Friday, August 14, 2009


Just wanted to add a quick note as an addendum to recent posts:
(Hate to sound like the doting mother, but seriously, doesn't Sugie look, well, just like Sugie in this photo? All ears sideways and wild-eyed, like she's about to attack something?? Glad it wasn't my hand... this time....)
So I stopped by Upland Animal Shelter (cat hell) yesterday. Two serendipitous events occurred. The first:
When I entered the smaller cat room, I was surprised to find it crowded with women. 'Wow,' I thought, 'lots of folks looking at cats today.' But then I realized these weren't potential adopters, they were volunteers. Three of the women had Down's Syndrome. The fourth looked up from a cage and smiled.
"Are you all volunteers?" I asked.
"Yes," she told me. "We come here every Thursday, just to interact with the cats." Is that cool or what?? More angels!! I thanked them all and four kind faces lit up. I watched for awhile as they carefully brushed and stroked the cats, then put each one gently back in its cage. Wow. What a blessing.
Then I headed off to the big cat room. There was a black kitten curled in a ball whose gender I could not determine, so I went to the front desk.
"Can I help you?" asked Mr. Jackass. I ignored him as if he were invisible. A woman swiveled around in her chair. I hadn't seen her before.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"Yes," I replied pleasantly, and asked if she could check the gender of a kitten for me.
"Of course!" she replied, just as pleasantly, and off we went to the cat room. Little Miss Thing turned out to be a girl, and as I held her, the nice officer and I got to talking about black cats. She confirmed what others had said, that black cats are very difficult to place, and often 'grow up' in the shelter.
"I have one at home right now that I'm fostering," she told me. She went on to explain that a batch of kittens had been brought to the shelter in such bad shape she didn't think one of them would make it through the night. They were dehydrated, anemic from the fleas that covered them, full of worms, and starving. She took the worst one home--he had an infected eye filled with pus (shades of Homer Cooper!!)--and started caring for him, picking the fleas off, giving him fluids, treating his eye... and loving him.
"You should see him now!" she boasted. "But I'll have to bring him back, and he'll probably just sit here, because he's black...." Hmmm....
Anyway, this lady was great, and she clearly cared for the cats, so we'll have to conclude that she is an angel who has volunteered to work in hell. Now that's impressive!!
Of course, at the end of the day I ended up back in cat heaven, spending a luxurious half hour in the sunny yard with "Elmore," "Chesterfield," and several other furry children whose names I didn't know. (Angel was busy inside, sweeping out each and every cat apartment, so I couldn't ask him.)
I still haven't made a decision about who's coming home with me, but I appreciate all the response I've had to the blog and your comments. Love you, animal lovers!!

1 comment:

  1. What a beauty Sugie is!
    And how nice that the women with Downs Syndrome volunteer at the shelter. I am sure it is good for the cats and good for them as well.
    When you find the right one, you'll know. JP
    Footnote: NPR aired a program yesterday about a group called "Puppies Behind Bars" that trains pups to serve as companion-assistants to wounded veterans. The pups are trained by carefully-selected inmates who benefit from the relationship with the dog and from giving back to society by helping the vets. If you missed it, it is worth a listen at