Candy-coated, or third time’s a charm

January 15, 2015

Guest blog.  No intro needed, but please share especially if you’re in the DC area.

Sometimes forever does not mean forever.  That’s a hard lesson to learn in life in general and even harder, for me, when it relates to animal rescue.

Back in the late summer/early fall, I fostered two adorable kittens through the Washington Humane Society (WHS)-  Almond Joy and Reese. They were five weeks old and sick when I brought them home, weighing 1.2 and 1.3 lbs. So very tiny. And I was so very scared. I’d never been responsible for living creatures that small and fragile.  Something I learned about tiny kittens – they are not all that fragile and are pretty darn resilient!  Once they got healthy, the little ladies were perfect and everything you’d want in mini-cats: curious, affectionate, playful with bursts of rambunctiousness, slightly mischievous, and super friendly.
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I was going through a bit of a rough patch and having these two mini furmonsters in my care made all the difference in the world. They needed me to take care of them; I needed the joy, entertainment, and snuggles they provided. I would often end my evenings sitting on the floor of my bathroom – aka the Kitten Suite – with one of them in my lap and the other falling asleep while perched on my shoulders. And I fell in love.

Kari, with a shoulder-climbing furmonster, aged VeryTiny

The one not-so-perfect part of this situation was that my main kittenlady – a 4 year old demon feLion (whom I dearly love despite her antics) – was not having it with the kittens. So there was no option to foster fail. These little girls could not be mine and I would have to find them a forever home. And quickly.
Starting the interview process for forever homes, I made it clear the kittens needed to go together since they are a bonded pair; that weeded out most people who e-mailed WHS expressing interest. Eventually I found a young couple who was eager to adopt both sisters. The couple hung out in my apartment with me and the girls for several hours asking all the right questions and seeming generally like they would provide the perfect home. The kittens even fell asleep on one of the potential adopters, one in her lap and the other on her shoulders. It just felt right.
The kittens went home with the couple two weeks later after being spayed. There were tears and one last fantastic kitten sleepover snuggle-fest. I was sad to let them go but I knew they would be very happy.  With Instagram and Twitter, I knew I would get to see pictures of the fuzznuggets growing and settling into their new home. My work here was done.
But then my girls showed back up at the shelter two weeks later.
The couple encountered a surprise life event and decided they could no longer care for two kittens so brought them back. I was notified by shelter staff immediately and went over to hang out the day they came in. Unfortunately I could not foster again because my resident cat had made herself physically ill from the stress of having the kittens in the house. But I wanted my girls to have someone familiar to help them settle in and I needed to hold them and make sure they were OK. It was so good to see them but I was so mad and my heart was heavy.  They were still tiny kittens, though, and I knew they would probably be re-homed in a short amount of time.
Sure enough, the girls being as perfect as they are, they were adopted back out within a week. I was thrilled. NOW my work was done!
Fast forward 3 months: Almond Joy and Reese have been returned again. What’s wrong with them?  NOTHING. They are healthy, sweet, smart, well-mannered beauties. But their adopter decided to move in with her allergic boyfriend – so back to the shelter they come. Again I was notified by shelter staff immediately and so again I went into the shelter on my lunchbreak.  These 6 month old girls are now gorgeous, mostly-grown cats with luxurious fluff. They recognized me on the spot and started giving out affection without hesitation. They are purr-factories and snugglebugs and my heart fights between being so full of love for them and shattering into a bazillion pieces because they have been failed by humans three times – once at birth and twice by people who promised false-forevers.
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Through Facebook, I immediately started spreading information about the girls along with pictures. My network jumped into action and images of Almond Joy and Reese flooded my newsfeed in posts and re-posts urging potential adopters to check them out. I was bowled over and am positive that a happy ending is just around the corner for my girls, but because you can never be too sure…
If you are in the DC/MD/VA area and considering bringing cats into your home please take a look at Almond Joy and Reese.  And if they are no longer available, check out the other wonderful animals that we have up for adoption at the shelter. But before you adopt, please, please, PLEASE realize that you are making a forever promise to a living, breathing creature who will rely on you for care. Feel the weight of that promise and make sure that you are adopting responsibly. Even the best shelters can be harsh environments and being returned to one doesn’t always allow for a happy ending.
Through the feedback and comments I’ve seen so far on social media, I am hopeful that today the kittenladies will be visited by at least one potential adopter if not several. And that is good and reassuring news. It is also good for the other shelter cats because if potential adopters visit after my ladies have been claimed, maybe they’ll consider the other lovely cats currently waiting to find forever homes. Emphasis on the FOREVER.
And remember – adopt don’t shop.

And all that Jazz(ie)!

January 16, 2014

First Freckles (adopted!) , then Annie (foster fail!).  Now we’re honored to add another pittie-pal in need of a home to our blog.  This week, guest-blogger, fantastic pup-Mom and pibble advocate Valerie Fenton shares the story of a very special girl who is in need of a safe and warm foster home.

If you have room to spare, or you know people who are thinking of fostering and/or adopting, please share this post.  This little girl needs a friendly place to find her paws.  Is it with you?

I’ll let Val take it from here:


FOSTER HOME NEEDED for the sweetest, quietest little girl, so she doesn’t get stuck in a kennel while she waits for her forever home!!!
     On the cold afternoon of Sunday, December 15, 2013, Chris and I were driving into their neighborhood in Hyattsville, MD, when we saw this little girl running down the road — obviously scared, alone and hungry. Thus began a 2 1/2 hour pursuit to catch the little girl — while Chris pursued on foot, I drove the car to head her off before she could get to any major roads where she most certainly would have been hit by a car.
     Chris found out from a few neighbors that the poor girl had been wandering the neighborhood for at least 3 freezing-cold days, eating whatever she could find on the street, and that even though phone calls had been made to PG County Animal Management…. no one had come to help her. After a lengthy and exhausting pursuit, the little girl finally snuck onto a large fenced in property, looking for some place safe to hide and rest. Luckily Chris and I saw this and tried to catch her. Eventually, after several phone calls to the police department, a kind animal control officer showed up to help. The little girl was finally caught when, exhausted, she went up to the property owner.
     The animal control officer said she was sadly like many he has seen before — probably a mama kept in a yard by a backyard breeder, pumping out litter after litter for profit, until she outlived her usefulness and was dumped on the streets. The officer, the property owner, and Chris and I all agreed that she clearly was a very sweet little girl who just needs to learn how to be loved by humans, instead of used by humans. She had probably never known a kind hand. She had probably lived most of her life outside, instead of in comfort and warmth. What impressed everyone was how not once during the chase, even when we had our hands on her several times or had her cornered, did she ever try to bite or nip anyone out of fear. She encountered several dogs during the chase, and she went up to them, wagging her tail.
     After she was caught, she was taken to Prince George’s County Animal Shelter, where the kind staff brought her into their office to help her learn to be around caring people. She was named “Yasmeen” (meaning: Jasmine). They said she was gentle and quiet, but she was blossoming the more she was around people. She rarely jumped — only to give a “hug” to a person.
     This lucky girl had several people fighting for her — the shelter staff, Chris and I, and even the animal control officer. Everyone recognized what a good girl she is. Our efforts paid off, and a rescue, Partnership for Animal Welfare, took her out of the kill shelter. She was renamed “Jazzie” (the irony being that she is the calmest, quietest dog you will ever meet). She got spayed, was treated for a mild case of kennel cough, and has been recovering at the College Park Animal Hospital, where I take her for daily walks.
     In only a few weeks, she has blossomed into the sweetest girl. Wags her tail constantly. Loves to give gentle hugs. Leans on your leg until she sinks to the floor for belly rubs. Patiently lets you shower her with kisses.
     She seems to know to go potty outside — the vet techs say that she never has an accident in her cage… she waits until they take her outside to go to the bathroom. She is learning to love walks and is very patient while you strap on her harness and put on her jacket when its cold.
Not once has anyone heard Jazzie bark. Not a peep. She is truly the quietest dog, even when other dogs are barking at her.
     She is learning how to interact with other dogs — she seems to respond best when slowly introduced to calmer, quieter dogs. Dogs that are very jumpy, get in her face or start barking at her a lot, seem to make her nervous. She has not acted aggressively to another dog.
     Jazzie’s time at the vet is up, and because there is no foster available with the rescue at this time, on Saturday, January 18th she will be sent up to rented kennel space in Columbia, MD. Chris and I are sending out a plea for help because we have 3 dogs and can’t foster her. Jazzie is truly blossoming with the kind people she has been around these past few weeks… she needs to continue her socialization in a foster home, or better yet a forever home, with a kind and caring foster.
     Please share her story and her pictures. She has the most beautiful starburst eyes and a gentle, old soul. She deserves a forever home, but at the very least, she deserves a comfortable foster home until she finds her forever home.
Jazzie is a spayed female. Small, @ 38 lbs. Short fur. Doesn’t shed much. Shepherd/lab mix.  Here’s her new profile on the rescue website:
     If you have any questions or are interested, please email me at, so I can put you in touch with the rescue coordinator.