|In October 2011, RVAS received a call for help! A woman had passed on and willed all of her cats & kittens to a no-kill organization.
RVAS was contacted for assistance to honor the woman's last wish. In theory, to open one's home to wayward animals is honorable, but many times those with good intentions become overwhelmed and the animals quickly out number the quality of care the person can properly provide leaving animals in desperate need of medical care and sometimes worse...death. We categorize these types of cases as "unintentional" neglect.
We knew, from prior experience, that the animals were going to take a tremendous amount of time and funding to capture, rehabilitate and medically care for. Undoubtedly, the reason that so many shelters and animal control units opt to euthanize rather than try to save them. The trauma that the animals endure in these situations can be enormous if not done with kindness, patience and care. We knew we had a large task in front of us...but one we were willing to tackle!
On a cold October evening, three RVAS volunteers visited the site. They patiently waited inside the dark garage waiting. The odor from the uncleaned boxes was horrific, but the volunteers endured the smell and the cold to get an accurate account of what lives needed saved. One by one, cats would emerge, most of them estimated to be 1 years old or less. The volunteers began documenting the cats & kittens with photos and giving them names for ID. Once you look into their little eyes you know they are more than just a number! The documented count was 18 but they were certain there were a few more. How many more, we didn't know.
The next day the volunteers returned. They provided the cats with fresh food, clean water and numerous clean litter boxes. They also placed numerous pet carriers around the garage with warm bedding inside and blankets draped on the outside. They left a few toys in the open spaces, and left until they were given the go to began capturing them.
Simultaneously, other RVAS volunteers began coordinating the capturing, transport and placement of each cat. And fundraising efforts began to cover the costs it would take to transport, treat and care for these special victims left behind. We are proud to have networked with some of the finest organizations and people around...and when all was said and done, 22 cats were safely captured, vetted, transported and/or placed with several already rehabilitated and adopted in forever homes!
Every cat was spayed/neutered, chipped, received a clean bill of health from all feline diseases, including feline leukemia and Feline HIV, recieved their FVRCP booster and Rabies, had their nails trimmed, received flea treatment and numerous treatments for intestinal parasites. Every cat left the vet with a up to date and clean bill of health. We couldn't thank the vet clinic and their staff enough for undertaking that enormous project by themselves.
Tragically, two lives were lost. Tootsie, who appeared slightly sick, did not recover from the anesthesia after surgery. And GinGin, who died suddenly on the table prior to surgery. A necropsy clearly showed that GinGin died from a condition called cardiomyopathy...a disease of the heart that usually goes undetected until it's too late. Needless to say, we all had tears in our eyes that day...after fighting so hard to save their lives, only to lose them to health issues.
It took a community of animal welfare people to rescue 22 lives from certain death, but we are proud that we went that extra mile in doing so. When you look into the eyes of Tango, one of the rescued kitties, or read the email updates of those adopted like Coco and Reeses, you understand why RVAS volunteers spend their free time and their energy in saving lives.
There is nothing more rewarding than saving a life, especially those lives you know would not be here, had you not made sacrifices to save them.
Whether their future is in the loving arms of their human owners, or in sanctuaries among other kitties, Belle Starr, Buffy, Buttercup, Callie, Caramel, Coco Chanel, Daisey Mae, Fagan, Faith, Lilac, Miranda, Mr. T, Polly, Reeses, Sable, Senona, Cirena, Shiloh and Tango were all given a second chance because of people who didn't say "no" when the call came!
And to Gingin & Tootsie, who were rescued, but who's ill health took them to the rainbow bridge instead...we can rest assured knowing they didn't leave this world starving in a cold dark garage.
On an average, RVAS rescues and/or assists numerous hoarding cases every year. Your support is what helps us save lives when those calls come in.
Photos and updates can be found on our facebook page.