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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Tale of Two Animal Shelters

We've been shopping for a new cat to be Pixel's buddy. We haven't gotten one yet, but it's been a fascinating experience.

First we went to the Humane Society. The buildings are old and dilapidated. Mice dart in and out through holes in the ceiling and under the cages. Wire mesh covers some missing pieces of glass. But the place has heart. The staff there are friendly and helpful. When we first walked in, the reception desk welcomed us, asked what we were looking for, and then directed us to the cat rooms. We browsed through the cat rooms, and made an appointment to get a cat. The cat we wanted was adopted when we came back to visit her two days later. This place gets pets homes and fast. But they don't just pawn the pets off on anyone who walks in. We were back there on Monday, and the adoption counselor talked us out of adopting Henry, a year-old grey kitty with striking dark gold eyes. He had marked in his previous home and been returned and they worried that he might be stressed by Pixel and do it again and possibly teach Pixel to do it. They had all this information on his kennel card, including his entire medical record and his volunteer socialization cards and his owner surrender survey. They're hoping to find him a low-stress single-cat household now. Meanwhile, we've watched dozens of great cats get adopted from there. We considered adopting Ted, but Ted was gone when we went back Monday. They pointed us at Wolfie again and we may adopt him after all. He's got an awfully similar personality to Pixel. They might be best buddies. And he's a black kitty and the black ones don't get adopted due to all sorts of weird notions folks have about them. Anyway, the Humane Society has our information on file for the next six months, and now that they know us so well, they're keeping their eyes peeled for a good candidate. The staff know us and love looking at Pixel's pictures with us. They all agree he's a cutie.

On the other hand, we went to San Jose Animal Care. You may remember this place from the drama with The Princess. Well, our opinion of them hasn't improved much. We drove down one evening to see their cats and were told we couldn't because they were closing and didn't show any animals after 6:30. We decided to come back on the weekend. We came back and asked about a cat we'd seen online. They checked their adoptable animals list and said, "Oh, he's not on the list so he must've been adopted." Um, okay... but then we walk out to the animal cages and see him sitting their with no name tag. Rick went back in to check on his status, waited in line for 10 minutes, and was told they couldn't help him unless he completed a pink adoption form. This made him very grumpy. You have to complete the adoption form and put your name on the list and wait for an adoption counselor to be available before you can see any animal. They hadn't mentioned this when we came in before or when we arrived this time. This really ticked Rick off. Meanwhile, I'd been out at the cages (which are really little isolation cubes with thick double-paned glass) visiting with some of the other candidates. Rudy was this cute white with stiped spots cat who when I walked up, threw himself against the glass in the hopes of being petted. Oh boy. Rick came back and said, "We're out of here." And I said, "But meet Rudy." He told me all about the drama and we left and headed back to the Humane Society. I went back last night to see if Rudy or Twain were still there. A check of the list elicited the similar, "Well, they're not on the list of adoptable cats" response. I filled out the pink form, put my name on the list, and waited. Then I was scolded for coming in at 6:20. "You should really come in before 6." I've got this job thing that makes that a little tough. (The Humane Society stays open til 8, and once we were coming back in from visiting a cat and asked a question and they said, "Well we officially closed twenty minutes ago, but that's okay.") So we go out to meet Cleo and Samantha. After meeting Cleo (who actually is a pretty good candidate - both loving and playful) I asked what her story was. "She's a stray, I think." No reference to where she was picked up, how long she's been there, or any other history. I asked if she was social with other kitties. The adoption counselor said, "We keep them all separate, otherwise they get sick. We never let them interact." Um, okay. Meanwhile, the humane society has several shared cages where social kitties get to hang out together. Wolfie has interacted well with three different roommates that we've met (though he was a bit rough with Felicia, and I understand that Caviar whomped him but good the other day). We went on to meet Samantha, a really sweet orange kitty who just isn't as playful as Cleo. She needs a quieter home. I asked about her history. Same story - a stray she thinks. Grumble.

Now there's a big part of me that wants to get a cat out of there the San Jose shelter just to save it, and give money to the Humane Society to help keep them going. They do so much better by their animals in their run-down facility. And I think I'm going to write a letter to my city councilman (Sam Liccardo). Animal adoption should be handled with heart rather than handled like the DMV. Heck, I've gotten better, friendlier service at the DMV.


  • " Mice dart in and out through holes in the ceiling and under the cages."
    You'd think there'd be an obvious solution to that problem....

    By Blogger Chris S, at 11:09 AM  

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