2013 May 13- June 10
San Bernardino, California to Baltimore, Maryland
Abner and Carmaline -- the names given these two by staff at the very-high-kill shelter in Devore, San Bernardino county, California, when they arrived there May 3, 2013. Both very thin and not in good health, both gorgeous Maine Coons but described by the shelter as brown tabby domestic medium-hair cats. Worse, they deemed Abner as “Rescue Only” because he didn’t seem very social. But here’s a hint as to how this great story turned out -- check out these “Before” and “After” photos of Abner!
SEE THE UPDATE below from Abner and Carmaline's new human family!
We received the usual daily email with a list and photos of the animals facing euthanasia today or tomorrow, and on seeing Abner and a few other cats, we forwarded this email to a wonderful woman MD who is an extraordinary rescuer and networker for cats, Dr. Patricia Meredith. She replied promptly and said she had an adopter in Maryland, if we were up for making the flight to transport the cats there!
It didn’t take us long to do our research and answer Pat that the best way to transport the two cats, it seemed to us, was to speed them there as passenger-cargo with Delta Airlines. (We have had sterling experience with Delta Airlines in transporting animals.) Kitty Devore Rescue offered to pull the cats, get their veterinary needs taken care of, and foster them until we could transport them. We scheduled the flight for Monday June 10, when I would be available to help with the extensive ground transport and other logistics to get the cats to Delta and on their way.
We don’t have the original photos of Carmaline, but here is what Abner looked like as he sat in Devore Animal Shelter awaiting his fate:
The cats were fostered in Colton, CA -- about 65 miles from LAX Airport and about the same distance from where we live in CA, so the whole ground trip was going to be close to 150 miles of driving. All good, except that the optimum flight required the cats to be at Delta Cargo at 0800 Monday morning. It made for a “zero-dark-thirty” start for the day, as we left home at about 0300 to go pick up the cats to take them to LAX!
When we arrived at Delta Cargo at LAX, we were greeted by a man and woman working the loading area in the back, and we saw immediately that these were animal-loving people. The man explained how he and his family have rescued many animals and have had a cat that looked like Abner. The young woman who was working there with him came out and exclaimed that Abner and Carmaline looked just like the cats she used to have, whom she adored! I smiled, and she said “No really, I’m not kidding! Look, I even had them tattoed on my leg!” And she showed us a beautiful 14-inch long colorful tattoo on her lower leg of two cats -- who looked unbelievably similar to Abner and Carmaline! We took that as a happy omen for the cats and for the care they were going to receive, and went on to the considerable paperwork and preparation of the carriers. The man drilled four more holes in the carrier to put heavy-duty zip ties in to keep the doors from being opened. We put many more labels all over the carriers -- the usual “LIVE ANIMALS” plus a bunch of personalized ones with the cats’ names and various messages of thanks and good luck, etc. The baggage handlers were sure to know that these were very special and loved kitties!
The cats had done their part over the preceding month, by being patient, strong, accepting all the horrors of their fate and environment and hanging on to life the best they could. Even on the drive to LAX, they faced a large dog with them in the car, and there was not a sound out of the cats. (The dog was also very well-behaved, though he could not make up his mind, as he had to sit in the front seat while the cats were in the back seat, whether to look out the front window as he had always wanted to do, or to stare at the cats in the back seat!) Abner remained alert and receptive to my and the Delta employees’ talking to him, as if he knew that we were telling him he was going to be okay. Poor Carmaline was not quite so trusting or optimistic. She lay down with her head in her front paws as if to deny that this all was happening and to avoid eye contact with these beings who were inflicting this next horror upon her.
They cats had a layover in Atlanta, during which time the baggage handlers there took extra good care of them, making sure their water dishes were refilled and they were kept comfortable and in a fairly quiet place. Here they were on their way home with their new mom and dad, Kathie and Louis:
They arrived at their new home by midnight (east coast time), and by this morning, Kathie was already sending endearing photos of Abner and Carmaline happily snoozing and investigating and deciding they loved life again! By midday, Abner had taken over Kathie’s work desk (no doubt some of the best help she’s received in a long time), and Carmaline was clearly feeling like the royalty she truly is.
All of this, because a few people did what they could do and what nobody else was doing. From the angels who network all of the animals at these high-kill shelters, to those who go on to find adopters for the ones they can, to those who assist with fostering, transporting, and donating to help pay for the costs of the veterinary work, boarding, and transport, to those who take these precious animals into their homes and give them real lives with forever families. Rescue is a long chain, every link of which is humanity at its best.
Here are Abner and Carmaline in their new home, after just 12 hours! What love can do!
UPDATE FROM ABNER AND CARMALINE'S NEW FAMILY - 20130613 Thursday:
In Kathie's words today (now this is what rescue is all about! SMILES! Thanks Kathie!)
"Hello to everyone! Both Abner and Carmeline are the BEST cats EVER! They are soooo..sociable and friendly..
Abner is a hoot with INSISTING that he sit on the computer desk while I work...he LOVES to play and cuddle and lay in the bed with me at night...
Carmeline is a very vocal little girl..she will tell you quick what she thinks...she is adorable and it would of been a crime to have these two cats put down.
I feel for the many others that are in the shelter and wish I could adopt all of them! But for them to say that Abner is not sociable has got to be the biggest crock of you know what out there!! I love these cats and they are bringing such joy to my life..
Thanks again to all of you for all you did in giving me the privilege of taking care of these two...they are both just AWESOME!!!