Welcome to the blog for the Oregon Ferret Shelter! Ideally, this will be a nice venue for friends of the shelter to get information about what is going on with the shelter. Or maybe just to view some funny gifs.

To get to the Oregon Ferret Shelter's main website, please visit OregonFerretShelter.org

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shelters Fill Up Fast When "Animal People" Meet "Non-Animal People"

I remember going over to my friend's new house. She had just moved in with her new boyfriend and her 16-year-old cat, who was left over from her previous relationship that had ended in divorce. My friend, L___, and her cat, Miranda, had lived through a lot together over the years, and Miranda was a great source of comfort to L___ as she endured her heartbreaking situation.

I was excited to see L___ with her new boyfriend, J___. I had been told he "wasn't much of a cat person", but as long as she was happy, I was thrilled for her.

When I arrived, Miranda was at the door. Of course I let her in with me. I was surprised that she was outside at all. They were in a new neighborhood, and you don't put a 16-year-old cat outside in an unfamiliar place. At their age and fitness level, they just don't have the knowledge or skill to find shelter or safety from hazards like dogs or cars. I know L___ knew that -- when she moved to her apartment after the divorce, she called to ask me about the "butter on the feet" trick of introducing a cat to a new place. I figured Miranda must have somehow sneaked out when nobody was looking, like she always tried to do when I cat-sat for her.

Miranda galloped over to the couch and waited for me to sit. She swiftly jumped up on my lap, and I petted her soft silky fur as I had done a million times before. She was so affectionate, sweet, and smart, really a one-in-a-million kind of cat.

Suddenly, I heard J___'s voice: "Is that damn cat inside again?"

I looked at Miranda, and I saw the fear and sadness in her eyes. With some surprise, I said, "Yes. She's just on the couch with me, saying hello."

"Oh! I didn't know you were here already." J___ came out from the kitchen, along with my friend.

"We don't allow her inside during dinner anymore," said L___. "J___ doesn't like her on the counter. He says it's not sanitary." I looked around and realized that there was no food in sight. Dinner was at least an hour away. It was a very creepy moment.

"Oh," I said. "Well, I'll put her out in a little bit, when we're ready to eat, OK?" I could see very well that J___ did NOT think that was OK, but he felt like he couldn't deny me, a guest in his home -- at least not in front of L___.

"That's fine." Back into the kitchen he went, with L___a following soon thereafter.

I looked over at Miranda, and I remember this very piercing moment when I realized that my friend was more than willing to sacrifice her companion of 16 years to placate this new man in her life. I looked into Miranda's eyes, and I said, "It looks like there's no room for you here anymore. I wonder when they are going to run out of room for me too."

Less than a month later, Miranda had been hit and killed by a car. I remember my friend crying hysterically on the phone. I asked her if I could come over, that I knew how horrible it is to lose a pet, and that I wanted to help her. And she answered, "No, J___ has everything taken care of. I'm fine."

Indeed, J___ did have everything taken care of. Just the way he wanted it.

At the shelter, we hear stories about J___s everywhere. How people happily have their ferrets, then they suddenly meet someone who "just isn't a ferret person." Then the ferrets show up at the OFS. Sometimes they are starved. Sometimes they are crippled. Usually they have major trust and abandonment issues. Sometimes one or more of them have met with "unfortunate accidents" and the loving owner is just trying to save the rest. Maybe they think the worst is over when the “animal problem” is gone. Unfortunately for the people in these relationships, usually the abuse has just begun.

People like J___ may or may not stop their abusive and controlling ways after the animals are gone. Sometimes the L___s of the world have to experience their spouse's anger firsthand to know what a terrible danger they live with.

I'm not saying that everyone who doesn't like animals is abusive or a bad person. But if you have animals, and your boyfriend or girlfriend treats them poorly, you should let that be a warning to you not to get more involved with them or, at the very least, never to become dependent upon them.

By the way, my friendship with L___ has come to an end. They married this year, and even though she makes pleasant noises at me in emails, I know that J___ will always be in the background -- disapproving of my animal-rescuing ways, ready to turn L___ against yet another part of her support system. And that's OK. The first thing you learn in the animal rescue field is that, heartbreaking as it is, you can't save everyone.

1 comment:

Snowiris said...

That's too bad. Doesn't say much about the "Animal person" who just lets it happen. Our pets are totally dependent on us. What does it say about the kind of people we are if we can't even treat them with kindness, love and compassion. Not everyone has a good heart or a warm soul.