I worked at the Northeast Missouri Humane Society for about seven years as the cat room supervisor before opening a special needs cat rescue. I befriended countless feline, canine, and human friends during my time at the shelter and have saved hundreds of cats from the unforgiving streets of Hannibal and beyond. After graduating from high school, I was offered a full-time job at the shelter. My job entailed cleaning all of the cat cages, socializing our current cats, and helping steer unwanted behavior in an effort to get more animals into loving homes.
My life hasn’t always been filled with happiness and success. I experienced tremendous abuse in a foster home, where I was forced to take cold showers and eat stale bread while my mom was treated for thyroid cancer in the hospital. I almost died at birth and had been given only a 5% chance of survival, but my mom chose not to abort. My mom was just too weak to take care of herself afterward. Then the lady who ran the foster care unit tried to kill my mom when she was released to the foster home by trying to hide her thyroid medicine until a guy by the name of Dan found out about her game. The owner of that foster care unit was Sandra, who was like a bat right of hell with black hair and a voice that could inject fear into your heart.
I was diagnosed with autism and major depression at a later age, so I was always misunderstood by my peers. The sad part is that I did not understand the reason that I could not communicate well yet since autism was not commonly diagnosed in earlier years as opposed to today where it is diagnosed more often. So I know what it feels like being trapped in an abyss of depression so deep that not even an excavation crew could find you. When I first voyaged out to make a difference in my life, anxiety and doubt shrouded my mind due to fear of the unknown. Unless you are a paragon of self-confidence, you start to feel like an asthmatic caught up in a hurricane if you are not an excellent communicator.
I was bullied all the way from middle school to the end of high school. I was living with my mom and her friend Dan after we left foster care, right after he found out Sandra was trying to kill my mom by withholding medication. The most hypocritical part of this story is that Dan was abusive and controlling, which compounded stress for everyone living in the house. I can remember asking Dan for a cat, only to be hit with a belt for asking a question. As my mom would often say, all life is precious and deserves a chance. I would often find cats outside, patch them up with instructions from a veterinary friend, then rehome them with another friend. I can so vividly remember visiting friends on the weekend to pet their cats because it helped my anxiety.
Middle school was like a prison with four enclosed walls built to trap me in barb wire once I set foot in school for the day. I learned not to trust any person in the school because I did not want to open myself up to being hurt. The other students played tricks on me, like pretending to give me a piece of gum but having it end up with a thumb track inside of the package, which made me cold inside. I have been nearly stabbed, punched, shot at with staple guns, and much more that I could probably remember. There were days I would hide my shoes in the deep freeze or pretend I was sick with strep throat to avoid having to go to school.
I dropped out twice in high school and almost committed suicide twice of out fear, stress, and anxiety. I went as far as writing a note to everyone I loved at that point. I remember high school as a realm of nightmares since it was like a horror movie left on repeat with no pause or stop button. The abuse never ended, the bullying that started in middle school never stopped, and the teachers did nothing but sit idly by with their phones. The only advice they had was to avoid the students and not to fight back. It was the same six people bullying me almost every single day because I was different. I lost count of the times I was told to get over it, as if any shot from a first aid kit would remedy every difficulty.
I started to wear a heavy jacket to build a protective shield around myself because it would at least protect me to an extent. I slept during school as that seemed to be the time that students would not pick on me. That was until one of the teachers hit my desk with a ruler because I was sleeping. Every scintilla of confidence that I had left despite the chaos of middle school was shattered, and I wished that people understood me better or that things could be different. I was so terrified by the number of people present in the lunchroom that I did not feel like putting my tray away after lunch for fear I would be attacked. Walking to the lunch line was like walking on a tightrope over a pit of fire.
There were not many bad teachers, just teachers that misunderstood me or took things too seriously since I was in special ed classes. I first got involved with the humane society when one awesome school teacher reached out to me and offered me a chance to volunteer at the shelter in exchange for coming back and giving school one more chance. That teacher was a long time observer of my work with cats and friended me on Myspace. I would often borrow a first aid book from my library, which I would read so that I knew how to properly care for the outside cats that sometimes ended up injured at the house I lived in. That previous year I rescued a cat who was being kicked by children and convinced a veterinarian to get her fixed up for free.
Unfortunately, I did not have a vehicle, so I decided that I would walk 3 miles to the shelter and 3 miles back every single day in snow or high water. I would use a walking app to raise money for the shelter for every step walked to make it worth it. I am thankful that I do not have to walk as much now that I have a partner in cat rescue. I often asked myself why not a single person would do anything about the neglected cats around Hannibal, then I realized I could be that someone to start a movement to save and rehome those cats. Speaking of snow, I walked to the Northeast Missouri Humane Society one day in 26 inches of snow to take care of every animal when even tow trucks got caught up in the biggest snowstorm we ever had.
Northeast Missouri Humane Society
My story unfolds at the Northeast Missouri Humane Society, where I gained the confidence to unlock my hidden potential and become an integral part of the shelter team. When I first started in the animal care field, I did not make an impression worth remembering. Even though I was surrounded by people with a similar mission, I could not convince myself to communicate with them like a coworker normally would. I had the ingrained thought that talking to anyone would cause me to drown underneath the storm of my anxiety. I even refused gifts and compliments because I thought that I was being led into a trap.
It took me one year to go from leaving sticky notes and anonymous emails for my boss to whispering my ideas to my boss. I needed support staff from a place that advocates or people with disabilities for the longest time to communicate my needs. It took another year to start talking like an average person, the first time in a very long time because I finally found a group of people that I resonated with. It required such an enormous amount of time to start talking because most of my days in school were spent trying to stay hidden, knowing not a single soul would take me seriously.
For years, I found myself continually fidgeting my hands, avoiding eye contact, and making excuses not to go to school, which also made me a vulnerable target for bullies. I was written off as a delinquent and called nasty names by everyone I met. I had a 1.5 grade point average and missed 100 days of school before dropping out the last time. Everyone was focused on my missing days but not on my mental health, which was appalling as I look back on it.
The secret I used to teach myself how to talk with people and understand that I could be valued in life is easy and straightforward. I would hold a cat in my arms and say something along the lines of “Zelda thinks that we should incorporate a dewormer for cats on intake,” which took the stress off me in the beginning. I felt very uncomfortable presenting ideas because I thought that everyone else had more leverage and better ideas. I would also hold a cat during the first few times I talked to customers because that was my security item, like the jacket was my security item in school, and like the litter box is a security item to a cat when scared.
The toughest part about getting the job at the humane society was that I was not very successful at many tasks that were physical in nature. Most of my life was spent running away, not learning to do many of the chores that a typical adult would know to do, like cooking and housekeeping. I had to learn how to sweep, mop, clean dishes, and so on. I had a job coach from Learning Opportunities, at first, to accelerate my growth because my manager did see potential in me. Not tripping over a garden hose when I had to use one for the purpose of spraying out pet taxis was incredibly tricky.
I remember holding a cat that was about to be adopted during my third month of work. Her name was Licorice, a beautiful tortoiseshell. She purred as I gave her a thorough grooming and a bath before her final departure to his new home, where she could live out her days to a ripe old age. I whispered into her ear that I wanted him to live a happy life. Licorice was a cat that came into the shelter ready to attack every person in sight. She climbed to the top of the cage and hissed at you from six feet away. It took nearly one entire month, one hour a day working with her to see her real personality shine through. I actually caught up with the owner just years later and she is doing fantastic to this day.
This was the first time I saw and experienced an adoption first-hand of a good who almost had no chance, and it made my heart beat faster and my eyes tear up out of happiness. The owner of Licorice came to pick her up later that day, and the cat immediately hopped upon his shoulder. We both were thinking the same thing–that he did not need a pet carrier, Licorice would just ride along. I could see the connection between them and that the cat had chosen him. There is a moment that is universal when you know an owner and a companion animal match, that you have genuinely found a shelter animal a great home.
The only thing I notice once in a while with adoptions is that some people ask if there is anything wrong with shelter animals. The simple answer is that there is nothing wrong with shelter animals even if they are special needs. They are just down on their luck and have no home, much like I did not have when I was young. The truth is that many shelter animals are healthy, behaviorally sound, and make excellent companions when given the chance to shine.
Most of my confidence returned after Dan died of an unfortunate heart attack, and I could have a cat of my own. That experience was like a three-part mix drink of tragedy, sadness, and fear. I woke up in the middle of the night with sirens blaring so loud that it pierced my ears like pushpins. While Dan was turning a new leaf, we were always afraid of him. I ended up adopting three cats and fostering many cats during my stay at the humane society, which I went a bit overboard on.
I restructured our entire basement into a small cat room with medications and food, once we finally found a home we could stay in the long term. We had to move four times in three years and were robbed two times because of Dan’s enemies who wanted his stuff and, at the same time, took everything I owned. It was a difficult time. Dan owed $50,000 in debt, and two of the houses we moved to had mold and brown recluse infestations. The good news was that I passed my senior year of high school with all A’s because I was allowed to do most of my work at home.
Part of my new responsibilities at the humane society included training volunteers and people from the high school to clean the cat cages and spend time socializing the cats. I even invited people from nursing homes and places that take care of people with disabilities to come over and spend time with the cats so that they could make a difference. I made it my mission to help other people at the same time I was helping animals. I believed in combining challenge and reward for every person I trained. Having the opportunity to work with every individual so I could help them become the best version of themselves was my motivation for coming to work every single day.
Becoming an effective advocate for the cats ended up costing me quite a bit. Being an effective advocate for the cats ended up costing me my desire to avoid tension, stay isolated from the world, and rehearse being invisible. I quickly found out in the shelter field that we only make an impact by speaking up, speaking loudly, and standing up for the cats who ultimately have no voice. I had to speak up for quite a few cats when an owner came in and I could tell the cat they came to pick up was abused or not taken care of. I knew first hand what it was like to be treated improperly or taken advantage of, and I never wanted any animal or person to suffer from neglect.
Meeting Maggie Rose
Maggie was surrendered to the humane society, where I was the cat room supervisor at the time. I was promoted to cat room supervisor during my second year. I made all the final decisions on cat care at the end of the day. Those decisions included euthanasia, adoptions, and volunteer recruitment. Maggie’s jaw was broken multiple times in numerous places, which left it frozen and unable to be fixed or manipulated back into position. I noticed during her exam that she had extra toes on her front two paws. Her two front two paws looked like lobster claws.
Maggie was just two years old at the time of admission to our small shelter, and I can only imagine what she went through. Little did I realize just how special this cat was at the time and the more prominent role she would play in my life going forward. Maggie was examined by the primary shelter veterinarian, who wanted to euthanize her, but I strongly believed she was happy and wanted to live. Unfortunately, some people do not see as much value as we rescuers do in cats with special needs. So I told the veterinarian to give me the cat back.
I had Maggie examined at a veterinary orthopedic specialist by the name of Paul Sculley n Hannibal, who helped me understand what I could do to make her life special rather than recommending euthanasia. A radiograph did confirm that her jaw was basically impossible to repair, even under anesthesia, so I worked with the vet for a few days to design a special care plan just for Maggie and her future adopter. I was afraid that very few people would see the same value in her that I did, but I do not give up easily.
I knew for sure that Maggie would require more extensive care than a regular cat but could live a fairly normal life if everything was done just right and proper veterinary care was provided. Since she could only lick up her food, I worked out her favorite canned flavors, which we could blend together for her and serve one to two times per day. Eating dry food was too hard for her to do and could result in pain or further damage to her teeth. Her favorite canned food was Friskies canned food because it seemed to blend very well.
A Special Connection Laid Out
One lady by the name of Janet, along with her daughter Erin, walked into the shelter and saw Maggie, who was up for adoption on a Monday afternoon. It was like a dream come true because Janet was a cook at a school for children with special needs and knew what Maggie needed. Janet knew everything that there was to know about blending food and properly serving it so that it is both palatable and meets nutritional standards. Janet expressed interest in adopting Maggie and made several visits that week to see if there was a bond between them.
Janet ended up adopting the cat, and soon after that, we gained Janet and her daughter as long- term volunteers at the shelter. The mother and daughter duo volunteered for a couple of hours each day to help socialize the cats and care for them. It was then that I shared my dream of becoming a veterinary technician with Janet, only to find out that Erin wanted to become a veterinary technician, too. Prior to their helping, It was just me doing everything for the cats at the shelter, which was extremely difficult–if not almost.impossible. I was invited to their house several times for dinner because they knew just how big my appetite was after working all day.
I read about ten books on feline medicine and behavior, plus I took a course on shelter medicine that thoroughly reviewed some of the most essential topics in the shelter world. Most of my research was done in my second year at the shelter as I learned about as much as I could from the workers there. I went on to write the best protocols for our shelter that guaranteed safety and efficacy. It was a learning experience, to say the least, since many of the protocols were medical or behavioral in nature. I reduced the illness rate by 95%, increased adoptions by 300%, and donations to the shelter by 75%.
I designed and published a 100-page book full of protocols for infectious disease prevention, vaccination, parasite prevention, and enrichment, which made a world of difference to the cats. I actually had to learn how to write, so I could write the manual. Not engaging in school left my initial writing skills equivalent to that of a fifth-grader. I talked to local veterinary schools to stay current on the best procedures and protocols since there not much information available in our small town about shelter medicine. I already had five years of animal shelter experience under my belt by this point in time. I knew that I needed additional education to go further in my animal care career. I firmly believe that we should do everything we can to make a cat’s stay comfortable.
Cat behavior became my forte because I quickly learned that not many people understand cats or their unique personalities. One day, I observed a sign that labeled a cat, who was hissing in the litter box but was approachable to some extent, as “aggressive.” I had a flashback to my days of school when I was in a new place, where I did not want to be with people I did not know. At that moment, I wanted to creep into a corner and tell everyone to back off. My favorite cat to work with ended up being a feral kitten who was extremely scared of people and hands. I could relate to him because I was the same way and knew how to gradually and surely work him out of his shell of insecurity.
Feral kittens would hiss and bite out of a fear response, just as I would shy away from any situation that made me uncomfortable. Using this information, I knew that I needed to increase their confidence by taking baby steps to help them adapt to new situations and surroundings. I taught them to play with toys, allowing them to catch them to build their confidence, and petted the cats while feeding them canned food from a spoon, which is positive reinforcement. My biggest pet peeve with some people is that they would claim feral cats were aggressive, which was not at all the case. Fear and aggression are not the same thing. Taming feral kittens soon became my area of expertise at the shelter and beyond. The below two kittens are the first true feral kittens that I tamed down in the first year of working there.
My unfortunate experiences with depression and working through a level of shyness so significant that I could not talk for years gave me a level of understanding that I still appreciate to this day. Going through this level of hell makes you realize how a cat–or any living animal– could end up traumatized. Making a real initiative to understand the reason behind a behavior, rather than assuming, goes so far in life. I strongly feel that my skill in working with cat behavior is because I did go through so much with autism and depression. There are many books that describe how many cats are like people who have been diagnosed with autism. The characteristics listed below are true of people with autism and, in most instances, cats:
- Dislike rapid and abrupt change
- Thrive on schedules and routine
- Prefer being close, but not too close
- Slow to open up and communicate
- Do not like eye contact
- Do not like confrontation
- Make slow and calculated in movements
Over a couple of months, Janet and I got to know each other well, and I got to see Maggie again, which was awesome. The loyalty and devotion displayed by every individual who worked with Maggie were immense. Maggie was grooming herself in the ray of sunlight near the front door on the first day I was invited over to eat dinner. Maggie had a brother cat who kept her company and played with her, but Maggie could not bite during play, so she often gave this weird-sounding hiss. Maggie was the primary inspiration for me to work endlessly toward saving more cats with special needs, injuries, and illnesses. It was Maggie that inspired my mission of rehabilitating sick cats and cats with special needs.
Maggie was also a constant reminder to never give up. Part of my mission in saving cats was to graduate from a veterinary technician school, so I could have the knowledge to rescue cats with advanced ailments. After saving cats that no one thought could ever make it, I learned about living life to the fullest, teamwork, and never giving up. There were honestly some gaps in my skill set that I was not expected to know, but wanted to learn. I needed to learn how to give subcutaneous fluids, prepare and read fecals, prepare and read blood work, and so on.
Veterinary Technician School
After a few more months working at the animal shelter, I finally checked into applying to a veterinary technician school with Erin. The veterinary technician school was in Saint Louis, Missouri. We found an opening to visit the college, and Janet drove us both down there because I did not drive. Given the grand tour, I concluded the school was much more prestigious than I thought. There were more than ten rooms, a full kennel of animals for training purposes, and instructors from all walks of life.
Part of the admission process was taking a 20 question quiz and writing out an essay on the reason you deserved to be picked to attend the school. This part was potentially the most stressful part of applying to the school. I spent so much time on the essay portion because I never had to handwrite an essay–on camera–that meant so much to me. I probably took a solid two hours, completely frozen about what I wanted to write. I ended up writing seven pages.
Later that same day, I was called into the school to talk to the attendance committee because my grades in high school were abysmal. My grades in high school were not anything to boast about because of depression, bullying, and my life situation at the time. I had actually dropped out twice before the school offered me the chance to work at the animal shelter as part of finishing school. Fortunately, I was able to persuade the committee to allow me to attend, based on my success at the animal shelter.
The school was rough because it was 8-hour days, plus a potential four extra hours a day if it was your week to do kennels, which meant you took care of the animals morning and evening. You even went into school on Saturday and worked on Sunday for kennels. This was beneficial because the animals you practiced blood draws on were in the same building, but also challenging because a 12-hour day leaves you with very little time to study for tests. The school was at an accelerated pace, so we had about 3-4 tests on tough topics per week.
There were times I had anxiety and almost went into a mental breakdown at the degree of difficulty, even though I was acing every test. Past failures also plagued me because, for a long time, all I could see myself as was a failure. Janet came down routinely to treat us to food and to help me control my emotions, so I would not make myself fail school because of my anxiety. Having my cats with me helped my physical and emotional health during this time. The teachers at the school were very supportive, and so was the president of the school. During our 18 months, we were taught so many skills on proper animal care and beyond.
We took medical terminology, anesthesia, radiography, surgery, basic animal care classes, disease recognition, animal breed recognition, dental classes, and more. My favorite class was clinical laboratory, where you examined blood, feces, and urine under the microscope to determine the reason behind the clinical symptoms you might be noticing in a sick pet. Every student had to make a 100-page reference guide in that class. My binder was so well done that the school kept it as a reference of what a perfect binder would look like.
The hardest class was surgical nursing because it encapsulated everything we had ever learned in the school, including anesthesia, radiography, clinical laboratory skills, and more. You have to be confident about every task you are doing, and know the reason behind it, because you never want to make a mistake when you have a patient under anesthesia the vet is about to perform surgery on her. In English class, I had a paper on upper respiratory so well written they had to keep it for two days so they could check it for plagiarism. This made me feel good because in high school I had a teacher shred a paper of mine because they said a person like me could never amount to much.
In school, I met a ton of new friends and broke out of my comfort zone even more than I had by the end of my shelter career. The school made me a better person and a well-balanced technician. (I also had some embarrassing moments, like studying the anatomy of the female cat during lunch at a breakfast outlet with a few friends, which probably was not the best idea.) At the end of the school, we took a final exam and had to ensure all of our practicals were completed to the satisfaction of the school.
I applied for and completely crushed the test to become a registered veterinary technician and a certified cat behavior consultant after graduating from school. Because of the difficulty, I had to study for about three months before taking the test, which could throw any question at you about anything you ever learned about. However, having both titles to my name would expand my reach and my capacity to help cats in dire need of rescue or rehabilitation throughout Missouri and beyond. My favorite part of rehabilitation is working with a cat so, once adopted, he could eventually be the center of someone’s world.
Opening Up A Cat Rescue
After college, Erin and I both decided to return to our home town of Hannibal because living in the big city at that time was not what either of us wanted. The stress of living in a big city was very apparent during our college days. The bigger cities already had a ton of support for cats, while smaller communities are often lacking the support. We both knew so much about cats, and knew we could make a definite impact on the homeless cats in our hometown.
I worked briefly at a medium-sized animal shelter near my hometown, but realized that it was not what I wanted after about five months. Erin had started working at the humane society in our town around the same time that I started there. I made the definitive decision that I wanted to open a cat only rescue with Janet, so we could make our own rules and choose what we wanted to do. To be honest, it was kind of a joke at that time because it seemed so hard to do. Janet and I worked on saving cats from the street, patching them up, and rehoming them for the first year I was back, and it became so widely appreciated that we did make that joke a reality. We started in a one-room basement and worked up to a full-fledged operation.
We had to completely overhaul the facility we rented which was a foreclosure. Sometimes working in rescue is like using a spoon to empty the Mississippi River because there are so many cats in need. Working at the animal shelter and going to veterinary technician college gave me an interesting and unique perspective into the stray cat problem. This was just another motivation for Janet and me to consider opening a cat rescue that specializes in taking care of cats with special needs. It was not long before Janet and I finalized the IRS paperwork to become a non-profit and filled out the paperwork for submission to the Department of Agriculture.
The cat rescue I run with Janet is now three years old old. The cat rescue is focused on saving homeless and sick cats. We especially enjoy rehabilitating cats with injuries and working with cats that have special needs. To date, we have saved 300-plus cats, which is incredible. I saved about 1000-plus when I was at the shelter. Our rescue works with the shelter to pull cats who need more one-on-one support. We have a free-roaming operation now, which is hugely beneficial.
Please see some of my articles on saving cats here:
We offer various enrichments at our cat rescue, including–but not limited to–music therapy, aromatherapy, puzzle toys, puzzle feeders, catnip toys, and more. Vertical space, hiding spots, and multiple areas to display normal cat behavior is our priority, for sure. Our cat rescue is always evolving as we learn more about the best enrichment strategies, medical care protocols, and community involvement techniques.
Our rescue started in a one-room basement and slowly evolved into a garage triple that size by the last part of the first year of operation. There is no way we would be where we are out without the support of the community. We slowly gained the community support that we required to rent a building for housing our cats. That building needed a complete overhaul of the space we were allotted, which took months of work and numerous volunteers. This dream and ambition were fueled by the community, which wanted to see the homeless cats of Missouri get the help they both needed and deserved going forward. We underestimated the extent of need there was for a cat rescue.
I have made it a goal through our rescue to be involved with the community. We realize that, in the long run, helping the people who own the cats is just as important as helping the cats. We are working on ways to help with spay and neuter, food banks, and assurance with medical bills. The second part of our community involvement is to include people in our day-to-day operations. We invite people, especially groups of people who have special needs, to come out and just spend time with the cats. I even earned an autism specialist certificate in 2018.
I know it is beneficial for anyone to spend time with our cats in a relaxed, open-roaming environment. I often invite to the rescue large groups of people with special needs to groom the cats, pet them, play with them, and hand out treats. I even try to make them feel empowered by giving them small tasks that I know they can do. We are wanting to branch out to visiting nursing homes and schools with a cat or two, as I did back in my shelter days.
My experience with and quest through depression, bullying, and misfortune are not at all unique; the battle is repeated hundreds and hundreds of times throughout the United States. I wrote this article to honor the ones who lost their lives during this fight and to help individuals who are still fighting for happiness and fulfillment. I wrote a poem for every cat I lost and for every friend I lost in this word. I would have been royally screwed were it not for that one teacher who helped me out, the loyal friends I did have, and a mom who would give up almost everything for me. If returning to school had not worked out, I would have had to work at a cheese factory instead.
Even though we all have been entered into a mandatory handicap match against overwhelming odds in one form or another, I am asking you not to give up. I still have issues with communication, just not as significant. Escaping the claws of crippling depression can be rough. I hope you find the courage to harness your inner talents, enjoy life, and laugh a little. Sometimes it is all about dancing in the rain, so you can ride through any thunderstorm with the confidence that the light will shine in your direction soon. Know that when you do make it in life, it was not a simple roll of the dice or a man behind the curtain that made it possible. Much of success can be attributed to remaining resilient and never giving up, even when you are down.
There is always talk about how important success is. Becoming successful often includes being brave, going with the flow, making sacrifices, handling rejections, taking risks, and enduring late nights with no sleep. There are still people that have the audacity to tell us to simply get over it as if a shot from s first aid kit would remedy every difficulty in life.
I stayed up all night countless times to save cats from flood waters or ice storms or those that were hit by cars. That being said, success is less about fame and riches and more about doing something in life that is fulfilling and serves a greater good, like helping someone who could never pay you back. Saving one cat, helping one person becoming more than they were yesterday, or giving a hand to a person who is down could all be counted as being successful.
Maggie was an exceptional cat, and I learned so much about how happy a cat with a handicap can be if adopted by a caring adopter. Maggie stuck her tongue out all of the time as a result of her frozen jaw, but could eat just fine when her food was blended together. She did drool brown goop and ruined anything she touched because she had some other issues going on, too, but we managed. Every single day you could expect to see her outside, roaming around the house or grooming herself in the window alongside the other cat the family adopted from me.
I would never have met Janet if it were not for Maggie because that is the exact reason that she came into the humane society that day. By giving Maggie a chance at life, a brilliant cascade of events followed that paved the way for improving our community through helping both the cats and the people. I never knew that Maggie would play that big of a role in my life when I decided to save her life. Many people doubted that I would succeed, but at the same time, others saw hope and unlimited possibilities. I see the potential for greatness in every individual, human, and animal alike.
The mantra that our rescue lives by is: whatever it takes. I never give up and I never give in. I learn something from every single cat and person I meet. Sometimes you just have to go for what you believe is right and what your gut tells you is the best action to take. You never know what will happen when you set your mind toward doing the right and ethical thing. Unfortunately, during our second year of operation, Maggie passed away at 8-years-old due to kidney failure, but she will always serve as a reminder of the mission behind the work we do. We remember her by concentrating all of our efforts toward saving homeless animals that are injured or have been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Maggie is now memorialized, in picture form, on our wall.