis. I stumbled upon Google for Euthanasia. It is now a piece of cake for anyone with access to a computer to insert zip code and find one of several places where their pet can be destroyed, humanely. I think George Carlin would have used this in his act as an oxymoron. Humane euthanasia somehow makes it "OK" and lifts the guilt of destroying a healthy animal. This is what I call euthanasia for convenience. I drew a line the day I got out of veterinary school..never to be induced into euthanasia for convenience..For example. an owner has to move and cannot take his cats. They are brought to the veterinarian to be destroyed. or wind up at an animal shelter for the same. My former employer would euthanize any pet as long as he was paid for this service. It made me physically ill.

I learned in school decades ago that euthanasia was a gift, veterinarians possessed to allow them to relieve animal suffering, not to be used when an owner is ready to dispense with their pet. But selfish and ignorant owners who refuse to spay/neuter their pets has pushed us in another direction, that of pet over population. I urge everyone who is concerned pet owner to make sure you get your pet(s) spayed and neutered. If you know someone who is financially incapable of affording the surgery for their pet, get them in contact with a variety of organizations both privately and publicly funded.

Make it a Holiday gift to the world..the gift that does not keep on giving, spay and neuter PLEASE

Sunday, December 5, 2010

One Cat's Journey Part II

So, we left off accomplishing what I thought to be the most difficult hurdle, getting Nick off the PTS (put to sleep) list and adopted. We accomplished all of this in a couple hours with the cooperation of shelter employee Jen Reese,who actually knew Nick.
By 12 noon on Thursday,Nick had a home.

The transport was our next obstacle. Jackie Meyers contacted Julie Morris at the ASPCA, who then reached out to Jane Hoffman of the Mayor's Alliance http://www.AnimalAllianceNYC.org.

Keep in mind during these times, Facebook postings, tweets and phone calls were flying across the Eastern seaboard from Alabama to NYC. People pulled together by one unifying goal, to save animals from premature death. Hilary Brown with here list serv had volunteers lined up to drive Nick as well. By Thursday evening, Nicks transport was secured and he would be removed from the shelter on Friday to go to another veterinarians office overnight. Saturday ,Patrick McGuire a volunteer driver for the Mayors Alliance would bring Nick to his new home.

Nick arrived 4:30 pm on the dot. I met Patrick's van at my hospital's parking lot(Henrietta Animal Hospital)www.henriettahosp.com. Patrick said that he had good news. He was not blind!! I quickly assessed Nick's condition and he looked in great shape. Rather than have him spend another night in a cage I opted to bring home.

Once inside my home we opened his cage door and out strolled Nick a gorgeous black and white tuxedo cat. He was purring and has never stopped. Nick ambled over to one of 3 dogs and in classic cat fashion totally ignored him!! He never once hissed or growled, which is amazing considering the trauma he has endured.

Nick spent last night and will spend every other night of his life on my bed. Welcome home Nick, here's to you and a long life.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Corgivet's Chit Chat: One Cats's Journey Part I

Corgivet's Chit Chat: One Cats's Journey Part I: "This all began a couple of night's ago as I was scanning through some Twitter tweets or chirps. A 12 year old blind cat named Nick was sche..."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

One Cats's Journey Part I

This all began a couple of night's ago as I was scanning through some Twitter tweets or chirps. A 12 year old blind cat named Nick was scheduled to be euthanized the next day. He was deemed unadoptable as a result of his blindness. There I gazed at a photo of a helpless black and white cat whose only crime in life was to get old and survive his owner. (I will appeal to all pet owners to make provisions for the pets in the event of incapacitation or death later.
The time was 8 pm EDT and Nick was located at the Manhattan AC& C http://www.nycacc.org.

I found there website and popped out a couple hasty emails stating who I was and asking them to put a hold on Nick. Then the flurry of emails, twitters, and Facebook posting began to fly through cyberspace. I contacted with old friends Jackie Meyer, Executive Director of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society Alabama http://www.gbhs.org and Vet Pet list owner, moderator, and general all around pet advocate Hilary Brown (vetpet@vetpetpartners.com) for assistance. they immediately jumped into action. By 11 pm we had Nick's ID, location and information from the shelter and volunteer to drive him to Rochester.

However, the first hurdle had not been met and that was formalzing his adoption and taking him off the euthanasia list. But that would have to wait for morning.