by Paula Hunsaker
Each non-profit rescue has there own views on who their rescue will be saving. Saving lives from kill shelters isn’t an easy decision in the world of rescue and has many heartbreaks and nights of seeing the faces of the ones we couldn’t save. Some we have to leave behind knowing those we can’t save will most likely be euthanized in just hours after leaving a kill shelter. Don’t think the faces left behind don’t haunt a rescuer every day; seeing them reaching out to us as we walk by the kennels, as if begging to have there life saved. Rescue work isn’t for everyone! It’s a seven day a weekend twenty-four hour job. When I started my rescue, I went in thinking I would save them all. But it was the hardest thing in my life to come to the fact I can’t save them all and some will be left behind. But then who does my rescue save? How to we pick who we will save?
Rescue groups aren’t rich and each cat we rescue has so much work to be put into them before they can move on to forever homes. There is housing, food, care, vet cost that is very costly to rescue groups. The list just goes on to each cat saved. Many rescue groups, like my rescue, don’t run off grants, but just by donations, supporters, volunteers, etc. That keeps our rescue saving cats from high kill shelters. Limits are set on who can be save and cared for in the proper manner needed. Each cat saved has its own group of issues that need to be cared for. The hardest question is who do we save.
When I began Feral Paws Rescue Group, being the CEO/Founder, I made the decision that our rescue would only take in cats from high-kill shelters. Their lives are on a time limit of three to seven days before being euthanized. It was hard to make the decision that our rescue wouldn’t be able to take in cats from the public. At times, we get so many calls from the public to take into our rescue a cat they own or found. When we tell them we only take in cats from high-kill shelters, some of the callers are nasty and just don’t understand we have made our goal to help the cats in high-kill shelters.
In this article, I would like to share with you some stories of those we choose to save and why. When I walk into a kill shelter, I look at the cats in need of rescue. I see so many perfect pretty kitties that will be chosen by other rescues or the public in adoptions for they are the prefect pretty kitties. When I walk into the shelters, I look at each and every kennel, looking for the ones that aren’t perfect pretty kitties and don’t have a chance to make it out of a high-kill shelter alive. Being a non-kill rescue group, we don’t have a time limit to get them ready to go up for adoption and find that forever homes.
Let’s began with a cat we named Barbwire…Barbwire is a beautiful orange and white male, fourteen months old, and a total sweetheart. When he was picked up on the streets by animal control, Barbwire was rapped up in barbed wire that ripped his back open. The day we chose to pull him from the shelter, he was set to be euthanized at the close of the day. Not sure what all we could do to help him once with our rescue or how much damage was done to him. Our rescue vet, who is just amazing, felt that we could get him well, but it would be several surgeries and skin grafts and a long recover time. We pulled him on February 18, 2022, and since then he has had four surgeries and skin grafts. During this time it was a touch and go period of time because he kept running high-temp fever and wasn’t doing well. His last and fifth surgery was on May 31 to repair the damage to his back. He has been on lots of medication to help with the infection from the damage done to his back and for pain. He has been a chap during this time. He has such a strong will to live and has been just amazing and our rescue and our vet never gave up hope. He is a good boy, and once he is ready for adoption, he will be an amazing forever friend for a loving family. All this work and caring for Barbwire has been worth every second he has been with our rescue. I am so thankful that we saved him from a high-kill shelter and don’t regret a minute of my decision to save him. When he is ready to move on to a forever home he deserves, there will be many tears to see him leave our rescue. That was our goal for him from the day we rescued him from a death sentence at the high kill shelter.
Then we have Jon & Jax…
Jon and Jax are two solid white, bonded six-month-old brothers; they are the sweetest boys. When we learned they would be euthanized at the close of the shelter on May 28, our rescue tagged them for pull. The reason they were being set for euthanasia was they are both deaf. Again not perfect kitties, but with defects, they are demeaned not adoptable by the shelter. Our rescue pulled these two brothers that are clearly so bonded together. Our rescue confirmed they are deaf, and after they were fulled vetted, fixed, chipped, and shots given, they now are ready to move on to a forever home. They are amazing in their beauty even with the defect of being deaf. Having a handicap doesn’t mean they should die or not have a forever home. They will only be adopted to the proper home that understands about having a deaf kitty as well as they must be adopted together.
Honey is totally blind…Honey is a year-old Calico that was going to be euthanized because she was said to be feral and blind. I went into the shelter to meet her when I was told she was going to be euthanized and labeled feral. I looked at her in the kennel sitting in her litter pan (as shown in the photo shelter photo). Something about her told me she was just scared and didn’t understand the loud noises around her. I thought “Nope!” We have to save her. When we got her to our rescue, we used caution because she was so scared. We just left her alone to let her know we weren’t going to hurt her. She would hiss at us at the start and didn’t want us to touch her. That was fine; we had all the time in the world to work with her. I had so much hope for Honey. Our rescue vet confirmed she was blind in both eyes. We had her spayed and all vetted, so when she came around, she could be put up for adoption. It took a little time to get her to trust us. Then, out of the blue one day, after being at our rescue for over a month, she came up to us when we went to feed her. From that point, she has been a doll. We have her up for adoption now. But we want to make sure that she finds a home that understands she is blind and how to properly care for her. We have all the time in the world to search for that forever home for Honey. Once we do find that home, she will be able to move on in life.
I have just shared a few of our rescue stories although I could go on with so many more of our rescue saving cats that aren’t perfect. When they are adopted from our rescue, I share with them their story from being pulled from the shelter and up to when they are able to be adopted. Every cat at our rescue is a special cat that wouldn’t have made it our of the kill shelter alive. The reward to our rescue and all our time and work put into getting them ready for their forever homes is the reward of seeing them move on in life. Each one has a bond with our rescue, but when it’s time to move on in life, we must let them move on to a forever home. That’s what rescue is all about!
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section & watch for more stories from Feral Paws every other month, and we would love to have you join our KRL Pets Facebook group. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Feral Paws.