Shelter on the Hill: A Humane Society

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Bunny in a Box

Elsa the Bunny in a Box

Hello All - Welcome to 2018! As the Animal Care Center enters it's fifth year of operation would you believe that SOTH's first re-homing success for 2018 is a lovely little white rabbit? As most of you know Elsa was found in a cardboard box in the big-rig lane in front of the Motel 6 parking lot. The box was marked "kitchen" and "glass." Motel 6 staff were horrified when they found that a box that could of been crushed by an 18 wheeler didn't contain kitchenware at all - it contained a little white bunny.

Fortunately SOTH's wonderful on-line presence attracted the notice of a recently bereaved rabbit owner who was immediate interested in adopting the bunny we named "Elsa." In order to get Elsa into her new home she first needed to go to Valley Vet N-P to be spayed on January 2nd. When I arrived at the ACC that morning it was a a bit of shock to find three baby rabbits - stillborn - in her kennel. At the spay/neuter clinic the vet decided not to operate but rather to reschedule in two weeks. Later that night in her new home Elsa was subdued and still not eating. Elsa finally delivered another stillborn baby later that night and a fifth dead baby the next morning.

I am happy to report that today she is feeling better eating normally and kicking up her heels and doing "bunny hops" in her new home. Today her new mom sent the following messages: "She certainly feels at home and wow that was a quick recovery- just amazing! PRINCESS. ELSA HAS CLAIMED HER KINGDOM! and "Her luckiest break may have been the incident of being a short time resident of SOTH!. YOU GUYS SAVED HER LIFE!"

I just want to add - Good Job Everyone! - and Happy New Year!

Candace Huskey, President

A Tale of Two Kitties

Cotton-Marie's Ride

SOTH's Animal Care Center is located just off the main interstate highway of the West Coast. Stretching 1,381 miles from the Canadian border to Mexico, it is estimated that more than 70,000 vehicles pass by the ACC each day - many of them carrying four-legged passengers.

And SOTH has been fortunate to shelter several of these four-legged travelers in their time of need. Typically it's a stray canine is brought to the shelter - found to have escaped his vehicle at a rest stop or even worse, an accident on the notorious part of I-5 known as the Lebec Curve. But recently the ACC was able to shelter two long-distance traveling felines.

In August a distraught traveler came to the shelter to report a 6 year old cat went missing while re-fueling in Gorman, a travel stop three miles south. He was taking the cat and three chihuahuas from Arizona to a new home in Spokane for a friend. After searching for more 10 hours he told us he had no choice but to continue the journey - and leave the beloved feline behind.

Several days later a good Samaritan brought in a stray cat she found behind her barn - in Gorman. Could this possibly be the same kitty? We called the number he left - it went to an answering machine.

Cotton-Marie and friends

The stray kitty was small for an adult cat, black and white and wearing a red collar It had to be her. But the next day the number went again to an answering machine. So kitty was named Patti and volunteers did the usual feline health evaluation, vaccinations, and treatment for internal and external parasites. And discovered she had an upper respiratory disease. That resulted in a trip to the vet and beginning twice daily antibiotic administrations. Despite being confined to the isolation of the Special Needs Unit, medications, barking dogs and multiple different care givers, little Patti always offered a cheerful greeting and affectionate cheek- rubbing to everyone who ministered to her. And every day we all waited for that return phone call.

After 10 days it came - and there were no volunteers to answer the phone. So just a message - So glad you have my cat. Her name is Cookie. I've had heart surgery and I'm still in the hospital. Click.

It took another month of phone tag to finally talk to Cookie's owner and get information on her final destination in Spokane. Discussion of Cookie's transportation options began to take second place to preparations for SOTH's annual Wine & Cheese fundraiser which was fast approaching. Until we heard that a couple was from Olympia, Washington were driving down for the event. And not only would they take little Cookie back to Washington with them, they would also drive the additional 300 miles to Spokane to reunite her with her three chihuahua friends. And so it happened. Just three days after SOTH's best annual fundraiser, Cookie was a happy cat in her new home, with her old friends.

Less than two weeks later the ACC received a call from a trucking company in Minnesota. "One of our drivers took ill and is in a hospital in Bakersfield. His cat is still in his truck at the bottom of the Grapevine. Can you take care of her?" And so that afternoon a brown and gray tabby named Cotton-Marie moved into the ACC cattery.

Unlike the affectionate Cookie, Cotton-Marie greeted everyone with flattened ears and an angry Hisssss! She was never seen out of the cubby part of her condo during the day and we worried about her eating. But every morning her food dishes were empty and her litter box appropriately full so we believed she was doing ok physically.

After a week Cotton-Marie's Hisssss! started to change. It seemed a little softer, even perhaps a little wistful. But any attempt to further a relationship was rebuffed.

Cotton-Marie's Ride

And then one morning the owner of the trucking company called. Cotton-Marie's driver was still under medical care and unable to pick up his truck - or his cat. "So I'm flying into LAX tonight about midnight. I think I can get the truck and pick up the cat tomorrow morning - if that's OK." We cheered. Cotton-Marie was going to go home in her truck!

Of course we still had to get the still less-than-friendly Cotton-Marie into a crate and over to the truck stop. It took two of us and it was noisy - but there were no injuries. Turned out Cotton-Marie was all bluff and no action.

The owner of the trucking company looked a little apprehensive as we handed over the crate containing still protesting Cotton-Marie. "I'm a dog person" he said. "I've not been around cats. Any suggestions?" Now it was our turn to be apprehensive. "Just make sure whenever you stop the cat is never by the door" we said, fervently hoping that Cotton-Marie would be so happy to be back in truck that she wouldn't even think of trying to escape. And waved good by.

And so it happened. We gave it ten days and then called Cotton-Marie's driver in Minnesota. He was doing well he said but still on medical leave. And Cotton-Marie? "She's a changed cat!" he exclaimed. "It's hard to believe it's the same cat!"

Oh noooo, we thought. Her stay at the shelter had traumatized her in some awful way. The driver went on "It used to be whenever we had a few days at home she was angry and hissy and wouldn't let anyone pet her. But now she'll rub on you ask to be on your lap and purrs - now she's just one happy cat! I can't thank you all enough for taking care of her!"

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