Monday, December 1, 2008

Doesn't anyone want an old Rottie?

When one of our volunteers saw two dogs running down the streets of West Philadelphia, she of course stopped to see if they were ok. They were both petrified and one of them was dragging a chain behind him, but other than that they were both friendly and healthy. After a few days of looking for their owners, it became pretty clear that whoever had lost these two dogs didn't want them any more. Momma Bear (as we named her) is a sweet, old Rottie. Her son, Buddha Bear, was mixed with mastiff. Being young and healthy (he was only around a year old), we found Buddha Bear a home pretty quickly, where he is being spoiled just like he deserves. Poor Momma Bear, however, hasn't gotten her lucky break yet.
When we first brought her in, we noticed that she always had a lot of nasal discharge and that her eyes seemed pretty uncomfortable. When we had our vet look at her, she was diagnosed with entropion, a condition where the eyelid folds back over the eye, causing her fur to scratch the cornea of her eye every time she blinked. This poor old lady lived the first few years of her life with painful eyes. Now that they've been surgically corrected, her eyes are much clearer and she's a much happier dog. But being a happy dog doesn't necessarily get you a home, especially when you're an old lady rottweiler. Momma Bear loves to be snuggled; she will curl up in her foster mom's lap for hours at a time. She doesn't ask for much; a few scratches, a few minutes of play time, and she's pretty much content. And yet, she sits in foster care, still waiting for her new family to come take her home. She's not a spring chicken, so we cross our fingers that we'll be able to find her a home soon, that she gets to enjoy being the love of someone's life, even if it's only for a few months or a few years. She deserves that much.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just because we love them doesn't they don't need homes too

Sometimes rescue is fun; you pick up a stray kitten off the street, watch him grow from a little sickly fuzzball into a Tazmanian devil of kitten craziness, and then adopt him out to people that will love and adore him for his whole love. Sometimes rescue is crazy; you drive 4 hours (each way) to do a home visit for a dog that is being fostered 4 hours in the other direction, and somehow find a way to get dog and people to meet. Oftentimes, rescue is just plain frustrating.

Some of our critters are harder to place than others. For example, kittens that we post on petfinder in the midst of kitten season. Very few people are inclined to wade through an adoption procedure when they can go onto or walk into a shelter and have a happy kitten within an hour. And anyway, just because WE think our kittens are special doesn't mean that they look any different than the 1000's of needy kittens rotting in shelters and crossing their fingers for adoption.

Every now and again, we get an email on these little guys; something about our kitten has caught someone's eye, and they email us to get more information. We're always in a flurry to get these people in to meet the kitten ASAP, dropping personal plans to make it home to meet a potential adopter. And oftentimes, they fall in love with the kitten, because, again, our kittens are awesome (and really, who can meet a kitten and NOT fall in love). We love them as a home, they love the kitten, the rest is just paperwork... Or not...

All to frequently, the next day we get THE email... it says something along the lines of, "I LOVED so-and-s0-cute-adorable-kitten that I met yesterday and would LOVE to adopt him... except then I got home and (insert name here: neighbor, co-worker, friend) called me about this sad little kitten that they found out in the rain. It needed a home, and since your kittens are happily in foster care, I figured it needed to be adopted more."

And so our kitten sits in foster care for days, weeks, months longer than it should. And yes, he is loved, adored, and taken care of, but every day he sits in our foster home is one more day that he misses out on being the center of someone's universe, one more day that he thinks he's in a home where he belongs when in fact he hasn't found it yet, one more day for his foster mom to fall in love and cry that much harder when he finally leaves. And more importantly, that's one more day that the foster home is full and has to say "no" to all the other kittens that she just doesn't have room to help. One more day that sick (and even healthy) kittens at the local shelter die because there were no foster homes open to take them.

This doesn't just happen with kittens, it happens with our dogs too. Just today we got an email from a woman who had been planning to meet one of our critters. The dog she had been interested in has been in rescue for a few years, just waiting to go to the right home. After speaking to this woman, we were ecstatic; FINALLY, our pup would at least have a chance at a real home. And then again, this morning, the email: Even though I think I would LOVE your dog, there is this other dog who needs it more...

And the dog that has sat in foster care for years sits a little longer. She's a special dog that needs a one in a million owner, but unfortunately, there are millions of dogs for that owner to choose from. The dog in a rescue group always loses to the abandoned dog on the side of the road, to the dog about to be euthanized by her owners, etc. And again, that dog spends yet another day in a foster home where she is not someone's baby, she is just one of many. And her foster mom falls more and more in love with a dog she can't keep. And her rescue group turns away multiple dogs that need medical care or special treatment every day, simply because they don't have room to foster one more.

And the hardest part is that we can't really be mad. We certainly can't tell someone that our critters need it more; there are ALWAYS animals that need it more than ours. We know our animals are lucky, and we have to be happy that some lucky creature was slated to die and didn't have to.

But at the same time, we cry when it happens. We cry for our foster pets and the families they could have had. We cry for ourselves and how much more we'll fall in love with this foster baby before he finds a home. And, mostly, we cry for the dogs and cats that we just don't have room to save.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Adoption Event Re-Cap

Even though the weather report for this weekend was a little worrisome, Sunday morning dawned clear and sunny! We loaded up Squee (the coolest one eyed kitten in the world), Mama Bear (our wonderful Rottie), Gingham/Lola (the sweet pit mix), and Porter (our new beagle mix), and drove over to the Natural Pet Expo in Northern Liberties. The whole day was wonderful. Tons of people came to say "hi" to our rescues; they all felt like stars! We also got a chance to meet some other wonderful exhibitors and to spend a day with some of our wonderful volunteers. Thanks to Casey, Philippa, Ashley, Patti, Micki, and Carol for taking some time out of a beautiful Sunday to be with our critters!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Adoption Event THIS SUNDAY!!!

Come join Cares4pets (and other local animal oriented businesses) in Northern Liberties this Sunday! We'll be participating in the Fifth Annual Natural Pet Expo from 10-5 on Sunday, September 7th on 2nd St in Northern Liberties. We'll have some of our adoptable animals there to meet you- both feline and canine!

Other exhibitors include homeopathic veterinarians, chiropractors, Reiki, massage, natural food choices, etc. In addition, there will be a parade at 1 pm, a BBQ (for dogs and people alike), free samples, and more! You can check out more information at Natural Pet Expo.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gusher, the puppy with 9 lives

A few weeks ago, we got a hysterical phone call from a rescuer friend. A friend of hers had been fostering a puppy (she frequently had foster puppies in her home) when this little puppy was picked up by the head and shaken by another dog. She was distraught and didn't know what to do; not only was the puppy bleeding from the wound in his head, but he was also "acting funny". One of our volunteers came to the rescue. She immediately picked up the puppy, Gusher, and took him in to one of our vets to see if anything could be done. They kept him overnight for observation, then sent him home with us to continue "observing". Puppies with "shaken baby" syndrome generally start recovering pretty quickly... or they don't. We kept our fingers crossed for the next few days as Gusher tried to recover. For the first few days, it was really touch and go. Every time he tried to stand, he would fall over. Eating out of a food bowl was impossible, so Gusher's new foster mom fed him pieces of kibble one by one. However, by a few days out, Gusher was looking much better; now, instead of falling over, he just tilted his head to the side and was able to take a few tentative steps. He mastered eating and drinking again, and then started figuring out how to be crate trained! We've now had him for a few weeks, and he looks like a different puppy. He still tilts his head to the side, but he can run up and down stairs and play with the other dogs in his foster home, just like a normal puppy. Now that we're convinced he's through the woods, Gusher is meeting potential homes. We're of course quick to warn any potential adopters that he may suffer from seizures in the future, but we're hopeful that he'll grow into a happy, normal dog albeit a little bit tilty...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Good News (and a picture of Squinty)!

On the right, the picture you've all been waiting for... Mr. Squinty in all his squinting glory. Anyway, on to the real reason for this post...

Late last week we got the good news that Ashley, the high school Girl Scout Senior interested in helping our organization, passed her Gold Award interview and can now start working on her Gold Award project. Why is that so exciting for us? Well, for the simple reason that Ashley's Gold Award project focuses on helping our organization! Over the next few months, Ashley will be helping us to finish our website (that has been floating around in cyberspace for over a year), design a Cares4pets calendar, set up adoption events, and help us stay in touch with all of our wonderful adoptive homes. We're planning to meet up this week to start planning her project. Very exciting!!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008


About a month ago, we brought a new cat into our foster program. Rescuing cats is a frustrating ordeal. Because there is such a problem with kitty overpopulation, finding homes for our wonderful kitties is a long process. If you can pick a cute kitten up off the street or from a shelter any time you turn around, why would you want to jump through all the hoops of a rescue group to adopt a (slightly) less cute adult cat. But that being said, we love rescuing cats. From pulling stray cats (that don't want to be stray) off the street to helping sick kitties in need from shelters, rescuing cats can be very rewarding. Our most recent "addition" is named Squinty.

Squinty is, as his name implies, squinty. We're in the process of figuring out why, but in the meantime, it makes him super cute and loveable. In addition to his squinty eyes, he's also morbidly obese. Squinty came from a colony of rescued cats that live in a place akin to kitty heaven. But unlike many of the cats in the colony, Squinty wanted more. Squinty wanted a home to call his own with people that love an adore him. So when I met him, I instantly fell in love. Knowing that he would take a while to place, I had to wait until a spot opened up in my home. About a month ago, after placing Smokey and euthanizing Yum Yum (a sad story for another time), I finally brought Squinty home.

Squinty has had a rough transition to household life. Never having been an actual pet, he is working on figuring out exactly what that means. He LOVES attention, but still worries about quick movement. He's a big fan of the dog in his foster home too. He's been spending the past few weeks in the furnished basement as he adjust to being in a house, so that he doesn't have to immediately be in the mix of things. For the first few days, he hid in a corner of the basement (there are lots of nooks and crannies) and refused to talk to anyone. Only a used litter box and empty food bowl let me know that he was alive and well. After a few days, however, he started peeking his head out when I came downstairs. A few days later, he started emerging for snuggles. Now, every day when I open the door to the basement, he's sitting one step higher on the stairs, as if to say, "I'm almost ready to see what's going on up there...".

So this morning before going to work, I opened the door at the top of the stairs and just left it open. It took him a few minutes, but Squinty finally emerged for a few minutes, sniffing the house, the other cats, and the dog, before deciding his adventure was complete for the day and running back downstairs. Hopefully tonight and tomorrow, he'll stay for a little longer. And hopefully in a week or two, he'll decide that he's ready to move upstairs permanently, and join the family. When that happens, he'll go up on the website and start looking for a home. Like many of our kitties, it may be another 6 months or a year until he finally finds his forever home, but we all know that the wait is worth it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Welcome to Cares4pets!

Cares4Pets started as a small-scale rescue group a few years ago when veterinary students in Philadelphia recognized a need for animal rescue in the Philadelphia area. Initially, the students used cares4pets internally- to find homes for dogs and cats within the veterinary school and hospital community. However, as more and more people came to them with animals in need of homes, they decided to make Cares4Pets more than just a school-wide club. In the fall of 2005, Cares4Pets became a Philadelphia rescue group that adopts animals out across the Philadelphia area. In our first year, we placed over 50 animals in their forever homes. This year, we became an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization!

We're excited about sharing some of our successes (and heartbreaks) with all of our supporters and would love to hear from you as well! Thanks for reading!