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It takes a shelter
As part of our continuing desire to focus on those in our community who care for unwanted animals, we are highlighting the work animal rescue organizations do in helping homeless pets find homes, health and happiness. One such organization is Lifeline for Pets. We feature here, for the first time a column written by Darlene Papa
The kind-looking woman did a double take. She was only going to pass by the cages of the adoptable cats and kittens shown by a local rescue group last Sunday at Petsmart and then head for home. She had just stopped in to buy cat food for her three cats.
But wait! What was that? The woman closed in on a rare breed not usually seen in rescue organizations–a very fluffy, chocolate-point, snowshoe Himalayan, named Koko! He was absolutely gorgeous, with deep, blue eyes, tan fur, and a little white freckled smudge on his dark brown nose. Of course, she had to ask about him.
The next thing she knew, she was cradling and cooing to this two-year-old, while he cuddled up to her as if he had been with her from a kitten. Koko was being shown by Linda, an independent rescuer with Lifeline For Pets, a small, no-kill rescue organization, based in Pasadena. Koko had been found in Lindas neighborhood, wandering around, very skittish. In fact, he was so shy and nervous that he was at first deemed to be feral. His tail had been badly hurt by someone or something, and had to be amputated. However, under Lindas loving care, it soon became apparent that he was not feral at all, but a real sweetheart.
“I have another Himalayan at home,” the woman said. Her cat was 4 years old, and shed been thinking of getting a playmate for him to help dispel some of his energy, which had been upsetting her two other senior cats. She couldnt believe that Koko was almost an exact match in appearance, and whipped out her cell phone to show pictures.
As she talked, she kept holding and petting Koko, while he put his paws on her shoulders and was the picture of pure contentment. It seemed like a purr-fect fit! Who would have expected that someone would show up with another cat like Koko, someone who was very familiar with the breed and had such a loving personality! The wonderful folks at Lifeline For Pets held their breath–would she ask to fill out an application?
“I dont know,” the woman said at last. “My cat is very active, and Koko is so mild and passive. He might not want to play as much as my own cat does. Besides, Ill be moving soon. Ill have to think about it.” Slowly, she passed Koko back to Linda, who lovingly
put him back in his cage. “Its okay,” Linda smiled, “well be here.”
This has happened many times before. Shelter folks get their hopes up when a seemingly wonderful prospective adopter appears, only to find that it isnt meant to be. However, they hope that eventually there WILL be the right forever home for these wonderful cats and kittens , whether they are a rare breed like Koko, or an “ordinary” little tabby.
It just takes time, it takes a passionate rescuer, and, often, it takes a shelter.
Lifeline For Pets is one of the many local shelters and rescue organizations which are always overfilled. Most are operated by an all-volunteer crew, and rely on donations, adoption fees, and the rare grant or two to keep going. High expenses can include rent at a housing facility, vet bills, food, and litter. They do their best with the little they have. Adoptions are sporadic, and in todays economy most people want to give up their pets, rather than adopt more. Yet, even one adoption opens the door for a shelter to accept another homeless, precious life. To find a list of no-kill rescues and shelters in the San Gabriel Valley: adoptapet.com or petfinder.com.