Thursday, February 18, 2016

And Then You Saved Me: Mutual Rescue™ Goes Beyond Saving Pets

Let's be honest: we aren't the only ones who do the rescuing around here.

Saving isn't a one way street. For every animal that gets adopted, a person's life gets changed by that animal. It can be as simple as having someone to come home to. But a lot of times, it goes a lot deeper than that.

Animal rescue ain't just about animals. It's about people, too.

Eric was morbidly obese, had completely withdrawn from the world and was told by his doctor that if something didn't change, he should just buy a funeral plot because he wouldn't make it another five years. A nutritionist told him to go to a shelter and adopt a dog. It would help him get exercise, she said. Instead something miraculous happened.

This is Eric's story:

For some reason people tend to divide the world into 'animal' issues and 'people' issues. As anyone who loves an animal knows, it's not that easy. Our lives and our fates, are intertwined. When you adopt an animal your life changes. Sometimes instead of us saving them, they save us.

Like Eric, like many of us, a rescued animal rescued me as well.   

I was nineteen years old when I was diagnosed with cancer. Living three thousand miles away from my family, I made the decision not to return home for treatment. I would stay where I was under the hopes of getting back to my life - college, work, and all - as soon as possible. Plus I had adopted a dog, a big yellow lab mix, from a shelter a year before. If I returned to my mother's tiny condo what would become of Seamus? No, I needed to stay independent.

Seamus, a large, furry hero.
As treatment progressed and I got sicker and sicker, it was Seamus who saved me. Cancer is hard enough for adults to deal with  - it's near impossible for college kids. Depleted and bald from chemotherapy, it was difficult to deal with people's reaction to me. Their pity, their awkwardness. I retreated to my tiny apartment and became more and more isolated in my illness.

No matter how isolated I became, Seamus needed to be cared for. On days when everything felt like despair rapped in a thick coat of nausea, there was Sea with his ever present tennis ball. On days I couldn't do more than open the door to let him out and back in, he would lie on the bed next to me. His warm body pressed against my leg was an anchor holding me to a world I was felt I was slipping away from.

Seamus robbed me of the option of staying in bed all day. He robbed me of the option of giving up, even in the darkest hours. He had no pity for me, just pure, unadulterated love. Above all others Sea seemed to be the only who recognized that I was the same old me I had always been. His faith in me got me through. When it was all over and I emerged, bald, pale and touting radiation tattoos and burns, it was he who led me back to normalcy, one leash walk at a time.

Like most dogs, he really needed a superhero cape. 
I'd like to say our story is unique but it's not. It's Eric and Peety's story. It's the older gentleman with Alzheimer's who never forgets to light up when he sees his beloved cats. It's universal and it touches at the very heart of what shelters across this country do every day. Every. Single. Day.

So we at Humane Society Silicon Valley had this incredibly cool idea: what if we tell these stories? What if we change that conversation from 'animals or people causes' to 'animals and people causes'? What if we collect stories of people whose lives were saved by their rescued pets and make the best ones in to short films?

Here's where we need your help: we need your stories. Go to Submit your story. We'll be accepting them through April 30th. We'll take the best ones and the amazing folks that made Eric and Peety's film will make films of those ones.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

We. Are. Not. Pleased.

Dearest Blog-Reading Hoomans, 

We have only one question for you:

I just...I can't even... really people. Really. 
What. The. Heck. Seriously.

First there was Spider Cat:

Is that a cat? Or is that a blob on a cat tree?
Who did a whole lot of not showing himself, busting out of the Cat Garden and leading revolts. And you know what? Despite not having one decent photo of that....that....that......troublemaker, you people swooned. You swooned. Sure, you haven't adopted him yet but you loved his little antics.

Then there was Arlo and Spot.

There is a collective shaking of cat heads going on here. 
We will not even touch the fact that they are dogs and therefore HIGHLY inferior - HIGHLY inferior - to cats. But what did they do aside from sit on each other? What? And again, you people swooned. Swooned.

I might be vision impaired but even I am bored by that. 
Some animals have no dignity. We expect that from the dogs but there really is no excuse for Spider Cat. There is a proper way to be a garden cat. Mysterious and beautiful and independent and hardworking without being an uncivilized stunt cat.

This, my friends, is how you properly Garden Cat. 
But you, you readers, you - you gobble this up? We know you like charismatic megafauna and all but let's not pander to our basest instincts. This is not a presidential election. We don't need more charades and mischief to get adopted, do we? Do we all have to start pulling off hijinks?

You want a stunt? Come in and see us or the giraffe gets it. 
Look, we can't all be internet superstars. And if we were, would you even want to live with us? The egos, the paparazzi, the constant pressure to produce... Isn't just being a great cat good enough? What else do you want us to do? Your taxes?

Let me tell you what you can do with those taxes....
We're cats. We're lovely, we're sweet, we're cuddly and we promise we'll never let you forget your place in the universe (firmly below us). But it doesn't mean we're going to do little dances and skits to get you to adopt us. 

Actually guys, I'm kind of willing to hop in the ball-pit for a forever home. 
If you want someone that eager to please, you probably want a dog. But if you just want an awesome, fantastic, loving companion then pop in and see us. And don't expect us to juggle or anything.