2018-01-03 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

“Out with the old; in with the new.” There were many joyful pet and shelter rescue moments in 2017. Before we close the books on last year, this “Pets” will list several snippets of happy dog and cat happenings:

Two house fire cats:

Houdini, an 11-year-old black cat woke up her sleeping Massapequa family with yowls to alert them the house was ablaze. The family and dog escaped to safety but Houdini disappeared, and was thought to have perished. There were unconfirmed sightings and “someone” was eating cat food left on the upstairs deck. Almost a month later and after only one humane trap tutorial, her owner trapped her on the deck, and Houdini has been reunited with her family.

*Ethan, a young Russian Blue mix came to Last Hope in Wantagh after his family home burned down. Right before the holidays he was adopted and renamed “Smokey” for three reasons: his gray fur, the house fire and his new owner in Franklin Square who happens to be a volunteer fireman.

Two patient pits:

After Ethan (now "Smokey") lost his home in a fire, he was adopted by a volunteer fireman. After Ethan (now "Smokey") lost his home in a fire, he was adopted by a volunteer fireman. Rudy, a Pit mix, found his forever family after a long, combined wait at Hempstead Town Shelter and then Last Hope. He came into the town shelter as a young stray with a deformed front leg, most likely a birth defect. He pitched forward with impaired balance. The specialist was concerned about pain from nerve damage plus arthritis later on. She recommended amputation which she did in the spring. After a steady recovery, Rudy was ready for adoption. His big day came during the Bissell Foundation “EMPTY the SHELTERS” event in the summer when a family with young kids adopted him.

At Christmas, Rudy’s Mom posted such a lovely update:

Rudy, the three-legged Pit, going home with his new family Rudy, the three-legged Pit, going home with his new family “We are so thankful for our dog, Rudy! Thank you for caring for him, and for loving him as we do. Rudy is such a blessing to our family, and truly has made us complete!”

Doug, also a Pit mix, was so used to being part of a family, being around kids, romping with other dogs at the dog park and going on pup playdates. All that came to an abrupt end when his owner remarried and the couple decided to keep her two dogs and ditch Doug.

He was at Babylon Shelter two weeks where he was a perfect gentleman. Then he moved to Last Hope and was adopted by a family with two little girls about two months later. It’s a mutual love affair at home, where Doug sits on everyone’s lap, as if he were a Yorkie.

Eagle Scout candidate’s two-part project:

Steven Reisert a senior at Plainedge High School completed his two-part Eagle Scout project. Both facets will help homeless cats. Part 1 of Steven’s Eagle Scout Project involved safety for Last Hope’s long timer cats in the free roamer rooms. Angie a free roamer (now adopted) fell from one of the high climbing ledges when she was found with a badly injured leg. The ledges are lots of fun for cats but narrow. Steven widened the ledges with planks of wood specially cut and bent to fit, and then matched the paint. Climbing is much safer for our cats now.

Part 2 of Steven’s Eagle Scout Project involves warmth and shelter for feral cats. He built three insulated cat houses with siding shingles, plexi-glass windows and roof shingles. Two cats can huddle inside together. These shelters look like miniature Cape Cod homesgorgeous and warm. His Eagle Scout project will help homeless cats inside and outside for years to come.

Injured by a bear? Oh, my!:

Did Howi, a small, white Shepherd mix, have a close encounter with a bear? This little guy was found as a stray in Virginia with cuts on his torso that Animal Control felt were caused by swipes from a bear.

He was treated at the vet but also tested positive for heartworm and began his treatment while in the care of Amherst Humane. He arrived at Last Hope on a rescue transport the week before Thanksgiving. Within weeks a family took him home for a prolonged foster while he completed his heartworm treatment, with plans to finalize his adoption when he was done at the vet.

A CH cat finds a home:

We first met Bobbi (formerly “Bobbles”) as an adorable four-month-old kitten with cerebellar hypoplasia (CH). It’s a congenital coordination condition caused if a kitten’s Mom is either exposed to feline distemper, a toxin or has the feline distemper shot late in pregnancy.

CH is not contagious, progressive or life threatening. It causes the kitten to have a head bob and wiggly gait. In Bobby’s case, his head bobs and only his hind limbs are ataxic. He can zoom, climb, jump, use the litter box and steal your heart. BOBBY was found alone in W. Babylon right after Christmas 2016. He had a full work up at VMCLI the veterinary specialists in W. Islip.

At Babylon Shelter, Bobby was neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and FeLV/FIV tested negative.

He moved to Last Hope last January. Within minutes he had a fan club. Several weeks later a family adopted him, and devised special ramps so he could climb up on the bed with them.

Two 2018 coming attractions… Not sure which will happen first:

Dusty, an exceptional Last Hope kitten that lost both eyes because of a severe infection will be featured on Hallmark Channel’s “Kitten Bowl V” on Sun., Feb. 4 with his sister Cecelia.

Dusty leads a full, active life, running, climbing and jumping. He was adopted by a family after the little girl asked for a special needs kitten rather than have a birthday party. Cecelia was placed with a family member of the studio owner where Kitten Bowl V was filmed.

Hopefully, when Dusty appears on national TV with host Beth Stern, he will inspire viewers across the US to adopt a special needs cat (or dog).

The new Babylon Animal Shelter is nearing completion. In several months we are anticipating a gradual move into the state of the art facility, and eventually a grand opening. Stay tuned….

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