I've been putting off this post cause it kept sounding like I was saying "look how great I am." But here goes.
I'm not great. I just dig on having a pet. Pets make life more bearable. We recently lost our pet of many many years, and it was devastating. I've lost family and it didn't hurt that badly (see - I'm not great).
So we figured we'd look into an animal shelter. The notion of helping some furry critter who has ended up in a horrid place felt like the right thing to do. The ones at Petsmart and Petco often come from foster homes and clinics. The ones at the kennel are often on a list. A timeline. A countdown. Then they end up on an Urgent List. A nice way of saying Death Row.
So we visited this place in Philadelphia - ACCT. A giant kennel packed with discarded pets. Packed. There are two massive cat rooms, loaded with tiny cages filled with tiny fur-people. Imagine hundreds of little eyes and mouths trying to get your attention. A loud and very emotional scene.
I have to say that these folks do their best to keep this place clean and efficient. They process more than 30,000 animals annually, providing medical care and finding homes for thousands of them.
Here are some stats.
So we see a cat in a cage. And she's on the Urgent List. She's overweight and has a bad respiratory infection. We had seen her online and this was a totally different cat from the photo we carried into this place. It was a very sad moment seeing something in such bad shape. They told us that she and her sister had been living with a woman for the last seven years. The woman had passed away and the relatives kept them for a short while before surrendering them to the kennel. Two older cats, overweight and with infections. Her sister had been euthanized a week prior. And this poor thing was on the list.
Being totally honest and sounding incredibly selfish, this isn't even slightly what I was looking for. I was worried about her weight and the infection and the vet bill if we took her. I had fears that she liked to use couches and beds as litter boxes. That she would claw our faces and hide in closets the rest of her days. I mean, she belonged to someone else. She MUST have been a terror.
They opened the cage and this sad creature made a sound and came over to us. The Universe spoke.
The adoption process was brief. Due to her age and a "special" that weekend, they gave her to us for free. We took her to the vet that afternoon and after one short prescription of antibiotics, her infection was gone.
At home, she hid behind a curtain in our safe room where we kept her. After a week, we left the door open and she eventually poked around. After a few weeks, you'd think this lady always lived here. It's been just over five months and she has been a dream pet. Digs sleeping on laps, loves to hang with us on the couch, and perfectly house-trained in every way.
Apparently, older pets are a tough sell for adoption agencies. And I admit to being one of those people who figured it would be a real pain to inherit an older animal. I'm not sure why I felt that way, since the notion of a young cat crawling up curtains at 3AM is something that would drive me mad. I dig an older reserved animal. Still plays and runs around, but hasn't turned our Christmas ornaments into powdered glass.
So my entire point is... consider adopting an older pet. At seven years old, we have MANY more years with this fine lady. And that's totally not preaching. I swear. Just someone sharing a pleasant experience and hoping to share that crap with someone else who might be shopping for a furry buddy.