New Year, New Lives to Save
“It’s going to be an amazing year!”
People say that 2020 is the year we all want to forget…but will always remember. It’s true: 2020 was tough. But despite the challenges, I find myself remembering many of the year’s surprising silver linings, like the people who decided to make working from home truly meaningful by fostering homeless pets. And then there were all those great adoptions. Last year I helped 296 nuggets find loving forever homes, including baby November (you met him in my December blog), who thrived and went to his forever family just in time to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
There were so many other silver linings, too, like the pandemic heroes in medicine and healthcare, the essential workers who made sure we had food, the teachers, the school bus drivers, and the eldercare and childcare workers… plus the ordinary people who stepped up to help both their neighbors and strangers. Yes, 2020 was dark and difficult, but there was also a lot to encourage us. And even though the virus and all of its problems are still with us, there is light on the horizon: vaccines and better therapeutics are already making a profoundly hopeful difference.
So I’m excited about 2021 and delighted about my first adoptions of the year. On January 1, kittens Celine and Auggie went home with their new mama. Celine, with me below left, is a special-needs kitty who had liver shunt surgery several weeks ago and is now on a special diet. She also needs two different medications twice a day.
Auggie, above right, is a chunky cheeked sweetheart. These two gentle kittens bonded almost as soon as they met, and I am thrilled that they found their forever home with a pediatric nurse. I could not have asked for a better adopter for Celine.
Two other fantastic adoptions involved senior Estelle and 4-year-old Belle. A few weeks ago Estelle’s “family” — and I’m being really generous calling them that — were planning to drop her off at a shelter on their way to their new home in another state. I was so relieved that a kind person intercepted her and brought her to me, just in time.
Despite everything, Estelle (declawed: OUCH!) loves people and quickly captured my heart. A beautiful, chunky potato, she’ll be cherished forever and enjoy wet food and have more space than just that one small dark room she lived in with her prior so-called family. By the time she was ready to fly, she’d sit beside me and gently tap my back or leg when she wanted more pets.
Sweet Belle (below) is a lovely dilute Calico who’s diabetic. It’s always fascinating to post a diabetic kitty on Instagram and read the flood of comments from followers who want to share their experience and reassure people that giving insulin to a cat is not a big deal. It really is “easy-peasy,” as one person wrote. Belle went home with an experienced diabetic kitty family, which includes her new diabetic brother, adorable Smudge, to live her happiest, healthiest life.
If the first few days of 2021 are any indication, this year is going to be amazing!
I’ve always thought that January is a great time to get a fresh start on chores that might have gotten away from me during the holidays. For one thing, it’s the perfect opportunity to give our pets special attention, including getting up to date on all veterinary services, especially this year if they’re overdue because of the pandemic. Veterinary clinics have made it very safe to visit during the pandemic. Most of them come to your car upon arrival and take your pet while you wait in the car. Vaccinations are so important to keep up with, and so is your pet’s dental health. In fact, I can’t stress this enough. Your pet’s dental health can affect his/her heart, lungs, and kidneys, so maintaining regular check-ups is crucial to your pet’s overall health and wellness.
It’s so important to keep an eye on your pet’s behavior to spot dental problems. Just last week, Yoda was drooling a lot and his breath was extra stinky, so we immediately got him a vet appointment. Do not ignore these signs! We all know how painful a toothache is. Imagine not being able to tell anyone. As pet parents, it’s up to us to pay attention to any abnormal behavior or smells and address them right away. The veterinary experts at North Shore Animal League America have put together a helpful factsheet, Keep Your Pet Smiling: The Importance of Dental Health. Check it out today!
Yoda’s procedure went well, but the poor guy was very groggy from the general anesthesia he needed for his extractions and dental cleaning. We were able to pick him up in the afternoon the same day as his procedure. It took him a few days to come down from his painkiller high, but this is normal.
Cats like Yoda are lucky to have families who care for their health. Most of the world’s cats and dogs wander the streets without love, food, or attention. So when I was contacted by a woman who rescues cats and kittens in Oman, I agreed to help with two adult cats who were ready to fly — literally — from Oman to the U.S.
She arranged for their 26-hour flight, and that’s how I met Dixie and Gertrude.
One-year-old Dixie is an Arabian Mau, a naturally occurring domestic breed related to the desert cat, native to the Arabian Peninsula. She is elegant, long-legged, ridiculously cute, and very talkative. In fact, she is the life of the party, one of the funniest most outgoing kitties I’ve ever met…and I’ve met a lot of kitties. Not surprisingly, she was quickly adopted to one of my previous adopters and is happy and loved by everyone in her new family, including my old boyfriend, Jerome.
It took a few days for 5-year-old Gertrude (above) to find her land legs after that long flight, but when she did her personality quickly emerged and she is an absolute delight. She is talkative, like Dixie, and very playful. She needs a little more drawing-out, but let me brush her and always needed to be touching me. It’s very obvious she was once loved but had to survive on the streets for quite some time. But those days are so over! She has a new home and a new mama to make sure she’s safe and loved.
I was thrilled to introduce my colleagues at North Shore Animal League America to the Oman group, which is now coordinating another rescue transport! Animal League America has a lot of experience with international rescue, having rescued animals from Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and South Korea in 2020 alone. It’s tremendously exciting to add Oman to this list.
And while I feel bad about that 26-hour flight, I think a happy life is worth it. If you have any doubts, check out Dixie’s Instagram @jeromeandtheo and tell me that 26 hours in cargo wasn’t worth it. She’s so happy and loved, and so is Gertrude @sweetgertiefromoman.
There were many other New Year’s adoptions that I’d love to share, each a story full of hope for the many years to come. But I’m happy to report that the list is much too long to include in this blog.
I believe that all of those adoptions bear witness to the joy of animal companionship in an uncertain world. Our pets’ unconditional love is one thing we can depend on every day of the year.
Happy New Year!
P.S. Don’t forget to watch Hallmark’s Kitten Bowl VIII on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7, at 2pm/1c. Once again I am honored to host this adorable, lifesaving event, for which Animal League America supplied all the kitten cat-letes, who have all been adopted!
See you on the sidelines!