Monday, May 3, 2010

Shadow's Story

It was my daughter’s 11th birthday. Family and friends were arriving in less than an hour to celebrate with cake and ice cream. The new kitten, a birthday present, was curled up on the bed. My husband Tom checked on the kitten and discovered Shadow was barely breathing. The kitten was at the vet the previous day for the mandatory checkup required by the Animal Rescue League. After a quick call to the vet, Tom rushed to the animal hospital with the kitten. Tom returned in time for the party but the kitten remained with the vet.

The kitten was very sick. The vet offered Tom a choice…treat the kitten and hope he gets better or euthanize the kitten. It was my daughter’s birthday. Tom told the vet to start treatment. On Friday night, the kitten had a 30% survival rate. We received an update on Saturday morning. The kitten was eating and appeared to be responding to the medication. The kitten’s survival rate jumped to 50%.

The vet informed us the kitten had to be sick at the time of adoption. I called the Animal Rescue League and told them about our situation including the financial output needed to help the kitten get well. The first thing the staff member at the ARL asked was “Did you buy pet insurance?” Since the first visit at the vet was included in the adoption fee, we did not think there was any rush to buy insurance. The staff member told us we could no longer buy pet insurance because the kitten had a pre-existing condition. To be honest…I doubt that we would have purchased the pet insurance anyway.

A few hours later, the Director of the ARL called with a solution. Euthanize the kitten and pick out a new one at no charge. Cold. This was not a shirt with a torn seam or an electronic game that malfunctioned. A week ago, when the ARL were encouraging an adoption, they wanted my daughter to love and care for an animal and make it part of our family. Now they wanted to dispose of the kitten and exchange it for a new one. According to their website, the organization claims to be the “County’s Largest Shelter in Size and Heart”. I don’t think so. My daughter was attached to this kitten. Shadow was her birthday kitten.

By Sunday morning, the kitten was pouncing around again. Shadow is coming home tonight.

14 comments:

Sis said...

Wow. I can't believe the shelter would do that. Don't they check out the pets before putting them up for adoption?

Michele said...

You would think! The ARL checked us out before we were approved to adopt a pet. The vet said the kitten had the condition before it was adopted.

Geeklet said...

I am very glad for Ms. E that Shadow is doing well. I know she would be absolutely heartbroken if anything happened to him.

Michele said...

Thanks...

It would have been very difficult on her...especially since we had to put our 18 year old black cat to sleep two months ago.

KataCatMcCracken said...

Phew. A happy ending. Good on little Shadow for pulling through. May he and your daughter share many happy years. How lucky you chose him and gave him a home!

The shelter's response was shocking. Clearly their animals need new homes, but maybe they should consider sacking that director and re-training staff to understand the difference between animals and consumer goods! Grrr.

Michele said...

I agree...Phew! My daughter would have been inconsolable. Thanks for commenting.

I am planning to write a letter to the local ARL Board regarding the adoption.

Felicia said...

Michele,

We had a similar incident with our Dogzilla (his real name is K, but he chewed my sandals, my son's iPod and not one but three of my phone cases so the name stuck); we adopted him from an animal shelter in NC. He came home and promptly climbed under our living room table - where he stayed for 23 hours out of every day. The sluggishness worried me so we took him to the vet a week before his mandatory follow-up visit. Turns out he had parvo virus, which is quite deadly for puppies. Our vet said he had to have had it in the other shelter we got him from. It's also highly contagious, so we called the shelter to let them know and got the same response you did: euthanize and pick out another dog for free. How kind of them.

Ironically, my hubby-to-be picked the dog because he was the quiet one in the group. Guess he wasn't jumping around because he was - if you'll pardon the pun - sick as a dog. Don't know how shelters can be so heartless, but I totally hear you.

Glad Shadow is on the mend :-)

John W. Zimmer said...

Glad the kitten go better. That is a tough call. I just lost a dog I had for nine years... he stopped eating and I thought he had a virus. By the time we took him in it was too late to do much.

It is good your daughter is happy with her birthday kitten! :)

Michele said...

Felicia: Thanks for sharing your story. You know exactly what we are going through.

John: It was a tough call. I am sorry to hear about your dog. Losing a pet is difficult.

Michele said...

Felicia: Thanks for sharing your story. You know exactly what we are going through.

John: It was a tough call. I am sorry to hear about your dog. Losing a pet is difficult.

SueC said...

So glad this story has a happy ending........Long live Shadow!

Michele said...

Thanks Sue!

nikejo said...

You go little shadow! I love to hear the happy endings! That really stinks about the shelter though!

My mom manages a vet hospital and they have a pet loss support group that meets there. Something that might be worth checking into for others that might not be so lucky.

Michele said...

Nikejo: Thanks! Shadow is doing well. The kitten is gaining weight and is running around the house.