When Bob was brought in by Animal Control to the veterinary hospital where I was working he was badly injured. They said he had been trapped 'under something'. His tail was dead - he couldn't move or feel it, and he would step on it because he didn't know where it was. It was also degloved, meaning the skin was all removed, as if removing a glove. He was also saturated with urine from the waist down.
Now, when Animal Services brought injured pets to us they were not doing so so that we could care for them. The policy was that we were to examine them and make sure they were stable enough to go to the pound until their person came to get them, or they moved into adoption after the holding period. So we were not allowed to take xrays or give him any sort of treatment. Naturally, we still cleaned him up as best we could without funds, and fed him.
He was, of course, very distressed. When alone in his cage he would pace and yowl, and appear miserable, tripping over his own dead tail. It was sad. But if I sat next to his cage, he would calm down. If I opened his cage and pet him, he even started to seem happy, despite his injuries. So I sat with him a lot, and I fell in love.
Later in the afternoon, when the Animal Control officer came back to get him, I asked what would happen to him. He explained that he would be held for five days, then if no one claimed him he would go up for adoption. He told me that if I wanted him, that I should call each day to check in because he might be considered unadoptable due to his injuries and euthanized unless they knew someone was waiting for him.
So I called every day. I asked if he had been claimed. I told them that when his hold was up, I was going to come take him. When could I come get him? They told me to call tomorrow.
Until the fifth day. I asked if he'd been claimed.
OK, I'm going to come adopt him today.
Oh, no you can't. He isn't neutered, and he's too sick to neuter now, so he can't be adopted. Only a rescue organization can take an unneutered pet.
But I've called every day - why am I just learning this now?
Not my problem.
I had until the end of the day to get a rescue organization to vouch for him. I made so many calls. I don't remember how many. I hate talking on the phone - but I was mad, and I was afraid. Only two rescue organizations ever bothered to call me back. One, the Contra Costa Humane society and a wonderful woman whos name I am ashamed I don't remember, but it was maybe Lori, or Lauren, drove up from Lafayatte to Martinez to meet me at the shelter and get Bob out for me. After she helped me, she stayed to look around the pound to see if there were other animals she could get out while she was there.
We took Bob straight to surgery. Needless to say, five days sitting in a cage without care had not done him any favors. He did need another follow up surgery, and as anyone who has ever met me knows, he still had a lifetime of medical problems, but he was greatly loved, and made my life better, and much more interesting.
So, for anyone looking for end of the year charitable donations to make, might I suggest supporting the fine work of the folks at the Contra Costa Humane society? I am making a donation to them in Bob's honor and memory, and would not be upset if you were to join in.
I feel like I should add, here at the end of my story, that all this took place over 18 years ago. I have have had numerous dealings with both the Animal Shelter and various rescue groups over the years, and they have all improved greatly on all counts. Our new kitty, who I will be posting about soon, came from the Shelter, and looking through her history, I see she received excellent care in their hands.