Alley Animals - Newsletter

Fall 2001 Edition
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Destruction in Construction Alley

by Alice Arnold with Lillian G. Leslie
In This Issue:

Construction Alley is one we've been working in for years. As soon as we think we've rescued all the homeless animals from there, another one appears and then another. Last spring a nursing black cat showed up at the feeding place. She didn't look ill at first but as she gradually allowed us near her, we could tell something was wrong.

The cat's hind quarters always looked sticky; when she came to eat an unpleasant odor folowed here. As time went on, this once skittish cat grew friendly and sweet while her illness worsened. All of us worried about her, we wanted more than anything to take her from Construction Alley but we couldn't locate her kittens. Without the kittens we couldn't take the mother.

One night the black cat emerged from the shadows withi two tiny kittens bouncing close behind. This was what we had been waiting for -- Mama was bringing us her young. However, the kittens scattered if approached. Gaining their trust would take time, thoug in the alleys time is never a friend to the animals.

Dee pulled into Consttruction Alley one night and noticed that the usual group did not show up to eat. No one. The place was ghost quiet. Dee called and waited before deciding to get out for a look around. IN the sharp beams of her flashlight Dee saw two dead animals -- one kitten and one young cat. The little black kitten was one of Mama's. A resident of the area told Dee that a group of boys with large dogs came through the alley two days in a row killing whatever they could find.

The same week several of the vacant buildings in Construction Alley were demolished. We had no way of knowing which cats escaped the vicious killing by dogs, and now we could not tell which dogs or cats escaped the crushing demolition. A week went by before the sparse group of survivors showed themselves. We were stunned -- happily so -- when the black Mama cat and her little gray kitten warily came to eat one night. Nearby was another survivor, a dog we had been working with for some time.

The dog, possibly a Golden Retriever mix, lived in the same empty building with Mama and the kitten. This is unusual because catrs avoid seeking shelter near dogs (who present an aggressive threat), but mothers will positively never risk harm tot heir infacts. The black Mama trusted this dog to live in peace with her baby which told us without question that the boy is a gentle soul. We had seen with him a female dog who looked enough like him to be his twin; perhaps they were brother and sister, a pair of siblings comforting and encouraging each other as they battled for their lives every day.

Both dogs had developed mange. We couldn't get near them and they didn't appear regularly but they were always together whenever we saw them. That is, until the Construction Alley demolition. The morning the three of them showed up -- the Mama, her kitten, and the Golden -- Dee knew drastic measure were called for to collect every one.

The process took time, effort, and a lot of patience, but in the end all the hazards and hardships in Construction Alley would be, for these three, forever a thing of the past.

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