Welcome to Shelter Life at the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
We began as the Oakland SPCA in 1874. Today, the East Bay SPCA includes two animal shelters and three clinics in our community.
This is our day.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
An Auspicious Anniversary
We've posted about Sugarfoot in here before. Sugarfoot is a cat that lives in the Tri-Valley facility office.
She's our latest "shelter cat' -- chill with dogs, so the perfect foil to see if a dog is aggressive towards cats, indifferent, or playful.
In her spare time, she tortures my dogs, who don't have the freedom around the office that she enjoys.
She sits around the corner from my dogs -- because if she sat in front of them, she'd be charged and no matter how chill she is, it's startling to have 160 pounds of pure, dumb Labrador rushing at you. But right around the corner, there she sits, torturing them with the knowledge that she is there.
But that is only part of her day: she has a routine that involves spending time sleeping at the top of her very, very tall cat tree. Sleeping in the black furry donut on A's desk. Quick naps in the kitty cube in the hall.
And hours of playing bouncy-bounce with the calendar on L's desk.
I don't know if you can see that, but one of Sugarfoot's day time activities is to sit on L's desk and bounce the calendar with her paw. Over and over again. Sort of like having OCD. She got all shy being filmed, but you get the idea.
Why does she enjoy such a life? Because she arrived in our shelter on December 15, 2005. (Yes, I missed acknowledging her one-year anniversary date.) She's been here one year and one week and it's time for her to go home.
While Sugarfoot (I call her Sugarpaws; but others have nicknames for her that aren't so blog-friendly...) is a joy to have around -- she makes me laugh every day, and any pet that puts my dogs in their place rocks -- the best life in a shelter is not as great as being in home. Having a bed to curl up on at night, with a caring friend nearby...just doesn't compare to nighttimes being spent alone waiting til staff arrive the next morning.
So my Christmas wish? That Sugarfoot gets to spend the holidays terrorizing her very own dogs, and scaling Christmas trees in her very own house.
In the "no kill" world (follow that link to read what "no-kill" means to the East Bay SPCA) our kitties can sometimes take a long time to find a home.
This is a lot different from the days when, sadly, cats only lived in shelters a few days, and then were either adopted, or....well, you know.
Yay! More time to find them homes! But in return, we've had to spend a lot of time coming up with ways to keep cats healthy and stimulated for long periods. Cats who are caged or kenneled for months on end sometimes don't do well, so we needed to be creative, if we were going to keep them healthy and happy for that long.
When we installed our new, larger cat habitats in Oakland this summer, we had the room to add items to their habitats to make their lives more interesting and bring them amenities they might find outside or in the home.
One of those items is "kitty grass." Not quite as intoxicating as our state's semi-legal mood altering substance, kitty grass is supposed to (and this came from some retailer's website) "promote and assist in the elimination of fur balls, naturally maintain a well-balanced digestive system...help offset the environmental impurities that your pets are exposed to on a daily basis and will aid them in living a healthier life."
Now, we don't know if it does ALL that. But the kitties sure like it! You'll often see the kitties nibbling or rubbing up against their kitty grass with a blissful look on their face.
(I guess my photo isn't a good example of that, huh?)
But last week, we were asking each other, "what happened to the kitty grass people?"
You see, since we installed our new cat habitats, all our kitty grass, big flats of dozens of containers, have been donated by a nursery called Woodrose Gardens in Sebastopol. Out of the goodness of their hearts, they have, on a regular basis, silently been making sure our kitties have a non-stop supply of kitty grass to keep them happy and social.
We got a call from them last week; their greenhouse was destroyed by a storm over Thanksgiving. They called to let us know that they wouldn't be able to donate kitty grass for awhile, and they apologized.
Their greenhouse was destroyed--and they called to apologize to us!
I feel terrible that their greenhouse was destroyed. I am glad, however, that it has given us a chance to publicly thank them for this simple, but important, donation that directly impacts the quality of life for the cats in our care.
So, thank you, Woodrose Gardens, and the entire East Bay SPCA sends condolences, and good wishes in getting your business back on its feet.
Underneath this oh-so-uncool sweater is a sweet soul with sad eyes. Holly came into the shelter this week, covered with mats all through her overly-long poodle hair. Despite the pain she must have been in as hundreds of mats pulled at her tender skin in every direction, she has the sweetest disposition (I know this, because even my Bratty Maddie, the office loudmouth if there is a dog that she doesn't like, kept her snout shut when meeting her over the baby gate).
As the dog over-population is our community gets lower and lower, that doesn't mean that dogs and cats with homes are not found in horrible conditions. I guess that is the next step in making this a humane community for cats and dogs.
We've posted about Smiley here before. We've written articles in the paper about Smiley. Smiley is our longest term shelter dog, 231 days.
I heard rumor today that Smiley might have an interested adopter.
If Smiley was a regular old dog, that wouldn't be so interesting. I mean, most of our dogs find homes. It's amazing actually, but every dog and cat has someone, eventually, who finds them the perfect fit.
But 231 days. Smiley was a loooooooong termer. See, Smiley has issues. Shayna wrote about them eloquently in an earlier post.
But I heard today that there is someone who has met with Smiley a bunch, who "gets" her issues and has been explained what kind of management that Smiley will need for her life, for her separation anxiety.
It sounds promising so I kind of have had my fingers crossed all night, because I heard she might go out on our Paws to Consider program, which would be first step in finding a home.
When I started this blog post, I didn't know the exact number of days that Smiley had been in the shelter, so I looked it up tonight, at home.
I opened our database, and instead of seeing "Available for Adoption," I see "Adopted Altered" which is our nomenclature for a completed adoption.
WHAT?? At the sound of my Whoop! my own dogs looked up from the evening naps (yeah, right: as opposed to their morning naps, their early afternoon naps, their late afternoon naps, and their evening-before-bedtime naps...) wondering what the heck all the noise was about.
I tried to explain to them, in dog-ese, that their pal Smiley, that cute chick outside my door, in the second habitat finally got herself a home. They grunted, probably wondering, for the umpteenth time today, what I was saying.
But Smiley knows. She's home.
So I had to change my Blog Title from "Still waiting" to "She's home!"