2013-11-27 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

Latest on the “Kitten Bowl”: On Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014 at noon, the Hallmark Channel will kick off the firstever “Kitten Bowl” to coincide with the other big game. Get ready to cheer on your local feline heroes because Last Hope Animal Rescue in Wantagh sent their first string to this momentous event. Our team- the Last Hope Lions- is made up of tabby kittens rescued from a yard in North Babylon. National sports coverage doesn’t get any more local than that.

As mentioned in the 11/6/13 Post “Pets,” filming took place at a NYC studio during a three-day meow marathon of about 70 kitty draft picks last month. The tiny fur ball fullbacks punted, passed and tackled each other on a miniature gridiron for hours on end. There will be footage of their tailgate parties, preliminary play-offs and a championship match. Last Hope kittens are the “underdogs” pitted against North Shore Animal League’s larger feline force.

Last Hope Lion plays football during the upcoming Kitten Bowl. Last Hope Lion plays football during the upcoming Kitten Bowl. Hallmark has narrowed down the competition to four teams primarily by color. The Last Hope Lions are tabbies; the North Shore Bengals are orange and white; the Home and Family Felines are black and tuxedos while the Cedar Cove Cougars are gray and white. The last two teams are named for popular shows on the Hallmark Channel.

Superstars of each team now have “stage” football names. Hallmark christened the Last Hope Lions- Mr. Whiskers, Brett Furve, Marbles, Maverick, Socks and Tabby Romo. They will all be wearing purple collars during the TV scrimmages. In reality, they are three-month-old tabby siblings- Lexi, Avery, Derek, Merrie, Arizona and Sloanfrom North Babylon who are presently ready for adoption at the Last Hope Cat Center at 3300 Beltagh Avenue in Wantagh. Lexi is extremely athletic, possibly a Heisman Trophy hopeful. The Last Hope Lions will be facing off against opponents like Feline Manning, Tomcat Brady and Terry Bradclaw. There’s no telling what will happen when the tough get going and fur begins to fly.

Toy Collie demonstrates a pet oxygen mask. Toy Collie demonstrates a pet oxygen mask. Those interested in our “Kitten Bowl” crew should visit them now at Last Hope because there will be no living with them once they realize they are about to be celebrities. They will be demanding agents and signing bonuses, as they loudly purr: “Show Me the Money!” Fancy Feast won’t be fancy enough for them. If you are interested in adopting a “Kitten Bowl” kitty or any of Last Hope’s other cat contenders, inquire now (631-425-1884) while our tabby team is still humble and oblivious to fame. We are also planning a Kitten Bowl Adopt-a-thon at Last Hope on Feb. 2 when the tournament is aired. Stay tuned.

The Hallmark Channel is in the process of launching web pages to promote the Kitten Bowl and the Last Hope Lions. The site will be www.hallmarkchannel.com/kittenbowl/ lasthope. Visit it soon for info, updates, player photos and the full scoop about the “Kitten Bowl.” Last Hope is so grateful to the Hallmark Channel for including our “ordinary” tabbies in such a terrific broadcast brainstorm and for showcasing the plight of homeless shelter animals throughout the US. The “Kitten Bowl” will help to find many cats homes, and that in itself scores a touchdown plus the extra point.

Deer Park Fire Department heroes: Speaking of hometown heroes, on Nov. 6 at around 5:30 p.m., members of the Deer Park Fire Department saved the life of an eight-year-old Lab mix during a house fire on Old Country Road. The family was not home at the time.

Overcome by the smoke and heat, “Dee Dee” was trapped inside. Chief Tony Bilosi and Andrew Van Steen carried the 70-pound Lab mix out of the house and to the curb. Alexa Klimas-Mikalauskas assessed her while Nancy Delassalle revived the dog by fitting a human oxygen mask. Then Will Adams drove her to Deer Park Animal Hospital where she was stabilized, and later moved to VCMLI specialists in West Islip because she needed overnight monitoring. Later the dog was reunited with her displaced family.

By coincidence, Willow Pet Hotel in Deer Park held a Pet Awareness Halloween Festival in late October. The contests and activities raised $1,000 for animal welfare. Half of the proceeds were used to purchase three sets of pet oxygen masks plus support equipment for the Deer Park Fire Department, one set for each fire truck. Each set consists of five masks of different sizes that can be fitted on dogs and cats. The rest of the money was donated to Suffolk SPCA.

Marc Rosenzweig, owner/operator of Willow Pet Hotel on Deer Park Avenue, presented the masks to members of the Deer Park Fire Department on Nov. 22 at his boarding kennel. “Ironically, we had planned to donate the masks before the Lab’s rescue,” said Rosenzweig. “This heroic incident only goes to emphasize how important such life-saving equipment is to our beloved pets.” Previous to last Friday’s presentation, the Deer Park Fire Department received an award for rescuing the Lab mix at Babylon Town Hall.

Special Adoption Plea (631-643-9270): “Nakita” 13- 597, is a mature, purebred Akita at Babylon Town Shelter (Lamar Street, W. Babylon) found as a stray in Wheatley Heights. She is affectionate and rubs up against visitors like a cat. When an abscessed growth was discovered behind her ear, the shelter vet treated it with antibiotics, then recommended removal and biopsy. The report came back as malignant (fibrosarcoma- Grade 2) but with clear margins. Yes, there is a chance of reoccurrence or metastasis, but right now Nakita is fine, and may stay that way for a long time.

It is absolutely amazing that I am sitting here typing that a municipal shelter opted for surgery and biopsy. We have come so far in the 30 years that I have been profiling Town shelter dogs in this newspaper. Years ago dogs with any defect would be put down after their stray hold. Healthy owner surrenders were often allotted no time.

“Nakita” deserves a comfortable, loving home. A breed rescue group has tentatively offered to assist a foster or permanent owner with further medical expenses. Hopefully this plea will reach a sympathetic Akita lover. “Nakita” is waiting for that special person.

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