Most of the time, i'm bottle raising for a couple of particular rescue groups, especially one that has a shelter of its own.
This call was from the group that tries to rescue the dozens and dozens of precious animals that end up at animal control.
Before this group started, most of those animals were euthanized. Many still are. It's much better now, though, as this group works very hard to get homes for as many animals as possible.
Kay called and asked for a favor, the companion group that works with animal control needed a bottle feeder. She gave my name to Tina, who gave it to Maria, and Maria said she was desperate, these three were living on a multi-animal formula that another volunteer was feeding them when they were able to take out the time, as they are always so overworked.
The animal control center is forever and a half out on the edge of town, past the juvenile court, bail bond places, and parish prison. Out in the area where no one wants to willingly go. Yet the dedicated volunteers go out there, day after day, and take care of animals, doing so much more than the animal control staff can do.
When i pulled up to the place i hadn't been in over 15 years, i parked in the back near where the tangled weeds grow right up to the fence, with the woods beyond. The on site veterinary "office" is a house trailer that has seen better days.
Then out of the car and i saw what's so hard to see. Cage after cage, dog after dog, some two or three in a larger cage. Most of the cages were clean, but a few needed attention. Every tail wags and every pair of eyes follows hopefully when people pass.
Now, i have to admit that i am a messy mimi. While i do clean, things can get a bit behind, and stuff tends to pile up in some places. My floors, especially, often sport dried kitten formula and other dregs of raising these babies, but all litter boxes get cleaned daily and i sweep and try to spot clean as soon as i see anything and mop as often as i can. It builds up, though, and my house smells like it has cats, it can't be helped. It's something we are used to, we don't notice. When i walk into other people's homes, if they have cats or dogs, i don't notice a smell, it's something i'm used to, unless it's a hoarding situation.
This time, following a volunteer into the large part of the back of the animal control building itself, the stench was almost overwhelming. As much as i don't mind smells, and even enjoy the smell of a barn, that beautiful, earthy scent of horses or cows, this smelled of death and illness, and it was awful. It's the area the public doesn't see, the reason i have such a hard time coming out there.
It's the reason i think the people who volunteer out here are among the best people there are, because i'm not sure i could do it.
She brought me through to the front, where the public can sit and pick a happy, healthy companion, and from there Maria brought me in a tiny back office where one small dog was in a cage and another was wandering around, getting underfoot and being a darling. On a table in a carrier were three kittens. Next to the carrier, a cup full of formula that looked thin and watery to me, with syringes in it, the kind with no needled, to use to feed the babies. No bottles are available here.
Maria asked me to fill out a volunteer form, which i did, and i fed the babies some more of their watery formula, which they took gladly, so they would perhaps sleep on the trip home. As i stood there, she called two other volunteers back with her to discuss a man who had come in to claim his dog. The dog had been left tied to a fence, so closely tied that it could hardly move, with no food, water, or shelter. This in the hot south Louisiana summer can easily be lethal. Yet she was explaining that there was no animal control hold on the animal, so she wasn't sure she could deny him.
A couple of phone calls, and she got someone from the staff to agree that, though there wasn't a hold, he would come out there on a Saturday and talk to the man, stressing that they would check up on the dog and telling him he had to provide shade and water at all times the animal was outside. The whole conversation made me want to cry, and i know those volunteers hate having to give an animal back to an owner under such circumstances. Yet they keep coming back and doing this job.
A few minutes later, i put the kittens in my carrier and went out through the front door to walk around the building to my car, as i could not imagine trying to go through the back area again.
That last feeding was only partially successful; one of the babies screamed for about half of the long trip, and of course i came home to 13 screaming at me at home, all ready for a meal. Many of those are weaned, though, or partially so, so it's not so bad.
The two in the kitten cage had been bathed and let out of isolation earlier, and the cage cleaned for these new ones. So i fed everyone and moved these three into the cage, the tiniest babies into a much larger carrier, and the other 11 are running around the kitchen, dining area, library, and front hall, terrorizing my own cats who find the situation of all these invaders intolerable except that they bring with them the opportunity to steal kitten food and formula.
Now i have 16 kittens, from 3 different rescues, ranging from 2-7 weeks in age, and from 6 different litters. Next Friday, the biggest of them can go to the one rescue that has a shelter of its own.
And in a few weeks, i'll have to go back out there, where it's hard for me to go. At least these babies will get homes from out there, but i'm in more awe of the volunteers who work in that place than ever before. They have nerves of steel.
Banti Meskerem -- Eritrea (Revolution Day)
Bonnat Pig Fair -- Bonnat, France
Building and Code Staff Appreciation Day
Chicken Boy's Day -- the mascot of the now defunct restaurant by that name, the 22 foot statue of a boy with a chicken's head was saved from destruction and is now a pop icon in L.A. on Route 66
Constitution Day/National Day -- Slovakia
Day of Knowledge -- Estonia (an official Flag Day); Russia
Disaster Prevention Day/Kanto Earthquake Memorial Day -- Japan
Ecclesiastical Year begins -- Orthodox Christian
Father's Day -- Australia; Fiji; Papua New Guinea; New Zealand
Festival of Juno Regina and Jupiter Liber -- Ancient Roman Calendar
Giostra del Saracino -- Arezzo, Italy ("Saracen Joust," a tilting contest dating back to the 13th century, with knights in armor)
Harvest Wine Celebration -- Livermore, CA, US (open-house visits to 43 wineries; through tomorrow)
Hassaku Oshi-tsuki -- Tsuma, Oki Island, Japan (bull sumo, with bulls pushing each other out of the ring)
Historical Regatta -- Venice, Italy (competition among two-oar racing gondolas, preceded by Venetian ceremonial boats)
Mustaqillik Kuni -- Uzbekistan (Independence Day, 1991)
National Cherry Popover Day
National No Rhyme (Nor Reason) Day -- the day to celebrate the amazing words in the English language that do not rhyme with any other words
Nutt Day -- for Emma M. Nutt, the first female telephone operator
Oyster Season begins
Partridge's Day -- partridge hunting season begins in UK
Presidential Message Day -- Mexico
Random Acts of Kindness Day -- New Zealand
Running of the Sheep -- Reed Point, MT (matched only by the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, hundreds of sturdy Montana bred woolies charge down the six blocks of the main street in town, plus there is a parade!)
Sing A Silly Song in Bed Day -- now, this one has no real rhyme or reason
Sneeze-Wobbling Festival -- Fairy Calendar
St. Fiacre's Day -- Ireland and France (the rest of the church celebrates this Patron of gardeners on August 30)
St. Gideon the Judge's Day (Patron of Saint-Gedeon-de-Beauce, Canada)
St. Giles' Day (Patron of the beggars, blacksmiths, breast feeding, cancer patients, disabled/handicapped people, epileptics, forests, hermits, horses, lepers, mentally ill people, noctiphobics, paupers and the poor, rams, spur makers, woods; Edinburgh, Scotland; Toifa, Italy; against breast cancer, epilepsy, fear of the night, insanity, leprosy, mental illness, noctiphobia, sterility)
St. Simeon Stylites' Day -- Eastern Orthodox Christian
Teacher's Day -- Singapore
Wattle Day -- Australia
Gloria Estefan, 1957
Dr. Phil McGraw, 1950
Barry Gibb, 1946
Lily Tomlin, 1939
Seiji Ozawa, 1935
Conway Twitty, 1933
"Boxcar" Willie, 1931
Rocky Marciano, 1923
Yvonne DeCarlo, 1922
Vittorio Gassman, 1922
Edgar Rice Burroughts, 1875
Englebert Humperdinck. 1854 (composer, esp of opera Hansel and Gretel)
Johann Pachelbel, 1653
Today in History:
Rabbi Moses Ben Nachman establishes a Jewish community in Jerusalem, 1267
Adi Granth, now known as Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhs, was first installed at Harmandir Sahib, 1601
The first yacht race is held, between England's King Charles I and his brother James, 1661
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa forms in California, 1772
Juno, one of the largest main belt asteroids, is discovered by German astronomer Karl Ludwig Harding, 1804
Narcissa Whitman, one of the first white women to settle west of the
Rocky Mountains, arrives at Walla Walla, Washington, 1836
The first Pullman sleeping car is put into service, 1859
The Solar Superstorm/Carrington Event: a huge solar sunspot and solar flare storm that disrupted telegraphy and allowed the Aurora Borealis to be seen as far south as the Caribbean occurs, 1859
Joseph Lister performs the first antiseptic surgery, 1865
Robert T. Freeman becomes the first African American to graduate from the Harvard Dental School, 1867
The first underground rapid transit system in North America, the Boston Subway, opens, 1897
One of the first science fiction films ever, A Trip To The Moon, opens in France, 1902
Alberta and Saskatchewan become the 8th and 9th Canadian provinces, 1905
Martha, the last passenger pigeon, dies at the Cincinnati Zoo, 1914
The United States, Australia and New Zealand sign a mutual defense pact, called the ANZUS Treaty, 1951
In Reykjavík, Iceland, American Bobby Fischer beats Russian Boris Spassky and becomes the world chess champion, 1972
Canada adopts the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as part of its Constitution, 1982
A joint French-American expedition locates the wreckage of the RMS Titanic, 1985
Luxembourg becomes the first nation to complete the transition to all digital tv broadcasting, 2006
Back in the day
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