Mr. CoolMale tuxedo, approximately 6 weeks old;
endlessly playful, self-confident, and highly social.
His terrified cries reverberated through the alley as only an infant's can. Dee said to her partner, Angie, "We have another kitten in distress; Have to locate him." She followed the echoes of his wailing to a pair of trash cans; the kitten was sitting between them on the cold cement in the dark. Dee reached into the darkness and pulled out a terrified 5 or 6 week old baby with a voice grand enough to fill an Opera House.
No longer terrified of anything, Mr. Cool marches around as if he were in charge of the world; everyone and everything. His being tiny pleads no hindrance to his knowing that he is one cool cat.
DibleyPossibly 10 months old, full-grown at approximately 30 pounds, Dibley is housebroken, playful, and good-natured. Gets along with other animals, loves other dogs. The "problem area" in Dibley's progress is her decided reluctance to walk on a leash.
We'd been feeding her for some time; our thought was that she might be "owned" because she was always in the same yard and always out no matter what the weather, as is the case with so many "owned" dogs forced to live outside by themselves, usually on a thick chain. This one wasn't chained, however; she'd run behind a trash can or the porch when she saw Dee coming with her dinner. Without exception she kept her tail between her legs and head down; her sideways glance belied a deep-seated fearfulness - this one had been mistreated.
When she started to appear in the alley rather than in the yard, we knew it was only a question of time before she was either hit by a car or perhaps used as bait for Pit Bull training. She'd never worn any form of identification. Surely we would be remiss in our duties were we to leave her in the alley owing to a possibility that she might belong to someone (who didn't properly care for her). She was in harm's pathway - we were her only hope of escaping an ill-fated future and none of us wanted to find her dead or injured because we waited just a little too long before taking her from the streets.
After the alley work was finished one morning, Lynne urged our return to Dibley's location. We arrived to find her trotting about outside her yard. She took one look at us and made a beeline for the middle of the alley to a cubbyhole under a set of steps flanked on either side by a brick wall. Our only access to the pup was to reach through the rather slim clearance between each step.
The dog had enough room under there to render our rescue effort more than a little frustrating. Although a small dog could wiggle through between the steps, a person could squeeze in only so far. Leesh-looping the frightened dog was no easy job but finally the leash rested around most of her head and neck which was plenty enough for Lynne. She grabbed the leash and pulled; the dog resisted. Lynne pulled harder - one way or another this dog would be coming with us.
Little by little the black pup emerged from between the steps, head first then one paw and another, almost as if the steps were giving birth relinguishing a wide-eyed offspring. In the car she rested quietly, she seemed grateful for the warm air and a soft cushion - a far cry from the freezing wet cement to which she was accustomed.
B2Longhaired pewter-gray with a white undercoat and an orange blaze on her forehead, B2 is possibly 3 months old. She enjoys attention and grooming although she has not entirely shed her fear of people or the world around her.
In one of our usual feeding places Dee got out with the pot of food and she heard a kitten's frantic cries. How desperate she was, atop the heap of garbage. Her unusual markings and long fur blended in with surrounding debris, but there was no mistaking the pair of eyes - big as saucers and full of fear. A cautious approach toward the kitten sent her scampering away, so Dee backed off.
No other kittens showed themselves, mo mother cat either. This little one was by herself and without a clue as to where to go or what to do. A couple of adult cats who regularly eat there were making their way to the food and the nervous kitten followed them.
As soon as she smelled the food she went crazy over it, taking down mouthfuls without chewing. Dee sneaked up and grabbed the kitten by the scruff; walking back to the car, Dee could feel the kitten's emaciated body and massive clumps of matted fur.
B2 is filling out nicely now, her fur is smooth and silky; the grimy film her long hair collected in the alley is gone. Upon occasion she startles easily, but she enjoys attention and purrs loudly during sessions with a brush and comb.
Pup PupTan mixed breed, possibly 4 or 5 months old; not yet bousebroken. A little tentative with his affections, but gradually he's learning to trust.
An elderly gentleman called asking for help. A dog he had never seen before was hiding behind the lawn mower and some other stored items in his garage; he didn't know what to do because the mere sight of a person sent the dog into a yelping frenzy.
No doubt the pup had run away from someone or something and decided to use the open garage as his hideaway. The elderly man was disconcerted by the situation and ever so grateful when we agreed to asssit him.
One person distracted the dog's attention while Alice stole up behind him and, at just the right second, threw a large towel over his head before snatching him up in her arms. At first he yelped and hollered, but eventually he realized no one was going to hurt him and he curled up for a nap on Alice's lap.
OleyMale, solid white longhair with blue eyes; gentle and good-natured, gets along well with other cats and people.
One night not long ago, Dee and her partner pulled into Viet Nam Alley and she gave the call to let the animals there know a small meal was waiting for them. Out from one of the yards came a cat Dee had never before seen. A fluffy white cat. He was heading up the alley but he was having a great deal of difficulty doing so. He limped and hobbled, he hopped, lost his balance but kept going with a fierce determination.
The exact nature of the cat's injury was not immediately apparent; his front leg could be broken but he also looked to be bleeding from the chest. Although an injured animal can be among the hardest to secure, Dee knew she couldn't leave the alley without him.
Fortunately his wound had not become infected to the point of causing a fever - a high fever steals the appetite. When Dee put food into a carrier, he went right into eat and Dee quietly closed the door behind him. For the rest of the night a pungent odor of rotting flesh filled the car.
As it turned out, the cat was friendly and gentle. When the alley work was over he allowed us to examine him without struggling against being handled (which would have been entirely understandable). No high-minded detective work proved necessary in locating the source of his problem: a collar.
He may have gotten caught on a piece of fencing and, in wrestling himself free, he managed to get one front leg through so now the collar - big enough to fit around his neck was wrapped around his body under one arm. Layers of raw and decaying flesh carved a deadly path as the offending collar dug deeper and deeper with the boy's every painful move.
The cat could not have continued much longer to fight for his life and there was not the tiniest shred of a possibility that his condition would improve on its own. He was well on his way to a lingering, ugly death. This instance is but one among many collar-provoked injuries we have dealt with firsthand. Perhaps cat collars (with the exception of the break-away type) ought to be sold with a warning label stamped in bold letters: Use with care; this product may cause severe injury or death.
When Benny's owners moved they left him behind
to fend for himself on the streets. He loves people, but because
he was bullied by other cats on the streets, he would be more at
ease if he is the only cat in the family. Benny is about 2 years
old and neutered. Very sweet.
Some things I’ll never understand. Why do people seem to think if they leave a pet behind, he or she will get by and make it on his own? Too often “owners” will call a shelter because they need to “get rid” of their animal, but if they’re told honestly the animals may be put to sleep, suddenly they want no part of it. Yet leaving him behind to die from starvation, automobiles, or wicked people, this they find acceptable. In the real work, abandoned animals die a slow, painful death while the people responsible for it congratulate themselves for not having their pet put to sleep.
These next two animals barely escaped a fate forced on hundreds of their brothers and sisters everyday. Putting an animal out or leaving him behind is an ugly and cruel act done by humans, yet animals are the ones who take the punishment and pay the ultimate price.
She found shelter and that’s about all in an abandoned house full of trash and debris, but on the streets you take what you can get. When I first saw her, she was running but not away from anything or anyone, just running and panicky - this is how “dumped” animals act, lost and scared. But she wasn’t just left behind, she was pregnant so her soon-to-come kittens were abandoned with her. Not only did this lost and frightened cat not know how to care for herself, but before long she would have had a family depending on her.
She looked barely two months old but there she was all by herself sitting directly in front of the tire of a work truck, the double-wheel variety. Gigantic next to her, the tire must have felt as if it offered protection against the morning rush hour and pedestrian traffic. But the work crew was preparing to move on; the truck’s engine was running.
After doing a frantic U-turn, we pulled up next to the truck and blocked it in. The driver heard someone shout to him, “Didn’t you see that kitten?” The baby was snatched and cradled in a pair of caring arms. He answered, “What kitten?” as he put the truck in gear and drove off.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all photos on this page are by Lillian Leslie
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