Giving thanks to the “good people all around us”
It’s November. The weather here on the East Coast has shifted toward the autumnal, the days have shortened, dusk arrives a bit earlier every day, and the instinct to pull in, settle down, and take a bit of personal inventory is strong. Fall is definitely the season for introspection, and introspection often leads to giving thanks, especially in times like these. For me, giving thanks means counting my blessings. Among my own special blessings this year is the realization that, in the words of one of my new rescue partners, “There are good people all around us.”
Here’s proof: Just as I was finishing last month’s blog about how animal rescue often takes a social media village, I experienced yet another example of this lifesaving connection.
In early October, I welcomed a litter of four adorable kittens into my program. (Mamma, sadly, was nowhere to be found.) These nuggets were approximately four weeks old and eating solid food. They were rescued from outside and brought straight to my vet where they were examined. I received a call that day that one of the kittens — the pretty grey sweetie next to the black kitten — had a suspicious ringworm lesion on her tail. Ringworm is a fungus, not a worm. But the issue for me was that it is highly contagious to other pets and people, and I had so many fosters at that moment and not a single empty isolation room.
I put out the word on IG, hoping that someone experienced with this condition would step up and help. The kitten with the lesion will need to be treated for up to six weeks with daily oral liquid medicine, and her littermates need once-a-week antifungal baths. All their soft toys and blankets will also have to be washed daily.
Well, I received so many emails that I couldn’t even read them all! My heart nearly exploded from all the support. The very first email I received came from an amazing couple, who quickly drove to my vet and picked up three of the kittens. (The runt of the litter is spending his time with Dr. Jackie at Long Island Veterinary Specialists (LIVS) because of a heart issue. He also needs supplemental bottle feedings. The runt has no lesions and is getting antibacterial baths and is so far ringworm-free.)
In the meantime, this wonderful couple is treating and nurturing these nuggets until they’re ready for adoption. They also set up an IG @glass_slipper_chronicles so people can follow their “ringworm journey” and learn that this fungus is not as bad as it sounds, and that it’s 100 percent treatable if you follow the proper protocol.
I hope you’ll visit their IG and meet Jaq the chonk, Gus Gus the handsome black kitten, and Cinderella, whose ringworm condition is improving daily. (I love the name of their IG: glass slipper chronicles, the story of little Cinderella’s transformation!) Besides showing hands-on how to deal with this very common and often misunderstood fungal infection, it also demonstrates how important it is to nurture these little patients through this critical stage in their social development.
And another thing: The comments on this IG and on mine from followers around the world have brought so much encouragement. Plus, the shared personal experiences are tremendously helpful. Thank you — all of you — for your support. I couldn’t do this work without you! And thank you to this amazing foster couple who came to my “ringworm rescue”! They are truly touched by the outpouring of support they’ve received through Instagram.
Not surprisingly, they are the source for the sweet quote at the start of this blog: “Good people are all around us.” (And they, themselves, are among the best!) Their simple words are really important to remember, especially with all the problems we’re facing in the world right now. It’s too easy to miss the positive in even very difficult situations.
For example: Meet Grogu, or “Baby Yoda.” Howard gave this sweet Persian his perfect name when he came to us in mid-October. He’s only two-and-a-half years old and arrived in really bad shape. He was a bit malodorous, with his fur so severely matted with imbedded feces that it cut off his circulation and made it difficult for him to walk. I couldn’t even feel his body under the mats. It would have been easy to criticize his original family, but I have to give them credit for realizing that they just weren’t capable of caring for a Persian or providing him proper vet care. I respect them for that.
He immediately went to LIVS under Dr. Jackie’s care for a full workup. He returned to us all clean and shaved, but sadly his medical news was not bright. Little Grogu has severe heart disease and a dire prognosis, just like Yoda had when he came to us…and that was more than seven years ago! Still, we don’t know how much time Grogu has left, so we’re going to nurture and love him and hope for another Yoda miracle. He needs heart meds three times a day — and he does not like them! — but he does enjoy his morning eye cleaning. He is a loving, sweet, gentle little soul. It fills my heart with joy to watch Grogu play — for the first time in what probably is a very long time — and to see him hang out with his new buddy, Yoda. He can stay with us for as long as he needs to.
Yoda and Grogu just hangin’.
Time is often what homeless pets like Grogu need as they get ready for their forever homes. And that’s one thing that Bianca’s Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center (BFF) has given to so many cats who have been loved and nurtured there by my partners at North Shore Animal League America.
It’s hard to believe, but we’re celebrating BFF’s second anniversary this month. Named in honor of Howard and my beloved English Bulldog, Bianca, who died suddenly in 2012, BFF is a dream come true for me, NSALA, and all the dogs and cats at Animal League America.
I am so grateful to the many people who contributed in countless ways to the creation of this unique facility, including my generous friends Rachael Ray and Billy Joel. Fun fact: Billy donated the proceeds from one of his Madison Square Garden birthday shows to help me build BFF. He and his wife, Alexis, have the biggest hearts and are true champions for animals. And of course, you know what an incredible animal advocate Rachael is.
When these photos were taken at the grand opening in the fall of 2019, we had no way of knowing that this fabulous, cage-free facility would play such a vital role in supporting and enabling adoption during an unprecedented global pandemic. Not only does BFF provide a safe and nurturing environment for felines, but it also allowed for social distancing and safe adoptions throughout this challenging period. You can call it fate, but I like to think Bianca watched over us and made everything fall into place.
Howard and Bianca: She is always in our hearts.
Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving.
P.S. Because I can’t help promoting adoptions from BFF, here is a pair of small, adult cats ready for a double adoption with a very special family willing to give them another chance. Meet Sancho and Quixote!
When Sancho and Quixote’s beloved owner became very ill, NSALA warmly welcomed them back for an opportunity at a fresh start. Sancho depends on his brother for love and support, but it’s Quixote who has special needs. Quixote is deaf and blind; he feels his way through life with his open heart, and he’s always up for ear rubs and tender moments with trusted humans. Sancho and Quixote are seeking a quiet, loving home with people interested in offering these very bonded brothers a safe place to start anew. Want to be part of Quixote and Sancho’s journey? Call the Animal League America Adoption Center in Port Washington, N.Y., at 516-883-7900.
P.P.S. I hope you will join me at this festive and fun virtual event. There will be celebrities, music, laughter, an auction, and lots and lots of stories and inspiration. Plus, I’ll be sharing a special video about my work. For more info, call 516-373-3496 or email [email protected].