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Lots to do today

Jun 01, 2010 - 0 comments

Going to be a busy day both for animal and non-animal related things.  Usual morning drill of examining, weighing, feeding, grooming, and cleaning up after my 10 foster kitties.  Then need to do the same for an intakes at the shelter over the weekend.  The volunteer coordinator at one of the shelters is on vacation so I am also backing her up with for some of the things she normally does.  Need to photograph some of the animals that have come in recently.  The staff normally does this but they have been really overwhelmed with intakes lately some of the lower priority stuff has just had to slip.  I also need to do some stumping to try to enlist other volunteers to help with the Kitten Day Care center I am setting up.  It is a double whammy, since this is kitten season so it is when we need it the most, but it is also when a lot of volunteers go on vacation, have young kids out from school, etc. so they are less available.  We are close to 600 animals at the shelter right now and adoptions are slow.  Almost 400 of those are cats and kittens.  Space is becoming a major issue.  We have transferred out as many as we can to rescue groups but they are pretty much full up too.  And some where along the way today I also have several personal errands I need to run and other stuff that needs to get done at home.

Up to 10 foster kitties

May 28, 2010 - 0 comments

I brought 3 of my former foster kitties back home today.  I had taken them back to the shelter when I was out of town earlier this month.  When I got back I found that the 2 females had started losing weight again.  I had already taken a litter of 7 home with URI, so didn't want to take these 3 back home and have them get sick as well.  But now those 3 have a mild case of URI.  So I brought them back home and hoping they don't now reinfect the other 7.....never a dull moment!

Shelter Inventory Update

May 23, 2010 - 0 comments

One of the jobs I do for one of the shelters I work at involves some tracking of inventory.  I just finished an update and the stats are depressing.  The total current inventory 512 animals and this number has been steadily climbing for the last couple of weeks.  Summer is a tough time for shelters.  So many people bring in animals because they are moving or just going on vacation.  Worse yet, they don't bring them into the shelter and just dump them some where and those end up at the shelter hurt, sick, or malnourished.

I get very frustrated sometimes because a lot of people tend to bad mouth shelters.  Where do they think shelter animals come from?  They come from irresponsible owners.  But it is the shelters that try to save them and rehome them that get bad mouthed, not the pet owners that create the need for shelters in the first place.  

The shelter currently has 186 kittens under 3 months, many of who have been abandoned and need fostering.  As a kitten foster, this always puts me in the dilemma of quantity vs. quality.  Do I try to foster as many as possible as quickly as possible, or foster fewer for longer?  Combining unweaned abandoned kittens from multiple litters can be risky for cross infections and increases the risk of failure to thrive in the smaller ones.  But sticking with one litter means some others probably won't make it because there are too many kittens and not enough fosters.  

My wish is that pet owners think through what owning a pet means.  That is means a responsibility for the life of the pet.  That they not treat them like disposable pens, tossing them out when they become inconvenienced.  



Life as a feline soccer mom

May 23, 2010 - 2 comments

Sometimes my work as a shelter volunteer and foster mom for abandoned kittens reminds me of the days when my own kids were young and I had to keep track of all of their activities and take them from place to place.  My human kids are long since grown and I think in part that is why I got into working with shelters.  It satisfies my maternal instinct.  Though there are days when I say to myself, what was I thinking!....LOL.

To carry the analogy a bit further, my current fosters (7 of them, age 8 weeks) are like my toddlers.  My former foster kitties are like teenagers.  It is like they are away at college or summer camp and I visit them occasionally or get postcards (emails actually).  Then there are everybody else's kids, this being cats and dogs at the shelters and other locations where we have cats and dogs available for adoption.  

Last week was fairly typical.

On Monday I visited 4 of my former fosters at two different locations (bringing them care packages) and brought home my current fosters, a litter of 7).

On Tuesday, I discovered my current crew had fleas and spent the afternoon bathing them and all of their bedding and toys.

On Wednesday, I transported a cat and got her settled in at one shelter and then went to another shelter to get a dog  to take to a nursing home for a visit with the elderly residents.

On Thursday, I actually had time to do some other things like get to the grocery store and take care of some other errands.

On Friday, there was a false alarm about one of my former fosters who is currently at an offsite (PetSmart) adoption center.  One of the PetSmart employees reported seeing blood in Sky's (my former foster) stool.  Turns out, by the time I was called there had been a bunch of miscommunication and the reality was that another kitten sharing the same space as Sky just had some simple diarrhea.  But I went to the PetSmart, got things straightened out there, and took the other kitten back to the shelter for observation.

On Saturday I went to the shelter and got 8 dogs ready to go to an offsite adoption event.  Think of it as getting 8 kids ready to go to school.  They all had to be bathed and dressed (in this case in adopt me vests), fed breakfast, pottied and walked, loaded into the van with all of their gear, and driven to the event site.  All of that took about 3 hours.  Then it was another 3 hours back at the shelter settling in new cats and dogs, then back to the event site to show those dogs to potential adopters and talk to people about adopting, volunteering, and fostering.

Today is Sunday.  I am enjoying a little bit of me time right now, but soon will need to get busy with the morning drill for my 7 fosters.  I feed each of them separately in the morning to make sure all of them are eating enough, weigh them, comb and bathe as needed, clean their living space and litter boxes.  During this time I let them out in the room their pen is in for some play and exercise.  They typically make a bit of a mess and knock a few things over, so then I need to clean and straighten up the room.  In the evenings, I take 3-4 of them, one at a time, and let them spend some time in the living room with me, my husband, and our 3 adult cats.

Tomorrow is Monday....beginning another week of being a feline foster mom.