Sunday, 13 July 2008

SPCA Saturday and Serene Sunday

One and a half weeks more before Keisha and her babies can be put up for adoption. It was another busy day at the SPCA. I arrived at the shelter around noon to find that the front area was packed with visitors. I hope they were all potential adopters, because our animals are in very urgent need of new homes.

I got my dog-bathing and tick-washing gear and proceeded to bathe and de-tick all the dogs in Kennels G and E. Rose joined me later and we managed to bathe almost all the dogs from the two kennels between us. It remained thankfully warm until around 1630h, when the skies began to get dark.

After Rose, the vets and the staff left the shelter around 1700h, Reve and I let the dogs out to play in the compound and began cleaning the shelter. I started by soaping and disinfecting Kennels E, G and H, and then moved on to cleaning the Reception/Admin/Office areas, the maternity kennels, the puppy kennels and the Cattery.

It was while cleaning the Cattery that something terrible happened. I heard meowing and yowling from the guttering and tried fruitlessly to pry the metal grating open to get the cat out. Something was pulling the cat backwards, and I hoped he hadn’t snagged himself on something sharp. The cat finally managed to free himself and shot out of the gutter and to the dark recesses of the Cattery, and I went after him in hot pursuit to see if he was badly hurt.

Linda then came in crying and holding part of the cat’s tail that had been torn off by dogs. The cat had somehow managed to escape from the Cattery through the gutter system because the metal barriers were no longer secure. I tried to pick up the severely bleeding and traumatized cat but he was too fierce to be handled even with gloves on.

“Somebody, get me some wound spray, I think I can save this cat”, I cried, but before I could get the medicine out of Reve’s basket, Muniandy had entered the Cattery and put the unfortunate cat to sleep. Linda cried because she blames the cat’s death on the poor living conditions in our underfunded shelter, while I cried because I believed I could have saved the cat, even if it meant selling my soul to pay for the vet bills.

I was feeling very depressed by the time I finished cleaning the rest of the shelter. I hate it that the battle against animal cruelty is far from over. I hate it even more that our shelter is so underfunded and poorly run and there are never enough adopters for all our beautiful babies. I hate it most of all that I wasn’t able to save every one of the beautiful animals from euthanasia.

A torn tail and spine may look gruesome but it isn’t a death sentence. I would have sold myself to raise the funds to pay for the poor kitty’s vet bills. The tail would have to be amputated and the wounds stitched up. It would take him 2 – 3 months to heal. Then I could have him vaccinated and neutered and released. He is an adult cat and plenty streetwise. He could live in my house, like Halle does, and roam the garden and surrounding areas. It would not be a bad life at all.

I was so blue when I got back to the parental home that Mum asked me why I looked so tired and down in the dumps. I told her about the cat and she was shocked and upset. She too said that we could have raised the money together to save the poor kitty. But as I had explained before, shelter animals are routinely euthanized for lesser reasons. Even the healthy young ones are euthanized rather than neutered and released. I felt really gloomy thinking about all the animals I didn’t manage to help, but I was also immensely grateful to Mum for her understanding and support. I think I have a very special mother, because I can’t think of a great number of people (especially retirees who don’t have very much money) who would want to take the effort to save a wounded cat when there were so many healthy ones being put down too.

I felt better by Sunday morning and got up in time to help Mum prepare lunch for the family. Gave Amber a bath and tick-washed both Amber and Little Big Dog, who has made a full recovery from the neutering procedure. Cleaned the kitchen and the laundry area. After lunch, I asked Mum to come spring clean her closet so I’d have some company while I spring cleaned her room. Managed to pick out a lot of clothes to be given to charity (refugee settlements and indigenous communities). Then I cleaned the living and dining rooms while waiting for the thunderstorm to let up so I could take the dogs out on a car ride. Little Big Dog didn’t want to go and struggled mightily, so in the end, only Amber went on a car ride with me. Mum and I walked the dogs around 1900h after the rain.

Fed the dogs, had dinner, did the washing up and went back to the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters around 2200h. Looked in on Keisha and her babies. Good ol’ Jess had already cleaned up their cage and fed them. Jake, Jess and I watched CSI together, and I kept myself busy sorting and folding clothes and folding the newspaper sheets for cleaning the cat litter up with. I tidied the ‘Quarters, sorted out my clothes and files for the following day, retired to bed with Tintin’s Adventure of the Red Sea Sharks, and hoped that the following week would be much better.

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