Rescuing strays is a challenge with great returns | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

THE AUTHOR while waiting for Shadow’s new owner

Joshua pointed to the black object and said, “I think it’s dead, Ma. It’s not moving.”


I asked: “What is it, Joshua?”


Wanting to see the object of my son’s curiosity, I took a closer look. It was a kitten, barely a month old, lying on its side with eyes closed.


What do we do?


The kitten was in the middle of the road, so I suggested we move it to a grassy area away from onrushing vehicles. I felt so sorry for the little creature, but it was too late. Or so we thought.


When Joshua tried to move it, the kitty gave out a single wail—a very painful one. It tried to move its legs, maybe to stand up, but it couldn’t.


“Ma, it’s still alive! But see those ants? They’re crawling on him. They’ll kill him.”


Richard saw tears roll down my face. He got a box, lined it with a cloth mat and placed the helpless kitten inside. He said, “We don’t know what happened to it. He might be injured because he’s not standing up. We can take him to the pet hospital if you want. Let’s have it checked.”


First aid


We rushed the kitten, which we named Shadow, to a pet hospital. The attending guardian checked him for a while and then said Shadow was in critical condition. Not wanting to know the inevitable, I asked what percentage of a chance he would live.


The guardian said: “About 10 percent, adding that the hospital might not be able to do much.


It was midnight and the veterinarian-in-charge was not around. The guardian said that the best we could do was wait.


The next morning, Shadow was still lying down, his limbs barely moving, but he was breathing. I took it as a sign that he wanted to live. We went to another place where we figured we could get the best advice for strays.


When we got there, there was also no veterinarian-in-charge and the place was full of cats waiting to be adopted.


We asked the attending guardian to check Shadow. We got the same reply—that Shadow would have a slim chance of surviving and was already a bit cold to the touch.


I was teary-eyed again, not knowing what to say. I guess the guardian saw my reaction, so she suggested we head to another clinic nearby. I did not want to give up.


A sign of hope


WITH DR. RICO Pampolina

We brought Shadow to Dr. Rico Pampolina of Pamvet. He said Shadow was suffering from extreme dehydration and malnutrition.


I asked, “Given the situation Shadow is in, being a stray and in that condition, what would you do, doctor?”


He looked at the poor kitten and said, “I’d give him a chance to live.”


He explained it would be a long shot but, if I allowed him to, he would have to do a blood test on Shadow so he would know where to start. I gave him the go-signal.


Shadow was not only malnourished and dehydrated. His liver was also in a bad state, he had worms, alopecia and a badly inflamed left eye. But the little fighter apparently wanted to live because when we brought him to this clinic, he was trying so hard to keep his right eye open.


The doctor inserted an IV-drip into his arm, which later on had to be moved to his backside because the veins were too constricted. We left Shadow in the clinic so he could be closely observed.


New lease on life


Two days later, we visited Shadow and noticed he was still too weak to walk but that he could carry his body a bit. This was a big improvement! The swelling on his left eye had almost disappeared, and he looked much better with both eyes open.


ISRAEL Wong with Shadow

After three more days, Shadow could already stand up and walk. The shaking in his legs was still noticeable, but he looked much better. It was as if he had been given a new lease on life, and I do not even want to imagine how things might have turned out if he didn’t make the wailing sound he did. It was his last cry for help, and we thank the heavens we were there.


I posted Shadow’s story and photos on Facebook. With the last photo of Shadow staring at the camera, I wrote, “Please help me find Shadow his forever home. With what he has gone through to survive, he will definitely be a blessing and source of joy to his new family.” A deluge of likes, comments and shares followed, even inquiries from a couple of friends who were interested.


But there was one message I received from a friend. “Ms Marina, I would want to take Shadow home. Please, I want Shadow.”


He nearly cried when he saw Shadow’s photos and story. It was love at first sight. And like a job applicant, he quickly wrote why Shadow was perfect for their home.


It may sound funny now that I’m talking about it, but I was really bent on finding the perfect master for Shadow.


My friend, Israel Wong, lives in Cabanatuan City with his grandmother, a pet-lover as well. They have a large garden where their other pets—three doggies, a pet pig and a white cat—are free to roam.


I turned over Shadow to Israel on June 5, eight days after that fateful night. I can clearly remember Israel’s look of joy when he held Shadow for the first time. He just said, “I promise to take good care of him.”


I took a photo of Israel and Shadow. I was quite speechless. I felt so happy for both and felt a soothing calm as we said our goodbyes.


Call for support


I was asked why I went through the trouble of having a stray cat brought back to normal health and having it adopted. I narrated how I found my adopted stray, Kitiket, and how having her has made my life even happier.


I am not part of any animal group, and not known as a pet-lover. I had a hard time covering veterinary fees but I sacrificed a bit and prayed hard to be able to do it. I know most of you can relate with me.


I am not asking for us to pick up all the strays we see, but how I wish we could. There will always be that one stray you will encounter which you just know will need your help.


I’ve seen this happen to a lot of people and it can happen to you, too.


I’ve learned that helping a stray get back to health and find its forever home is a fulfilling challenge with great returns. You not only make another person or family happy, but you also become part of the reason  one will finally be taken off the streets and placed in a new, loving home it deserves.


There is something about strays that makes them distinct. Maybe it’s because we see them grow from the lowest point of their lives. Then there’s the mystery of their past.


But once they find their forever homes and are able to feel loved and accepted, they turn out to be truly the most beautiful and handsome creatures that make your day, lessen your stress and make all the nurturing worthwhile.


Indeed, this would definitely make a beautiful “kitty-serye.”