Monday, July 9, 2007

A Life Worth Saving

Meet Buttercup

Cute, isn't she? This is Sarah writing, and Buttercup has a special story which I hope will help me to drive home a point. Here is her story:

Buttercup was born on a farm just like millions of other kitties are every year. At about the age of 8 weeks, her jaw was broken. We don't know how. It could be a horse stepped on her, or maybe a dog shook her. Regardless, she ended up at the Weld County Humane Society. (Surprising since most farmers would have just shot or drowned her.) Because she had such a bad injury, Buttercup was put on the list of animals to euthanize. Fixing the jaw would have required precious money and time which are two things that are always short in the rescue world.

Luckily, Buttercup ended up in the Humane Society on a day when our own Saint Thomas (Dr. Tom Welsh) was working. He saw this beautiful, young, cream-colored, sweet kitten and thought, "I can fix this. She doesn't have to die."

Doc put Buttercup under anesthesia and placed a wire in her broken jaw to fix it. He then put her in one of the cages in our spay/neuter clinic with her name and story.

Not long after, I arrived at the shelter for adoption hours. I walked over to the spay/neuter clinic where I spotted Buttercup with her little note. She immediately started crying. When I picked her up she went into "insta-purr" mode. (It amazes me still that a kitten that had undergone as much trauma as she did was still so trusting and sweet.) I was immediately smitten by her.

I decided to take Buttercup home with me where I could take care of her during the recovery period. I already had my 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a mom with 6 kittens I was fostering, but thought "What the heck? What's one more?"

At first my 2 adult cats were wary of this funny smelling kitten. My one year old cat "Squishy" took one look at her and hissed. I set Buttercup up in a large dog crate with food, water and litterbox.

Later that day Buttercup came out of the crate to hang out again, and this time Squishy was much friendlier with her.

By the next evening, Buttercup was gettin
g several tongue baths a day by Squishy. He decided that he needed to be her new caretaker. (We now call him Uncle Squishy.)

Over the next few weeks, their love for each other grew to the point where they are now inseperable. They play together, eat together, and clean each other. My other cat Ninja has also taken to cleaning Buttercup.

It has now been 6 weeks since I brought Buttercup home to be "fostered". She has healed up beautifully even if she does have a bit of a Frankenstein mouth. The plan would have been to put Buttercup up for adoption, but I can't seem to find the strength to take her away from Squishy.

The point of the story is this: It is easy to think poorly about Humane Societies that euthanize sweet, fixable kittens like Buttercup. However, the fact of the matter is that there are millions more anim
als than there are homes to put them in. Someone has to do the "dirty work" and decide who gets the chance at life. The animals with health or behavioral problems are usually not lucky enough to get that chance. We at the Fort Collins Cat Rescue are fortunate because we are a no-kill shelter. We also, however, turn people away every day that want to bring us cats. If we weren't able to say no, we would have nowhere to put all of the kitties and would have to be a kill shelter ourselves.

It is estimated by the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) that between 6 and 8 million dogs & cats enter shelters in the U.S. every year. Between 3 & 4 million of those animals are euthanized.
That is 50%!!!!

So, in a nutshell, Buttercup was very lucky to end up at the Humane Society on a day that Saint Thomas was there. Most animals aren't that lucky. The only solution to this ongoing problem is through education and spay/neuter clinics. Please, if your animal is not already fixe
d or if you know someone that has a pet that is not fixed, have it done. We offer low-cost procedures as well as financial aid for those that need it. If all of your animals are fixed and you don't know anyone else who needs an animal fixed, you can always donate money to help someone who needs the services on a pet and can't otherwise afford it.

If all of us animal lovers work together, we can make a HUGE difference on the number of innocent dogs & cats that are euthanized every year.

Thanks in advance:
Sarah and Buttercup