Monday, October 8, 2012

Furkids Open House (Disclaimer: A really long post, mostly about cats)

It's certainly no secret that Patrick and I have always been animal lovers.  Without getting too much into exactly how many cats or dogs we have (several), I did want to dedicate this post to a very special one.

Spike, the most affectionate cat I have ever known, passed away one year ago at the 2011 Furkids Open House at approximately 23 years of age. She was a perky, opinionated, petite, and genuinely loving friend.  She worshipped the ground Patrick walked on, slept on his stomach every night, and - without fail - woke us up every morning before the alarm went off.  We're reasonably sure that she considered us large kittens who must be attended to. She required some special care in her last few years, but our Furkids friends were really supportive and helpful when I had questions or needed advice. As the matriarch of the family, she absolutely ran our household and kept everyone in order, and we still miss her dreadfully. Even the time she brought a LIVE, wild rabbit in the house and LET IT GO. Eli would have really loved her, and she would have loved him, too.

It is time to make a confession: I AM the crazy cat lady.  If I had no husband and son to reign me in, I would look something like the crazy cat lady from the Simpson's ; ).

To get back to my topic, Furkids was having an Open House. For those who didn't know, Furkids is a no-kill animal shelter that will take an animal regardless of medical need or special need status, so, as fosters, we have gotten quite an education on caring for a variety of feline needs. They even have a house for FIV+ cats, and were one of the first rescues to take in FIV+ kitties.

It should also be mentioned that Eli has LOVED the cats since day 1. When he would cry because he was grieving, Sadie and Woody did their best to purr away his tears. Quite frankly, they were more effective than either Patrick or I at this at first, since Eli didn't really know us at the time. Honestly? I'm pretty sure he bonded to Sadie before he bonded to me : ).  Since then, though, we have taken Eli to Furkids to visit a few times, and he adores playing with the kitties in the free-roaming rooms.

We actually did an emergency foster placement about a week after Eli came home for two kittens (Sy and Willie) who had been found in the woods, one of whom was partially paralyzed.  Luckily, another foster (Dana : )) was able to take them in for longer term care, as I definitely had (and have) my hands full! Sy, the paralyzed kitty, is the poster boy for our special needs kitties and is recovering from the injury that caused it.
Which brings me to Furkids' Open House.  To raise awareness of the shelter and money for shelter operations, Furkids hosts an "Open House" every year, where the public is invited to celebrate the fall season with us.  We have BBQ, inflatables, homemade ice cream, a bake sale, and the shelter is open to all (see We took Eli and had a marvelous time.  Thanks to the wonderful photographers at open house that took these pictures!

Everything is set up and ready to go...
Yep...even the blood truck dropped by : ).  I only put the picture here because we pressed Patrick into service (I can't usually give blood because of a tendency to be anemic).  Eli bribed the nurses to give him some cookies...and goldfish crackers...and juice...
That's Eli petting one of the adoptable dogs from Furkids.  Eli is no longer afraid of quiet dogs! (Loud dogs=still scary, but that's probably a good thing).
The open house had face painting, a coloring table, a inflatable "bouncy house" and slide, a bake sale, bbq, homemade ice cream, etc.  Eli DEFINITELY didn't want his face painted (he likes getting his hand stamped at gymnastics, but then can't wait to wash off the stamp!).  Eli enjoyed playing in the "bouncy house" with the big kids, but he also enjoyed the food (thank you Carol)!
And, of course, there were LOTS of good friends to enjoy...Eli and I both love hanging out with Carol! (She SPOILS him rotten! : ) ).
Of course, we went to see our feline friends, too!  But the shelter was crowded (YAY!)!
Below is a picture of Meg (taking a nap!), an incredibly sweet kitty that Patrick and I fostered. She is the perfect example of why animal foster homes are important.  She was soooo sick (and pregnant) when we brought her home from Furkids to foster on the same day that she arrived at the shelter. I slept on the floor with her in our "foster room" for over a week, gave her breathing treatments six times a day, fed her with a feeding tube every few hours around the clock and used proper sanitizing and isolation techniques to keep my personal cats from getting sick. Everyone at Furkids was extremely supportive and hopeful that she would be okay.  A few short weeks later, the tube came out, Megs ate on her own, and her breathing normalized. She was at the shelter on Open House day, but found a permanent home very shortly afterward.  I hope and pray that she gives her new family a lifetime of happiness.  She was one of the dozens we have fostered and cared for, and we know, when we look at the joyful faces of children and adults who bond with the animals that we have saved, that our work was not in vain.
So, on a lighter note, Furkids has these things that are called "cat wheels." They look like giant hamster wheels, and most of the cats really enjoy exercising on them!
Of course, all the food and running in wheels and greeting people is hard work for a kitty...BEDTIME!

Thanks, Furkids! We had a great time, and can't wait til next year!

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