I grew up in a very small town in rural Arkansas. The woods were our back yard… and side yard, for that matter! And we were a family of animal lovers. Living in the country brings new light to the old TV show that used to be on called “The Beverly Hillbillies”! One of the characters was Ellie Mae and she loved animals. She was always taking in new animals, nursing animals, holding animals and surrounded by them… as was my mother. I used to call her Ellie Mae, actually. In fact, other people in our small community would bring injured and sick wild animals to my mom to heal.
Growing up, we had a whole host of wild animals we helped and healed and most of them ended up being pets. Some of the pets from that list included a deer, two raccoons (at different times), several ferets, a litter of oppossums, a litter of skunks- all in the house… but, not all at the same time. That would just be too much, right?
Anyway, my point is, to have some normal animals like dogs and cats was nothing, right? Oh, we did take in sick and wounded dogs and cats, as well. And since we lived on a two-lane highway, we ended up with many animals that had been hit by cars. Each time, we would pull out the bottle or syringe and kitten milk replacer and get to work.
Now I live in the city- Fort Worth, Texas. I like to say its a small town feel in a big city. I live in the same apartment complex I work for in Fort Worth, but my home wouldn’t be complete without pets. My kids grew up with a dog I rescued named Gracie. She was an amazing family dog. She was everything a loyal companion should be- obedient, loyal, protective, smart, playful… we had her for almost 12 years. At last, we had to put her down on Monday night. I cried all night long. It was a good thing Tuesday was my day off. My husband took the day off, as well, to mourn and to comfort me. Our plan was to stay in bed most of the day, mourn and lay low…
But, that Tuesday turned into something much different than I ever anticipated or could have expected…
At 9:45 am I received a call from my office where I work, “Sorry to bother you today on your day off, but Jeannie just pulled 15 kittens out of the dumpster. Is there any way you can put a post online to see if someone can help with them? They are tiny!”
I immediately went to the front office to retrieve a carrier full of teeny tiny kittens. I brought them home and posted on the “Nextdoor” website (which has been a life-saver more than once). It’s an online community for people only in our surrounding neighborhood. Within minutes, my phone was blowing up with offers to help in every way from fostering, to adopting, to information, to contact names to financial help! One person suggested I contact “Good Neighbors Rescue” on Facebook, so I sent them a chat message telling them we had found the kittens and I couldn’t keep them because I had grown cats. I did not receive an answer from them right away, so I moved on. Another Nextdoor neighbor suggested we take the kittens to a neighborhood vet called Westcliff Vet.
We took the babies across the street to Westcliff vet, and Dr. Cass looked at each and every one of them, listened to their hearts and put ointment in their eyes. She then gave me (free of charge) antibiotics for them, food for them and milk for them- since there was 3 litters in all, ranging from 1 week old up to 4 weeks old.
By the time I was home and began to administer the antibiotics and feed each one, the Fort Worth Star Telegram called and had interviewed me and my husband via phone and set up a time to come by for video and pictures… I had also received a call from a woman who volunteers for a shelter that has an awesome kitten fostering system- Kirstie. She offered to come get all of the kittens, so we asked her to be there when the camera crew from FW Star Telegram would be there so she could give anyone else who wanted to help her info. And, of course, Jeannie had to be there, as well! She was the real hero!
It was the most incredible day. Below is the video Jim took and the link to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
Some twists to the story: someone was throwing bricks into the dumpster when Jeannie heard the meows and ran over to look in. She climbed right into the dumpster and began pulling kittens out…. right before the trash trucks were about to pull in to empty the dumpsters.
One of them- a black long haired baby was under a brick. That baby was rushed to medical attention. She had head trauma- a skull fracture and brain swelling. She got adopted by a fabulous rescue and was immediately hooked to an IV and closely monitored. By the next day she was doing great! She was up moving around and even eating!
A co-worker of Kirstie’s called her to let her know… his GRANDMA is the one who pulled the kittens out!
Miracles can happen when a community pulls together. We can save LIVES! 14 of them in just a few hours on Tuesday! It was a bitter sweet day for me. I had lost a precious life the day before, but saved 14 precious lives today… and so goes the circle of life.
UPDATE 1: According to HOuse of MEows- Home Rescues (4/27 6:00pm) – “Harvey (meaning “warrior”) had a grand mal seizure this afternoon. We took her to one of our regular vets for assessment. Her vitals look good, but we are taking her back to the Animal Hospital so that she can be closely monitored overnight. Please keep her in your prayers. Donations are still greatly needed for her continued care.”
UPDATE 3: Dallas Morning News also picked up the story! See their story HERE
UPDATE 4: I also heard back from Good Neighbors Rescue via Facebook chat 2 days later. The response was “We have adult cats too and still manage to foster multiple litters of kittens and other homeless pets in need.” Haha! Well, I’m thankful some people in the community were more helpful than others!
UPDATE 5: (04.29.16) I have the latest update on Harvey. I am so sad to say she did not make it. The vet made the decision today to ease her out of her pain, as she was getting worse and could no longer, walk, open her eyes or eat. She took a piece of my heart with her, but I know she is sleeping better tonight.
Please see the video taken by my husband below and read the story at the Star Telegram.