Between three and four million pets lose their lives in shelters in the US each year despite all our efforts to find them an adoptive home, and yet only 30% of pets adopted across the country are adopted from shelters.* While we celebrate the happy adoptions, “Remember Me Thursday” hopes to remember those pets who were not adopted and “shine a light” on those who are still waiting for forever homes—and who we can save and help to reduce the numbers of pets euthanized in shelters each year by encouraging the adoption of shelter pets.
The Helen Woodward Animal Center, the organization behind the “Remember Me Thursday” campaign, encourages animal lovers and animal welfare organizations not just in the US but across the globe to come together on the fourth Thursday of September—this year, Thursday, September 26, 2013—with a Remember Me Thursday pet candle-lighting ceremony.
According to the website,
“The candles, which will be lit on the exact same day across the world, will honor the millions of pets who lost their lives without the benefit of a loving home and shine a light on the millions of healthy pets who are still awaiting adoption. The Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign encourages individuals to light a candle this day (literally or virtually) and to opt to adopt, reducing the millions of orphan pets euthanized each year.”
The Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign is championed by Mike Arms, President and CEO of Helen Woodward Animal Center, and creator of both the International Pet Adoptathon and successful Home 4 The Holidays program which, in partnership with national animal organizations, has placed 8.3 million pets in homes since 1999. He is joined in partnership with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, which represents over 150 animal welfare organizations in New York, New York and by animal organizations worldwide.
To read more about this event and to light a vitual candle in remembrance of a shelter pet, visit visit www.remembermethursday.org.
We remember pets in shelters and rescues every day here on The Creative Cat and hope you’ll visit the site and light a virtual candle, and also spread the word in social media as well as go out and actively encourage someone to adopt a pet from a shelter. Locally, an article cited statistics from a Best Friends Animal Society survey of 1,000 young adults, the new generation of pet guardians, showing that only 31% had adopted their pets from shelters, had little idea that pets faced euthanasia if they weren’t adopted, and viewed shelter pets as “damaged goods”. Others insist they need to “know what they’re getting” when they adopt an animal and opt for a purebred pet. We need to even out the playing field and highlight all those animals in shelters who are waiting to fill the needs of these prospective adopters.
Shelters for animals are the center of services for them, a place to land when homeless but not the end of the line or their only option for finding a new home. Many shelters have outreach programs that place pets in PetSmart programs or in other pet stores in their area, or who have adoption kiosks in malls, who attend community events or any number of other offsite adoption opportunities for animals. Many also work with their local community through smaller rescues who can take special needs pets and foster homes who can raise young kittens or puppies, administer medications to sick animals or socialize a frightened animal. All these actions have helped to reduce the numbers of euthanasia in shelters as well as increase the adoption of animals who find themselves in shelters.
As part of Remember Me Thursday, I’m sharing the story of Baxter and Bailey, two cats who we won’t be remembering by lighting candles today because of a shelter who does its best to give frightened cats an extra chance, rescuers who were ready to take the two and a foster home who helped them recover from the trauma of losing their human. The actions of the shelter itself, their rescuers and their foster home all changed the game for these two cats and proved that shelter cats are worth the effort of saving and are excellent pets. Bailey, who initially needed to be sedated for his exam, has been adopted and his new human sends photos and messages frequently about how wonderful he is, no better proof that shelter pets deserve a second chance.
. . . . . . .
“Bailey has a forever home! Thank you to everyone who played a part in saving him. I am in tears and hoping his first mom is smiling down from heaven.”
Back in February I included a photo of two orange and white cats huddled in a cage. The precious companions of an elderly woman who was hospitalized and later died, they were left in the home, then taken to a shelter. Traumatized and fearful, they failed their “temperament test” and were to be euthanized if the owner didn’t reclaim them. But the Animal Rescue League and Wildlife Center of Western Pennsylvania works with rescuers who will claim such cats and they were rescued and taken to a foster home. Now, after months of patient affection and introductions to living in the foster family’s home, Bailey was adopted to a new forever home.
A foster home for a companion animal isn’t just a place for them to sleep, quite often it’s a place for them to heal physically and emotionally at the hands of a gifted and understanding human. Bailey and Baxter had a lot of healing to do, and the whole emotional story of the woman who died leaving these two young cats not thinking they’d end up dying in a shelter tore at all our hearts in rescue. A happy ending needs to be shared. Here is their original story, below.
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It
These two orange cats are only two of far too many who find themselves homeless after an elderly owner dies either without leaving instructions, or thinking their children will take care of their pets as they did themselves. Sometimes this does happen, but sadly many pets find themselves in the situation of these two orange guys, left in the home until it’s to be sold, then dropped off at a shelter or tossed out in the street after they’ve been traumatized by all the changes and often frightened or in poor physical health, acting hostile to people and condemned to death just because they are frightened.
I received an e-mail from a trusted friend (ironically I know her as a dog rescuer) that began, “I got a phone call from a nurse at a local hospital…”
A member of the family of a patient who died asked her if she knew anyone who could take in 2 cats, two and three years old, who their owner “loved dearly”. They took them to one of the shelters, but the shelter informed them the cats would have to be euthanized the next day if they didn’t come get them (as it turns out it was because they had been exhibiting “feral behavior”, which means no one could handle them for an exam). It seemed the family was here from out of town.
She went on to describe the cats: “Baxter is 2 years old, neutered and up to date on his shots…he is an orange & white tabby. Bailey is 3 years old, neutered and up to date on his shots and is all white with a tabby tail. They are very sweet cats and love each other a lot so they would hope they can find a home together.”
A person in our rescue group called the number for the son for more information. The man’s mother had died a month before and he fed and watered the cats in her house, which was being cleaned out. He took the kitties to the Animal Rescue League where he was called to reclaim due to “feral behavior”. Many shelters will decide to euthanize a cat if a team of people can’t safely handle it during an intake exam, which might also mean the cat would be difficult to adopt. The Animal Rescue League, instead of readily euthanizing the cat, has a “reclaim fee” and will call the person who surrendered it, tell them the situation and give them an opportunity to reclaim the cat, in this case both cats.
The son believed the cats were simply accustomed to one person, his mother, who had raised them from kittens, and that they were really only frightened. He also had a newborn child and felt he was out of possibilities.
A member of our rescue group who I’ve featured also offered to foster these two, ease their fears and hopefully get them to a trusting point where either she can find a home for them or they can return to the shelter for another chance.
After some tense moments of losing track of the son and the cats and the fear they were in danger, the cats were taken from ARL to their foster home.
Their rescuer described them as wary to frightened. “The orange guy wants to eat me. The other white/orange does let me touch him although he is scared,” she said. I’m sure in her capable hands they’ll come to trust new humans. And so they did, Bailey first, Baxter taking a little more time.
This foster home has cats and kittens of all ages who are fostered in the house with people and dogs as soon as they are old enough or well enough or social enough to be able to live communally.
Just two weeks later, Bailey was “a love bug”, no longer frightened or aggressive but friendly and affectionate, although he would wait nearly six months to find his forever home.
And as we see above, he was adopted into a forever home by someone who adores him, and a dog who adores him too!
Baxter is still up for adoption
Uncertain about people for quite a while Baxter is now a complete love bug. Baxter made a big fuss when his person’s son dropped him off in a shelter, protecting his turf and his fur brother Bailey, and both were in danger of being euthanized for being unadoptable.
Six months later Baxter is an orange marshmallow, and he’s looking for a new human to share his devotion. Baxter likes to watch TV with his people and sleep on their laps.
Make his former human smile down from wherever she is to see her orange boy once again in a loving home.
If you are interested in Baxter, please contact me. Baxter is located north of Pittsburgh, PA.
. . . . . . .
Help create more success stories like Baxter and Bailey. Encourage people to adopt rescued pets. And don’t forget to light a candle for those we’ve lost but can not forget. They could be Baxter or Bailey or the cat sitting on your lap right now.
*These statistics are from the HSUS.
Can’t adopt? Foster! Can’t foster? Donate or volunteer.
There are so many ways you can help cats who need homes and care. You may not have room to adopt another cat, but can foster a cat or kitten for a few weeks. If not that, you can volunteer at a shelter or with a rescue, or donate. You do this because you love your cat, and by doing so you help all cats. No matter which of these actions you take, you help to save a life, and make life better for all cats.
- Adopt one of the cats I’ve posted here, or from any shelter or rescue near you, or from Petfinder, to open up a space for another cat to be rescued and fostered.
- Offer to foster cats or kittens for a shelter or rescue near you.
- Volunteer at a shelter or rescue.
- Find a group of volunteers who work with homeless cats and help them with their efforts.
- Donate to a shelter or rescue near you.
If you can foster kittens or adults cats to help prepare them for a forever home, please run to your nearest shelter and find a cat who needs you! Anyone can help with this effort at any level, even if all you do is donate to a shelter or rescue so they can help to pay for the food or medications needed for their foster, or the spay/neuter/veterinary care during a clinic.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
Do you appreciate the stories and images we offer you each day?