Our adoption event at PetSmart Riverpark wrapped up with 15 furry Kirkland hustlers finding new families on which to work their mischief. Natalie Schafer, Stephanie Yeats Cymanski and Sarah Hueck did yeoman’s work preparing adoption packages, hauling gear and cats to and from the store, setting up and staffing the event, presenting our gremlins in the best possible light and holding their tongue when I stumbled in late with grumpy lifers in poopy carriers to add to the mix. We enjoyed a steady stream of visitors, rescue friends and pet parents to our speed dating event, and the pets we placed in four days (about 1 for each hour onsite) suggests that more than a few people out there need a little more purr in their lives.
Among the highlights of the week, Troubles (aka the 180W to 41S freeway overpass kitten) found a forever home with Daisy, another Mama Stephanie foster, and Astro, a Garage 2 office cat, sent Natalie to the back of the store sobbing when his new pet parent nodded, “Yes!” “I didn’t think I was gonna cry like that,” she grinned between sniffles, but if you know our crew and the emotional investment they make in every little one under our care, it was not at all unexpected. It’s hard letting go.
And then there was Pretzel. Pretzel came to us in early May when I toured a local shelter and one of the staffers pulled me aside and presented a newborn kitten born with his legs crossed. The shelter didn’t have the time or resources to search for a solution, his litter mate had already passed and his prospects onsite weren’t good. Having no experience with such things, I responded, “Of course”, finshed the tour with him in hand and set about finding a team that might be able to get him back on his feet.
After reviewing YouTube videos on swimmers’ legs and other similar afflictions, I concluded that I had no idea what I was doing, so I connected with our friends at The Cat House On The Kings.com for guidance. At their Spring Fling open house, Tammy Barker-Noell introduced me to Carla, a woman with the aura of a druid and a resume that include physical therapy on cats with deformities and neurological issues. Many moons ago, I was married by a druid in a tree house—true story—and given how that worked out, I thought it best to recruit Kirkland super-fosters Sarah Hueck and Cassie Garcia to prevent a similar misstep.
Once introduced, Sarah, Cassie and Carla concluded that I was a distraction, dropped me from the text thread and collaborated on a treatment plan for Pretzel—physical therapy, massages and a brace crafted from a shoe insole. A few weeks later, Cassie forwarded a video of Pretzel prancing about—What the!—and after a few more weeks of therapy, neutering and vaccines, the trio deemed this little rogue fit for adoption. Last Friday, he bonded with a couple looking for love—he started purring when they picked him up—and after assurances about ongoing treatment, they welcomed him into their home.
Fifty years ago, Mama Kirkland impressed upon me to “leave things better than you found them and they might invite you back.” I didn’t expect that axiom to prove itself with cats in trees or storm drains or with fixable deformities, but it has, and the sheer volume of tags we get suggest that others believe what we do has value and leaves the animal world a little better than we found it. Pretzel.