One of the surprising facts of the story of Frankencat and Old Grand Dad was the fact that it may have never happened at all. These two animals were going to be killed. Each of them had more strikes against them than most animals entering shelters. Old Grand Dad was in a county pound in Ohio and as an unneutered male pit bull, blind and deaf and old, he was by many standards in shelters all over the country unadoptable for his breed, his body parts, his age and his infirmities, and in fact had an appointment with the gas chamber. Frankencat was trapped by animal control and as most cats will when trapped he acted aggressive so was considered feral, he was not neutered and he had an open infection on his face, a damaged eye, a broken jaw that had healed askew and his fur was black, and cage space was at a premium. Any one of these points against them might make them a sorry case, but all of them together made each of the animals “unadoptable”.
“Unadoptable” is a human definition. Animals don’t define their worth that way either in a biological sense to each other or in their relationships with humans. Each had much more to give than those assessments defined. In each case, compassionate people saw past the labels and reached out to bring them to safety, and they were rescued from that fate. Those were stories enough on their own.
Then they went to foster homes and found each other there, and the magic began to happen between them. The potential was in them even when they were considered unadoptable. Our label made no difference in their potential, only in their ability to fulfill that potential.
People put them in danger of death, other people pulled them out of danger to safety. It’s a choice based on how we feel about these lives. If instead of looking at numbers we all looked at faces and knew that each one deserved to live, if that would instill in people a compassion that would stop them from neglecting or abandoning their animals and create a society that discouraged and punished neglect, abuse and abandonment of animals as it enforces other laws, and that all animals, whether they belonged to us or not or to no one at all, should each be considered a loving being deserving of respect and care then no shelters would need to choose between “adoptable” and “unadoptable” and all would be “no-kill”, they would be what they were designed to be, a safe haven for the animals who share our lives when they were in need. It’s a choice, and extends beyond the bounds of our own homes to animals everywhere, but it begins with each of us.
. . . . . . .
Read the story of Frankencat and Old Grand Dad in “Devoted to the End, Frankencat and Old Grand Dad”.
Read more stories in the category of Essays.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!