One of the best things about posting about our exploits is knowing that Mama Su will wake up to a flurry of notifications blowing up her phone. “Really? Again?” If I’m being honest, every rescue post is a little contrived—“OK, let’s get the ‘before’ shot…”—but it’s the follow-up that deserves the real attention. Need an example? It’s been 48 hours since I pulled five kittens out of an Italian cypress (last post), and I haven’t had to do squat for them since. In contrast, Mama Su has fed the “They’re eating on their own” crew every 4 hours, plucked every flea from their “Of course they’re clean” bodies and otherwise done her magic to help those furry orphans survive life without mom.
I often portray Su as Mama Grizzly (she is), but in addition to being a YouTube-taught kitten expert and advocate, she also serves as 24/7 vet tech, gatekeeper, dishwasher, fluff & folder, transport coordinator, adopter helpline, optimist, realist and ego check. She also keeps the machine fed. My own mom won’t come by the facility unless Su confirms, “It’s safe. He ate.” I’ve seen Su bottle-feed and treat dozens of lost causes like me and never lose optimism over their prospects. I’ve heard her giggle at successes, sob at losses, and thank God they don’t issue taunting penalties for proving experts wrong because she’d be banned from the league.
I’m not sure where we found Bran, our first paraplegic, but Su insists I did, and at the time he was given just weeks to live and if he managed to survive, he’d be blind. Three years later, this clear-eyed, chubby troll still drags his rear legs and needs help peeing 2-3x a day, but he flies around the smooth floors, fears no one and now has a pal Kirk to mentor in two-legged thuggery. In Bran's mind, he's self-sufficent, but he still sparks Su to action with a twitch of his legs—“He’s gonna poop! Hurry!” But perhaps that which epitomizes Su best is the simple act of allowing him to be a normal part of the Main House crew. To this day, she arranges Bran's (and now Kirk’s) legs every time he eats so “he can be like the others.” It’s at once optimistic, empathetic and endearing and sums her up and, by extension, our crew.
Every time you read a post from us that makes you tear up or giggle or both, you can assume that there’s months of follow-up care by our crew that never gets the applause it deserves. There’s feeding and cleaning and treatments and worrying and socializing and transport and paperwork and all sorts of other work that goes by unnoticed but is vital to getting homeless paws off the street and reducing area euthanasia rates. They might not know the location of our dumpsters—some tasks are left to the Litter Guy—but then again, I don't know where we keep the KMR or Miracle nipples. To date, thousands of animals are alive and in loving homes because of their relentless efforts, and if you see one of them in your travels, they deserve your best hug. Mama Su.