By Darlene Papa, Lifeline for Pets
My last article, “Not Good Enough?” was about the difficulty of getting easy special needs pets adopted. Now, I wish to address how rescue organizations, such as Lifeline for Pets, and others, pour their hearts and souls into saving the very difficult cases, in hopes that they, too, will know the love and comfort of a home, while teaching us about the joy of unconditional love.
To borrow lyrics from the musical, “Wicked” Pets “come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow — if we let them, and we help them in return.”
Lifeline has two very urgent cases: cats Trouper and Stryder. Trouper is an elderly, ragged male tabby, rescued off the streets over 7 months ago, starving and covered with dirt and fleas. He came to us war torn, scared, and depressed. No one knows how bad a life Trouper has had, but his actions and reactions would indicate that he’s had it rough. He has everything wrong with him — FIV+, crypto, inflamed mouth and teeth to name a few. He is not friendly, but stoic. He still does not make eye contact or purr, but with his issues, we can’t blame him. His progress has been very slow. His desperately needed dental surgery will take place this week. Our fingers and paws are crossed that he’ll make it. We would love for Trouper to learn to trust people again, to play with other kitties, and to enjoy life, but he teaches us the hardest lesson — how to deal with pain and sorrow without whining or sighing — and to try to make the best of every day.
Then there’s Stryder, a young male cat, about age 2. He was rescued last month, a stray, whose leg was badly mangled due to someone likely setting out a leg trap and leaving him there for days (we have alerted the authorities in the area). He just had surgery to remove his leg, during which time we also learned he is FIV+. He is recuperating nicely, as cats and dogs can function very well on 3 legs, and we have high hopes that someone will want to adopt this boy, who is just now learning about human kindness. Yet, he can teach us about forgiveness and unconditional love. We just know Stryder will make great “strides.”
So, yes, we delight in adorable and playful kittens & puppies, and we cuddle our healthy, young adults and we endlessly pet our older, friendly senior pets; but, oh! How we love and treasure our urgent cases, those amazing symbols of hope and perseverance — and we rejoice when even one of these special souls, against all odds, is at last chosen to share in the love of someone’s home, for as long as they live.
Trouper, Stryder, and all special needs pets make us better by teaching us to love unconditionally, and we hope they will inspire a compassionate adoption. Again, paraphrasing from Wicked, we learn from them, and they, in turn, make us better. “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.”
NOTE: Feline FIV+ is like human HIV+. It is only contagious to other cats through blood, such as a bite wound. Stryder is not a fighter. Trouper may just need to be the only cat
in the home. We are currently running a Giving Grid fundraiser for Trouper and Stryder, and that link is https://www.givinggrid.com/lifelineforpetsorg/?rc=znkrm, where readers may see their pictures and a video of Stryder. For more information call (626) 676-9505.