A Quick Rescue Story With a Happy Ending

photo of dog on couch

Who could throw this dog from a car? Photo provided by the rescuer.

So quick that before I had a chance to write it up, the rescue found a home!

And this one was not a cat but a dog rescue. Not that I have anything against dogs, but there is only so much time and space to share stories, and I figure you are reading The Creative Cat because you like cats  so I generally stick with cats, though I know many people have both cats and dogs. But a good story is a good story, and that’s that. I had to share this one just to give us all a smile and to publicly thank someone who went out of their way to help an animal. Besides that, when I first looked at his photo I laughed because he looks like a Beagle with the wind blowing through his ears!

I’m sure all of us animal lovers receive e-mails all the time including the stories of rescued animals who need homes, and I received one yesterday with the story of this dog, plus the story of the person who rescued him.

On Sunday morning as I was heading to work, I saw a car slowing down and literally throw a dog from their door. They had slowed down considerably but the poor thing laid there. I did a u turn and went back because I wasn’t sure what it was. My first thought was a cat. I believe that the breathe had been knocked out of him because he didn’t move for a few seconds. After I realized he was alive, I convinced him to come to me with a sandwich that I had packed for lunch. He was filthy dirty and limped on his right leg.

I took him home and bathed him. Treated him for fleas and heartworms with the Revolution product. He actually didn’t appear to have any fleas on him. He was so loving and playful. He was no longer limping and was in our yard romping around like a young dog would do. I am guessing his age at maybe 6 months. At night time, we debated about where to put him but he jumped up on our loveseat and fell right to sleep. He laid on his back with his paws in the air. Very sweet. He did not mess in the house one time and actually a couple of times has scratched at the door to go out.

He has a very sweet personality. You can tell he is young, he jumps and plays with lots of enthusiasm. He loves tennis balls and ropes. I wish I could keep him but I currently have 4 cats and 1 dog. Two of my cats have gone into hiding! 

I decided I’d post him here anyway because I wanted to share her story. I e-mailed the author for more details on how he did with the cats since that’s something I usually check with dogs for adoption, and by the time she replied he had a home already!

Don’t we wish they would all end that way! Of course, someday people will no longer throw dogs and cats out of cars, and there won’t be any more homeless pets.

Photo provided by the rescuer.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.

Senior Pets Make Great Friends!

tri-color cat

Despite her expression, Lacey was very grateful to have adopted Karen.

by Karen  Sable, Guest Columnist

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for senior pets. When I visit a shelter or browse the listings on Petfinder, I certainly love the young puppies and kittens, but I am usually drawn to the senior pets. To me their eyes seem to reflect a wisdom, and what I call a “soulfulness”. Plus, I know that they are less likely to be adopted, and I have always been inclined to favor the “underdog”. Over the past twenty or so years, I have become the “mother” to ten cats. While some younger ones chose me by showing up in my yard and deciding they would move in, of those that I made a conscious decision to go and adopt, all were seniors.

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The Snout-To-Tail Wellness Assessment

black cat sleeoping on back

Mr. Sunshine is ready for his assessment.

by Karen Sable, Guest Columnist

As part of Pet Wellness Month, one action every pet parent can learn to contribute to their pet’s wellness is to frequently perform their own Snout-To-Tail Wellness Assessment.

This “tool” is a systematic and deliberate method for evaluating and knowing the status of your pet’s everyday health. It allows you to learn what is “normal” for your pet, and therefore to be able to more quickly recognize something that is not normal, making early detection more likely.

It can also be a good bonding experience for you and your pet. The Wellness Assessment ideally should be done at least once a week, with the results of each assessment documented. By examining your pet from Snout-to-Tail on a regular, ongoing basis, and keeping records of each assessment, you are able to detect any irregularities (lumps, bumps, swelling, tenderness, secretions, etc.), and also identify and changes since your last assessment. This can provide vital information for following up with your Vet.

The Snout-To-Tail Wellness Assessment is a skill that is best learned by taking a Pet Tech “PetSaver” or Pet CPR and First Aid class, such as those I teach, but the following steps summarize what is involved in the assessment. You’ll be able to download this as a checklist with a link at the end of this article.

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Akasha Lost Her Person, and Her Home

black and white cat

Akasha lost her mom and needs a home!

Akasha’s person died suddenly on September 20, 2011, with Akasha sitting right next to her, and now Akasha needs a home…again.

From Animal Advocates:

black and white cat


It was a long time coming but for a while Akasha had it all.  At least she had everything she really needed. As a young cat she had been in our rescue for quite some time. She was definitely not happy sharing space with other cats and she let everybody know it. When she wasn’t acting out she was sulking. As pretty as she is she just wasn’t living up to that “pretty is as pretty does ” adage.

Then she met a compassionate cat lover named  Michaelene. “Mikey” was catless having lost a senior cat companion and she was able to offer an only cat home to Akasha.  The transformation was almost immediate and miraculous. With kindness and patience and without the stress of other animals around, testy Akasha transformed into an absolute cuddle kitty. She became affectionate, playful and demonstrative, responding to her name, head butting for attention and following her Mikey like a puppy dog. This attitude extended beyond Mikey. Akasha  wanted to be friends with Mikey’s human friends as well.

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Help Your Pets to Stay Well

two cats on couch

Jasmine and Colby, courtesy Karen Sable

by Karen  Sable, Guest Columnist

October is recognized as National Pet Wellness Month, so what better time to think about what you are doing, or should be doing, to help your pet stay well and live a long, healthy life?

The nationwide campaign is sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the goal is to educate pet parents about the importance of twice-a-year wellness examinations for our furry family members, and the steps that we can take to help prevent disease in our pets, as well as increase the likelihood of early detection.

photo of two cats

Stanley and Moses, old friends

We all understand the importance of prevention and early detection for our own health, and the need for regular visits with our doctor and routine screening tests, especially as we get older. But it is also important that we take similar steps to help our furry family members maintain their good health.

Our pets age, on average, about seven times faster than we do, and so significant health changes can occur in a relatively short period of time. Taking your dog or cat to the veterinarian just once a year is essentially the same as you seeing your doctor or dentist just once every seven years!  That’s why the AVMA advocates that our pets get a wellness exam every six months, as this better enables the vet to detect, treat, and ideally prevent problems before they become serious or even life-threatening.

Cats in particular

cat under table

Namir under the table.

Educating cat owners about the importance of twice-a year wellness examinations is even more critical since, according to the AVMA, cats are brought to the veterinarian only about half as often as dogs. As those of us who have cats know all too well, our feline family members are very skilled at hiding signs of illness. That trait likely goes back to their big cat ancestors in the wild, who knew instinctively that any signs of weakness or illness made them easier targets for predators.  Unfortunately, this “big cat” trait means that we may not observe the signs of illness or disease in our cats until it is more advanced. By taking our cats for twice-a-year wellness exams and appropriate screening tests, we greatly increase the likelihood that any medical condition can be detected early, while there is a greater chance of a successful outcome.

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WPHS Needs You to Foster or Adopt—Today

cat adoption room at wphs

Cat Adoption Room at WPHS

The Western Pennsylvania Humane Society is in a critical state—FULL of animals, but NOT ENOUGH adopters. People continue surrendering animals every day, but fewer are coming in to adopt them. This is probably true at other shelters as well at this time of the year. We need to do something about it today, and for the future.

Right now, can you foster, even for just a few weeks or a month? Can you adopt just one more? You will save lives immediately if you do. Consider it, even try to do something this weekend, the situation is that desperate.

Gretchen J. Fieser, Director of PR and Business Relationships at the shelter, offered figures comparing September 1 to 19, 2010 and 2011 in surrenders and adoptions of cats, dogs and rabbits when figures are often lower with people adapting to their new fall schedules.

  • Owner Surrenders of Cats:  13.85% increase
  • Owner Surrender of Dogs: 21.92% increase
  • Owner Surrender of Rabbits: 300% increase
  • Adoptions of Cats: 26.51% DECREASE
  • Adoptions of Dogs: 17.37% DECREASE
  • Adoption of Rabbits: 50% INCREASE
orange kittens on shelf

Kittens wake up, ready for play!

To put a real number behind that surrender percentage, I visited the shelter a month ago and Gretchen noted, “We took in 48 cats on Tuesday [August 23], and we adopted out 11.”

Late summer figures for total animal surrenders often surpass 1,000 animals per month adding up to over 13,000 animals per year coming into the shelter.

And right now, surrounding no-kill shelters are full and are not accepting any other animals until their numbers are reduced by adoption.

But the WPHS doesn’t have the option of closing the door until they can accept more animals.

“As an open door shelter (we are committed to never turning an animal away in need) we must have help from the community as far as adopting, fostering animals, and spaying and neutering,” Gretchen says. As an open door shelter, they are required to take in all animals that are brought to them, but the shelter has a finite amount of space and the WPHS cannot exceed occupancy.

Even with a dedicated group of over 100 foster homes, breed rescue groups taking animals into their care for adoption and other options for moving animals out of the shelter to be housed other than actual adoption, the shelter still needs help with adoptions and fosters.

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Are Your Pets Prepared For An Emergency ?

flooded area

Flash flooding in Carnegie, PA during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

by Karen  Sable, Guest Columnist

September is “National Preparedness Month,” which was started in 2004 by FEMA and the Dept. of Homeland Security to encourage Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies. With that in mind, this is a timely opportunity to ask yourself if you have a good Emergency/Disaster Plan for your family which includes any pets you may have.

If you had to quickly evacuate your home, and possibly be unable to return for an extended period, do you have a “Go Kit” stocked and ready for you and your pets that would enable you to be self-sufficient for at least 5-7 days? Do you know where you could/would go with your pets ? If you lost all power and were unable to leave your home for some time (remember “Snowmageddon” ), would you and your pets have enough food, water, medications, and other supplies to be able to wait out the emergency? If you were not at home when an emergency occurred, or were unable to get home for some reason, have you made arrangements with someone who would be able to get to and care for your pets? These are all questions you need to answer before an emergency or disaster happens!

When you hear the word disaster or emergency, you may immediately think about the kind of natural disasters you see on TV, like tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and major flooding. But emergencies that may require evacuation, that may prevent you from getting home, or that may strand you inside your home, aren’t just limited to big natural disasters. Think about what you and your pets would do if:

  •  A construction crew digging in the area ruptures a large gas line, or a train carrying a toxic substance derails on nearby tracks, and your neighborhood must immediately be evacuated;
  •  There’s an explosion in a nearby gas well, factory, or power plant and the Fire Dept. comes knocking at your door and orders you to leave;
  • A sudden storm hits while you are at work, flooding and closing roads, and making it impossible for you to get home to let your dog out, feed the cats, or give them needed medication;
  • A major snow/ice storm hits, knocking out power, and making the roads impassible. It may be days before power is restored or you can leave your home.

Make your plan ahead of time

If you had to evacuate with your pets, shelter at home for some period, or provide for your pet’s safety and care in your absence, do you have a plan in place?

cat with tag

Karen's cat Maddie.

The following recommendations and guidelines are intended to help pet parents prepare for an emergency or disaster so that if/when one occurs, you can greatly increase your pet’s chances of survival:

Arrange with a trusted neighbor, nearby friend, or family member to be responsible for your pet in case you are not home, or are not able to get home. Make sure they have the key to your house and are familiar with and comfortable with your pets. If evacuation is necessary, ensure that they are willing to take your pets, know the location of your pet carriers, crates, leashes, etc., as well as your pet emergency “go-kit.” Pre-arrange how/where you would meet, and exchange emergency contact information, including places where your pets would be welcome and could be temporarily sheltered .

Since evacuation shelters for people generally do not accept pets (except for service animals), you must plan ahead to make sure you know where your pets would have a safe place to stay once evacuated. While state and local governments are required to include companion animals in their emergency plans, that does not mean that any shelter provided for pets will be with or even near the human shelters. Could a friend or family member a safe distance away take in you and your pets? Research, locate, and make a list of any pet friendly hotels where you and your pets could go. In an emergency, some hotels which do not normally allow pets will waive their “no pets” policy, but you need to find that out ahead of time. Include on your list any boarding facilities, kennels, animal shelters, or veterinary offices/hospitals which could provide temporary shelter for your pets.

Make sure that your pet is wearing up-to-date identification information at all times. This includes listing not just your home phone number on their tag, but also your cell phone number, or even the number of a friend or relative outside of your area. If your pet were to become lost, you want to make sure that the contact number on their tag will be answered even if you are not at home.

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We’ve Shipped Out the First Few Copies!

black cat sleeping on desk

Mewsette, my erstwhile shipping supervisor.

We’ve organized our paperwork and packed up and sent the first orders for Great Rescues!

[Mom worked all day and it was really boring but we couldn’t distract her. Mewsette made sure everything was address, packed and labeled correctly; note that she can do this in her sleep.]

Now we just have to wait and see what people think. Please feel free to write your comments about Great Rescues on the blog at Great Rescues, on the Reviews page or on any page on the Great Rescues site.

Help Animal Friends With a Cat Hoarding Rescue

Carrick rescue kitten

As if the overflow of kittens and cats isn’t enough during kitten season, Animal Friends in Pittsburgh on June 10 rescued over 30 cats from a house that was subsequently condemned in Carrick, PA. They couldn’t trap and remove all the cats on the first pass—the house was boarded up but humane agents had access to continue their efforts to remove all the cats.

All the cats were dehydrated, malnourished, flea-ridden and affected and infected with various conditions and illnesses internal and external. Two of the cats were actually in labor. All were treated by Animal Friends’ veterinarians, though a few needed to be hospitalized for various conditions.

animal friends logoBypassing any comment on the disaster of hoarding, a situation like this puts a huge strain on the finances, cage space and staff of any shelter already overburdened with too many cats and kittens who need medical care and homes. Animal Friends is a no-kill shelter and cage space is dear. Consider a donation to Animal Friends to help cover the costs of this rescue, or consider fostering a cat or two to allow more space in the shelter.

Read about the rescue and how you can help here, an article that includes video and photos: Animal Friends.

Cookie and I Are Featured in “Catnip Chronicles”

closeup of tortoiseshell cat

Cookie Closeup

Cookie and I can celebrate our 18th anniversary again as we are featured in the January issue of Catnip Chronicles! The more people who get to read about Cookie, the happier I am!

I knew some day I’d hold this position of honor as the lead cat in the household. I was instructed by the best cats in the world just exactly how to take care of my mom and how to be a leader among cats so that you earned respect without having to lift a paw, though sometimes you need to say something.

Read the whole story in Cookie’s words—click here to read the article.