Saturday, July 26, 2014

New short-and-more-affordable charity status!

About half a week ago, my friend Debra stopped by with a kitten that had been abandoned at a colony she had had sterilized years ago. Debra and I became friends many years ago when she was looking for some assistance with sterilizing that first feral cat colony in Waverly, NY. Since then she's become a major cat advocate herself, as well as dealing--as many of us do--with human care issues as well. We may love cats, but family and friends are vital to us as well.

Neither one of us has free dollars to just toss at cat rescue. It's a regimented thing. "XX dollars" are available this month that hasn't been spent on food, gas, mortgage, "XX cat(s)" can be rescued. Sometimes, however, cats and kittens show up when the checking account is empty or all the bucks within have been "assigned" to gas, electric, and other bills. But the cats are living creatures. You can't just let them starve. But you can't become a hoarder, either. And you can't ignore your family because a cat needs to be spayed. You lie in bed at night amazed that you have humans on one hand that you care about, cats on the other--as well as people who care about those cats. Imagine what it's like when someone calls you desperate for help. It's no longer just a cat issues. It's a community issues. Just as if you were sharing food. You are sharing help with cats. You are taking an emotional burden off of people who are often trying to handle other issues as well. Family. Health. Finances.

So on my porch, over a bottle of wine (provided by Debra--thank you!), we discussed the inevitable 501(c)(3) charity status.

It really is absurd that I haven't obtained it before now. I have grant-givers whomping me over the head in my travels ("What? You don't have your 501?") One reason I have not "pushed the button" is that, when I was a business--people I helped took responsibility. "Hi. I have wildlife control business and I've heard you have a problem with cats. I'll donate my time and get them fixed, if you would be willing to have your staff feed them, and let me bring you shelters...." And you'd be amazed how many businesses see you as a partner...someone donating something vital. They would step forward with real help. Land. Supplies. Staff who would feed the cats.

But when you become a charity? Sometimes, things change. "Isn't this your JOB? Don't you CARE about these cats? How can you turn me AWAY?" When you are a charity rather than a business, somehow, to some people, their problem becomes your problem. In some cases (not all) they want you to take the burden off their shoulders, instead of being partners, half way. For that reason, I shied away from 501(c)(3) status for a long while. Yes...decades.

I used to work for an SPCA, so I know how different it can be, between being just a "person" donating your time, or a "business" donating your services, versus a "charity" whom everyone believes is shirking their duty if they don't take in each and every cat that needs help. In reality, there is no difference. Dollars are dollars. Minutes are minutes. But to the public, there is a big difference. "Don't you care about these cats? How can you not help me/them?" Hey, I do it myself. I know how peeved I've been at shelters who won't take in every cat, so that people end up calling me...just a person. I have to remind myself that these shelters don't receive any municipal aid for cats. Just as I don't. We are the same. It's just that my rescue is just a person. Their rescue is a group. Does that make much difference? Not when it comes to space, dollars, time, and sanity.

So for Debra and I, the day comes: Is cat rescue just a thing you do as a hobby? Or something more?

So we talked about our lives, and also about getting the 501, and the grants that are available, when justified.

We made the decision: Go for it.

A mere day later, I was thumbing through my Time magazine, and found this

The IRS has FINALLY put their expedited 501c3 process in place. Instead of a 23 page form---it's a three page form. Instead of $800 in application fees, it is $400.

How is that for timing?

Work/Life balance

I spent quite a bit of time playing "catch-up" at my paying job today, as well as doing work around the house and yard. With all the rain we've had this summer, there are mushrooms, literally, growing on my cement basement floor, so I spent some time down there brooming down spider webs, sweeping the damp floor, and cleaning out crap. I dragged the screen door I normally use in the house (when kittens need to be confined to the den) down into the basement so that I could have it open to the outside without allowing critters (and Bear, my one indoor/outdoor cat) access. Three-quarters of the way through the day I looked at my poor neglected dog, threw her no-pull halter on her, said "Car Molly!" and took her with me into the village for a walk around Nichols Pond. So here is downtown Spencer. Seriously, this pond is directly across from our grocery and pizza parlor:

Molly was wet, muddy, happy and tired when we returned home.

Anyone want to live upstairs in my house? You, too, could live in the middle of nowhere, and make a difference however you chose to do so. ;)

Friday, July 25, 2014

New kitten, and more coming

I've been a long time absent from the blog, due to work travel. More will come this weekend, but this is the cutey that Debra brought in from Waverly. He was dumped in a colony that she had sterilized a number of years ago:

He should find a home in short order once he has had his FeLV/FIV test.

Then I came home to find this tucked in my front door when I ran out to the bank today:

AND, also received a voice mail message from someone whose neighbor moved out awhile ago, leaving these folks with ten breeding cats around their home, desperate for food, and having kittens.

I'm finally off to bed. It will be a busy weekend!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Andy Griffith has died

Andy Griffith has died. He could teach us all a thing or two. Mostly, how to smile (Keep watching. Yes, he's in there).

Veggies and flowers

I'd hoped to have a garden this year, but the deer whipped me. Next year I'll just have to get solar electric fence on top of the garden fence to keep them out. I'll work on the beds this year.

I mixed a few veggie in with my flowers this year. Cherry tomatoes, kale, zucchini and swiss chard.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tyco (formerly Tristan) checks in!

Here's Tyco's baby shot. And here he is on his first day in his new home with his new housemate "Kitty."

Here he is now, eight years later!

Julie writes:

Attached are some recent pictures of Tyco (aka Tristan). He turned eight years old in April and is still as crazy as he was as a kitten!

Whenever he does something stupid, his older brother, Kitty just stares at him--I can only imagine what's going through his head.

Tyco loves pretty much anything and everyone... except the vacuum cleaner. Whenever we take it out of the closet, he runs through the cat door to the basement and hides on the other side. I think he's convinced it's going to suck him up.

In any case, he provides comic relief on an almost-daily basis! :)

Went "home" again, and "home" was gone.

Back in 2008 I posted this about my very first home in Greene NY.

I went to visit Mom today in Norwich and on my way home I stopped by the old house again, but....

It was gone.

All gone.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act Passes!

Yes, it actually has been illegal for veterinarians to carry controlled substances outside of their offices to treat, anesthetize or euthanize pets and farm animals at their homes or farms all of this time. I'm very glad to see this weight taken off the shoulders of veterinarians.

(Post-note, this also assists mobile spay/neuter clinics!)

U.S. House of Representatives Passes Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act

(July 8, 2014) – The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, which would allow veterinarians to transport controlled substances outside their registered locations to provide mobile veterinary services and house calls. The bill was sponsored by the only two veterinarians in Congress, Reps. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., and Ted Yoho, R-Fla. Barry Kellogg, VMD, senior veterinary advisor of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association issued the following statement:

“We commend our federal representatives for taking such a major step in making sure animals get the care they need regardless of location. In 2009, the Drug Enforcement Administration deemed it illegal to transport controlled substances beyond a registered location, making it problematic for veterinarians to care for animals on farms, in the field, or at a client’s home. If this legislation is enacted, veterinarians will be able to provide mobile spay/neuter clinics, on-site care on rural ranches, disaster response and at-home euthanasia without fear of being in violation of the law.”


Media Contact: Cheylin Parker, 301-258-1505,

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association was formed as a home for veterinary professionals who want to join together to speak out for animals, engage in direct care programs for animals in need, and educate the public and others in the profession about animal welfare issues. The HSVMA is an affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Just because...Elvis without the rock and roll

OK, I'll be nice. Here's what it actually should sound like (there is a moment of silence at the beginning. Hang in there):

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Buffalo kittens dance for us

The Buffalo kittens that Nancy is fostering came to stay at The Owl House for two days, while Nancy helped out her parents. This gave me the opportunity to take adoption photos of them to get posted on Petfinder and anywhere else I can think of. The little black one is female and the tiger is male. The tiger has more photos because black cats are darned hard to get photos of!

And here's a little video for some added cute factor:

The B

Friday, July 4, 2014

Share, share, share...FIREWORKS

Share...not necessarily this post, but anything you see on Facebook about fireworks.

I work side jobs to feed the cats. During the summer, I flip veggie/meat burgers, clear tables, wash dishes, etc. for summer parties, so the hosts can actually interact with their guests. Some of these take place around the 4th of July. Last year I experienced the panicked yelling of a neighbor whose dog bolted when partying people set off large fireworks, as many people do around the lake. Clearly these neighbors were settled in to enjoy the show themselves. They were not "anti-fireworks." Their dog was hanging out with them on their deck. Suddenly, after the first major BOOM, I hear and see, from across a gorge, the neighbor calling and chasing after their unrestrained dog, who was bolting away from the lake, toward the rural highway. I could not get across the gorge to help catch the dog, but I could get to the person setting off the fireworks show, to see if they would delay setting off any more fireworks until the dog was restrained.

That fireworks person was confused by my request. They did not own dogs. They did not understand that a "dog running away" was a huge issue, that could result in weeks or months of anguish, and even people in danger if the dog ran onto the road in front of a car, or was hit and bit a person who was trying to help him. The fireworks were not postponed.

We can criticize all we want, but we need to expect that people who don't have pets, or aren't involved in animal welfare, don't understand the larger issue of lost and panicked pets during fireworks. We can "share" on Facebook all we want, but there will still be folks whose dogs could care less about fireworks (like my Molly) or who have no pets, who don't know that July 4 is day when most pets are lost. If they are not "connected" with other pet folks on Facebook, they will never know.

Nonetheless, Facebook and other social media options are all we have. So please share, share, share, any information you have about fireworks and pets. Maybe one person will bring their dog or cat indoors during this most explosive holiday, and one pet's life will be saved.