#WATWB: Saving the Fur Babies

I hadn’t given much thought to this month’s #WATWB until I looked cat Gibbs squarely into his handsome, gray, furry face.

Gibbs and his sister, Ziva, are rescues. A little over seven years ago, I took them home from Orphan Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter in Neenah, Wisconsin. From their website:

“Orphan Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, Inc. is a no-kill, volunteer-driven, 501(c)(3) nonprofit animal rescue. Our mission is to save the lives of homeless animals, one at a time. We provide compassion, love, and the highest quality of care for each animal, in a cage-free, home like environment, until they find a forever home.”

OARS is located in a brick house and, at last visit, there was only one large cage for incoming house guests. All other felines are housed in separate rooms of the home, with a few other cats present to keep everyone socialized. The rooms consist of soft places and structures to sleep, climb and discover, along with plenty of cat toys strewn about the floor. Cats with feline leukemia are housed upstairs, behind closed doors to keep healthy cats safe. I remember seeing Gibbs staring at me from the other side of a glass and wood-pane door as if to say, “Hey, I’m in here! Take me home!”

OARS utilizes foster homes for all of the dogs in need of a permanent place to live because the OARS house is only for the cats and there simply is not enough room.

I want to send a big THANK YOU to volunteers, veterinarians, and the people who have a soft and loving spot in their heart for abandoned, neglected and sick animals. Without these people, taking care of all creatures big and small, the world would be a much darker place. A terrible number of unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized each year, but the no-kill shelters and rescue organizations offer a glimmer of hope for critters in need of a safe place to lay their sweet little heads.

From One Green Planet:

12 Excellent Wildlife Rehab Centers in the U.S.

and

10 Amazing No-Kill Animal Shelters in the U.S.

I didn’t see OARS on the no-kill shelter list, but was happy to see that the Dane County (Madison, WI) Humane Society is doing their part to find homes for cats and dogs. The wildlife rehab centers are also amazing places, focusing on saving cougars, manatees, birds, squirrels, reptiles, and more.

In closing, I ask that you share your stories of pet rescue and furr-ever homes in the comments section. Tell me of the wonderful rescue organizations in your city, state, province or country, or of the people who run them. I’d love to hear of the animal love present in your part of the world or in your own home.


watw-turquoise-badge-275-x241-whiteThe “We are the World” Blogfest is in its sixth month of a heartfelt journey. This blogfest’s goal is to spread the message of light, hope and love in today’s world. We are challenging all participants to share the positive side of humanity. This month’s co-hosts, Simon Falk, Roshan Radhakrishnan, Inderpreet Uppal, Lynn Hallbrooks, Eric Lahti, and Mary J Giese , welcome participants and encourage all to join in during future months. #WATWB is a blog hop on the last Friday of every month. Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up at any time. You are always welcome!

Please SIGN UP for WE ARE THE WORLD BLOGFEST in the linky list that opens up in a new window:

Click HERE to be part of the Light.

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64 responses to #WATWB: Saving the Fur Babies

  1. Excellent… and both the pets and the rescues are a light in this world, she says as her kittens (rescue) are playing with her toes while she tries to finish a report!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You must be getting so much joy and laughter from the kittens. This is what rescue is all about…giving these critters a warm home, food and toes to play with!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I will be forever grateful to OARS for giving Gibbs and Ziva a place to stay until we could meet and become a family.

  2. Lynn says:

    My friend found a baby kitten outside his house. She adopted him. A few months later another cat came to the door and after a little while, she also adopted him. I sometimes wonder who rescued who. He pays for the food, water, toys, and healthcare but they bring joy and excitement into his life. Thanks for sharing about OARS and for being a part of #WATWB

    • bikerchick57 says:

      It appears the kitties made the right choice in finding and adopting your friend. He sounds like a wonderful and caring “dad” who is taking good care of his rescued babies. Thanks for visiting, Lynn.

  3. Dan Antion says:

    1) Great subject. Anything to save these little guys. Big thanks to the rescue places, especially the local ones.

    2) MiMi and MuMu came from a nearby farm where people tend to dump kittens. The woman cares for them and places the via word-of-mouth.

    3) I did not steal your description of WATWB this month.

  4. datmama4 says:

    We have a place in my town called the ANNA Shelter (Association for Needy and Neglected Animals). We’ve had a lot of dogs and cats given to us over the years, but my favorite cat came from the ANNA Shelter. His name is AndyAndy and he thinks he’s my bodyguard. He was not a cute, tiny kitten, and had been at the shelter for a while. Everyone there loved him but all the “shoppers” wanted kittens. My husband and daughter went to the shelter one day and brought home a kitten . . . and AndyAndy. He may not have been cute and tiny, but he has been the most mellow, chill cat we’ve ever had, and he’s the one all the new cats in our home want to follow around all the time.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      That is a great story about finding AndyAndy at the ANNA Shelter. When I went to OARS, I was determined NOT to bring home a kitten. There were just too many adult cats in need of a home. I ended up with two very loving cats. Gibbs is the coolest cat I’ve ever allowed to own me, much like your AndyAndy. I hope you have many more joyful years with your guy…the leader of your pack! 🙂

  5. Fil says:

    My last cats were rescues and at the moment we’re being visited by neighbours’ cats who seem to have adopted us – they bring so much joy – and the people who run the animal shelters and rescue places, like the RSPA here, are wonderful people. Thank you for co-hosting Mary – this is a wonderful monthly respite from all the bad news. Fil

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You are welcome, I am glad to share the good news of animal rescue. Have fun with the neighbor’s cats…I suspect that there are rubs and maybe treats from the humans they visit?

  6. Just four days ago, two black kittens wandered into our yard. At first I though they might have been living somewhere near us since birth. But now I think they were dumped. Unfortunately, we live in a VERY small northern community that simply does not have the resources to offer shelters. They can’t even afford to pay a bylaw officer to monitor roaming dogs, among other things. So I absolutely appreciate and support the work conducted by these rescue missions.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Oh poor babies. I could never understand why people just dump animals by the side of the road. I hope the kitties can survive and find a forever home. Perhaps some day your area will have some type of shelter or rescue organization that can deal with the animal orphans.

  7. joey says:

    I have rescued every pet I’ve had. I have tried to rescue more. I’ve been a temporary home for many animals over the years. Six cats and two dogs were re-homed, one kitten did not make it through the week.
    I haven’t written her story yet. I may someday. It was painful. I take comfort in knowing that although I was too late to save her, in her last days, she knew only love and safety.
    My Sadie dog was probably my biggest rescue and she’s really MY rescue, as they say. The woman I adopted her from ran a rescue, but her own dog did not like Sadie and kept hurting her. :/ She was a wreck when we took her home. We knew she was our dog, though. We just knew it.
    Sassy and I used to volunteer at the Humane Society in Georgia — we were cat brushers and dog run supervisors. I remember when we started looking for our dog, there were over a thousand dogs in need in the county.
    We were impressed by the dedication and compassion of those who ran the shelter. People who donate their time and effort to saving and caring for animals, they are to be commended. It’s physically and emotionally demanding. It’s nice you brought this one into the light 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re a good fur-baby mom, Joey. I would like to read your story about the kitten. When I was married, the ex brought home a kitten that someone left by the side of the road. I named her Freeway. She only lived a day as she was severely malnourished and covered in fleas. I knew if I took her to the shelter or vet, they would euthanize her, so I let her pass peacefully in my home.

      Sadie was truly blessed to have found you and I imagine her doggie love for you is unending. Thank you (and Sassy) for being volunteers. I volunteered many years ago at the Humane Society shelter until they did away with volunteers and only had paid staff. I tried to volunteer with OARS, but their schedule and mine did not click. Perhaps once I retire, I can look at that option again. You’re right, that work can be physically and emotionally demanding and draining, so kudos again to the people who take care of all God’s creatures.

      • joey says:

        I agree, volunteering with animals sounds like a great retirement possibility for you. Much reward. 🙂

  8. OARS sounds like a great organization! Thanks for sharing this Mary. When I lived in the US, I grew up on a Minnesota farm where we had numerous cats and a few dogs, all rescues. In California, my husband and I adopted three adult cats and one kitten from shelters. One of them was 12 and very overweight. When we saw her, my husband said “Well, who else is going to take her? She’s old and looks like a bowling ball with legs.” She was super loving for the three years we shared a home with her.

    Where we live in Ecuador, there are no shelters (there are some in other parts of the country though). We have found several abandoned kittens that we have bottle fed and found homes for or adopted ourselves. Our three permanent resident cats are: two who watched their mother get run over by a car when they were about a month old and one who was abandoned in the home of a caregiver when her owners left town and never returned. A puppy who found us when he was close to death from a tick disease was adopted by the vet we hired to save him.

    Thanks again Mary for shining a light on the people who run these great shelters!

    Emily from My Life in Ecuador

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Emily, many thanks to you and your husband for being the caregivers of these beautiful, furry lives. It’s good to know that you are looking out for them and finding homes if you can’t keep these orphans. I chuckled at “bowling ball with legs,” although I know the down side to an overweight cat. She was fortunate to have a warm and loving home for three years.

      • That comment by my husband was very funny because it was so accurate 🙂 Our vet put her on prescription diet food and said she probably lived an extra year or so due to the weight she lost while on it.

  9. Susan Scott says:

    Rescue animals are always extra special in my view. Our cats and dogs from the SPCA have brought us much joy! Volunteers who run these shelters are beyond wonderful, caring as they do for our furry ones. Thank Mary – and have a great weekend!

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome Susan. And I agree with you that rescue animals are always special in one way or another.

  10. Ally Bean says:

    We used to have two cats. One came from a local family-run pet store that took in unwanted litters of kittens and placed them under a sign saying: “Free Cats.” The other cat I found as an abandoned kitten foraging for food outside a hospital. My point here is that back in the day there weren’t any animal rescue no-kill shelters around, so finding a pet was not as easy as it is now. Shelters like the one where you got Gibbs and Ziva, and the volunteers who staff it, are such an improvement on how it used to be.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I agree Ally. It’s easy to go online to Petfinder now and see what’s being housed at the local shelters. When I was younger, my kitties usually came from a farm or private home. For a while, when friends knew of a kitty that needed a home, they would call me. Sometimes I adopted, but usually I had to say, “Sorry, I already have two (or three).” This is why the shelters and rescue organizations are needed, so they can find homes for these babies.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I adore gray kitties! I’m so happy you were able to give these two a home. Sounds like there is much love for them as they must have for you.

  11. John Maberry says:

    Only way to go–adopt cats or dogs from shelters. Our current one dog might have been 8 months old when we adopted him three years ago. They they seldom know for sure at shelters. The same is true of the last one some time ago. She might have been a year old and passed away ten years later of cancer. But we enjoyed her all her years.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks for adopting, John. You are part of the solution that gives all homeless critters a place to call home.

  12. Kudos to all the shelters and people assisting our animals in need! And how lucky for all of you that Gibbs and Zeva found their way to you – win-win. I’ve had cats all my life, and other than two feral rescues, all of them have come from Tree House Humane Society, a cageless no-kill shelter whose mission centers around the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of sick, injured, abused, and neglected cats. They were founded in 1971, and have rescued and adopted out more than 25,000 cats.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Tree House is wonderful…they provide a great and humane service to your area. I had not seen a cageless shelter here until I went to OARS. Would love to see all shelters operate in this manner as it’s so good for socialization and reduces stress on the animals. Thank you for being a loving cat mom who adopts. You are awesome!

  13. As a pet lover/owner this is great. Most of my pets have been rescues or we’ve gotten them because the owners were unable to keep them. I’m so thankful for these shelters they give second lives to so many loving critters. Thanks so much for sharing this! #WATWB

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Belinda, it seems that most who have commented are “owned” by rescued pets. It does my heart good, that so many people are choosing to save a fur baby from the shelter. These cats and dogs and other critters need a home where they can feel safe and secure. Thanks for being a good fur baby mom! 🙂

  14. We have a rescue cat, Wilbur. The RSPCA believe his owners abandoned him when they moved. He was picked up with terrible injuries which were maggot-infested. Thankfully as he was only about 2, the vets felt he deserved a chance and fixed him up rather than put him to sleep. 11 years later, our home wouldn’t be the same without him 🙂 I also volunteer, when I can, as a transporter for a charity called Animal Lifeline UK who, with a huge army of volunteers, secure rescue places for dogs that have found themselves in the council pound through no fault of their own.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I love the name Wilbur. I had a kitty Willie, who I also called Wilbur. My Willie was not abandoned or injured, but I felt the same as you – that life would not have been the same had he not been in it for 13 years. Your Wilbur was so fortunate and blessed to have a vet and a human who would give him a second chance. Bravo to you for your volunteer efforts, and for giving dogs in the UK a home.

  15. This jives in so well with my post– rescuing animals is a subject dear to my heart. Some day, I hope to be able to do it myself. for now, I just donate to charities as and when i can.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I always thought it would be a rewarding job or volunteer opportunity to work with rescued animals. I hope to do something more in this area once I retire and have more free time. You’ll find your opportunity too, Damyanti. Thank you for keeping these babies close to your heart!

  16. lizhartz says:

    Your compassionate post really spoke to me. I admire the folks who rescue animals and care for them rather than catch and kill them. Three months ago, a feral cat had 3 female kittens on our patio. Thanks to help from a knowledgeable cat lady who helps feed a cat colony, I became educated about the feral cat situation and was able to get all four girls fixed. Now they’re frolicking and playing and catching rats (which they proudly offer to me in a decayed state,yuck) in the back yard and I’ve become an expert on and advocate of Trap Neuter Release.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      It is a wonderful and honorable thing that you have done with the feral cats, especially with mom and her kittens. It’s hard enough to see cats and dogs left to roam on their own without adding more mouths that have to hunt for food. Thank you for taking care of these precious little furballs.

  17. I really admire people who work with injured/abandoned animals. Makes me think of Dr Pol, the veterinarian who has a show that airs on the animal channel. He does amazing work with a variety of animals. His skill, dedication and compassion never fail to amaze me.

    Thank you for highlighting the no-kill shelters and rescue organizations that come to the aid of these animals.

    Writer In Transit

    • bikerchick57 says:

      You’re welcome, Michelle. I admire the caretakers and vets like Dr. Pol as well. When I was growing up, it was without pets of any kind. Mom did not approve of animals in the house. I wish it had been different as I think I would have focused my career on veterinary medicine or working with animals in some capacity. It must be rewarding in so many ways.

  18. hilarymb says:

    Hi Mary – what a great orphanage for animals … they do need to be looked after and not left on the streets scrounging the earth for whatever they can find – they need love and care and attention as we do. Wonderful to read about … cheers Hilary

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Thanks Hilary and I agree. Just like human children need love, a warm place to sleep and food in their mouths, so do the animals. It’s difficult to see either homeless and always searching for sustenance. If we could only focus our love and attention on matters like this rather than the things that divide us…

  19. ericlahti says:

    It’s wonderful to see people helping to save animals. All ours have been either shelter animals or other rescues. Our current dog – a basset mix – came from Craigslist. She’s been an amazing companion.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Eric, thank you for being a rescue dad and giving your basset mix a home. There’s so much joy in having these “kids” part of our homes.

  20. Joanne Sisco says:

    I love this story, Mary. All of us with rescue animals in our homes appreciate the work, love, and dedication of the people involved in animal shelters and foster homes.

    Theo came from the litter of a feral cat and became a family member when he was 4 years old, after bouncing around a few homes. He had a history of behavioral issues … but that big furball is a delight in my life ❤

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I bet those behavioral issues in Theo lessened greatly or ceased to exist after finding his forever home. Except for the “I love food” part…right? 😉

      • Joanne Sisco says:

        Theo definitely settled down here easily because it was an environment that he needed to thrive – quiet, no other pets, humans that were home more often than not … and an opportunity to live life outdoors.
        He’s a big cat, an alpha male, and needs the stimulation of the outdoors. There is no question, he is a happy cat here.

        …. plus, he gets to share in sushi nights 😉

  21. I’m so pleased to find another animal post—and an animal lover to go with it! I’m a dog rescuer here in Curaçao, and many of the rescue foundations here also use fosters, though mostly out of lack of space. We have only one (official) shelter, and it’s always overcrowded (and, of course, underfunded and understaffed), so the spill-over needs to go… somewhere. Several people I know have ended up converting their homes into sanctuaries, not out of an actual choice but rather because… well, where else are these little ones going to go? No one wants them, especially when they’re mutts, when they’re older and sick or have behavior issues. Sad, yes, and all of us rescuers wish our jobs weren’t necessary… but it’s these stories—the animals who make it, who find a loving home (like yours)—that make life worth living 🙂 Thanks for spotlighting OARS!
    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Guilie, thank you so much for being part of the animal rescue efforts around the world. And please thank the kind people who open their homes to the furry faces of your city. You are all awesome. 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      Crystal, if you click on the link at the bottom of my post, you will find more information about the Blogfest and how to sign up to participate. You can post every month or whatever months you choose…no pressure. It’s a great way to meet other bloggers and read positive, heart-warming stories about the good of this world. Hope you can join us in September and thank you for being an advocate for animals. 🙂

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