New Beginnings 02/16/2017 By Kate Mudge Often we imagine starting over – a new job, new home, healthier lifestyle, new friends. The cats and dogs we rescue are given a new beginning. Did they imagine one? Were they hopeful things could change? Probably not. Certainly, as a rescue organization and with our supporters we look into the future for them – and imagine a WHOLE new life! What came before can’t be changed… abuse? Loss? Cast aside? Hoarded? Overbred? It has left its mark, but it’s in the past. What can make a difference is the TLC and vet care which begin now and will continue until there is healing, recovery and a new home. For each of them we imagine a loving, caring home, and also health, warmth, food, safety, and all the creature comforts. We rarely know the complete story for any particular cat or dog, but partial information and sad clues often reveal themselves. It can be disturbing to know. Sally, a tortishell cat, was rescued from a hoarder lifestyle. She lived with at least 40 other cats in a home where the owner probably started out with good intentions. She rescued and brought inside the strays who had no home – to safety, food, and comfort. But without spay/neuter, the group multiplied and their needs multiplied, too. Unable to keep up with the care, cleaning and feeding of the group, the home owner hid the problem from others, denying extended family any visit to her home for years. When she became too ill and elderly to even care for herself, this is what they found. Those are litterboxes lined up along the wall. Sally in the house. This is a picture of some of the conditions that were found inside the house. That is a mattress on the floor, plastic and clean bowls have been put down after rescue has begun. As with most hoarder rescues, no single group has room for all of the animals that are removed from the home. Sally came to us from another rescue organization that contacted Pet Haven to help with these cats. They were vet screened, spayed/neutered and given vaccinations. But that was only the beginning. Here she is at the original rescue center. She has clean bedding, soft blankets and clean air to breathe. The stench in a home like that is unbelievable. Sally would need extensive dental work and more weeks to recuperate. She was found to be anemic when she was spayed but her blood count has risen now– she’s in the early stages of healing and recovering from her long ordeal. Slowly Sally is coming alive again. She sat very passively at first in a cat condo (large cage) at her new foster home. She watched what was going on from her safe vantage point and enjoyed regular meals and attention. She was taken into a small room (with few hiding spots) to stretch her legs and get to know her foster caregiver better. Petting and brushing began to elicit kneading and purring as Sally realized she would be cared for. Then her foster introduced her to a couple of the other agreeable cats in the household to see how that would go. Sally liked the cats! She has also learned what to do with toys now! So, life is good for Sally. Soon she will be looking for a home to love her forever. Here she is in a bed – she had not yet begun to grow hair back from where her spay was performed or on her leg when she had an iv for her spay and dental work. She has her head ‘tucked’ in happiness and catnip toys she has gathered to play with. Do you remember Aggie? She came from animal control. An ‘old’, rickety, matted girl who had a broken jaw that healed without help and caused her teeth to dig into her gums and cheeks, causing ulcers. The few teeth she had left in her mouth have been removed so she can eat in comfort now. Would you believe this is the coat of the same cat who came off the streets in such rough shape? Food, shelter, warmth, love – it makes a world of difference. Because of your support, our work and the foster homes who step up with patience and TLC to bring about new beginnings, these stories can have happy endings. Thank you from Sally, as she begins to look for a home and Aggie, who has been adopted and found her happily ever after.