Daily Life of a Rescuer

We want to wish all of our supporters, fosters, volunteers, and adopters a wonderful and peaceful holiday. We could not help the cats like we do without each and every one of you! Have a bit of rest–be like a cat and bask in a spot of sun, napping and eating, as the year quietly ends. Then be prepared to begin the rescue efforts all over again in 2013!

Thank you to the Brininger Family for this lovely photo of their rescue kitty, Treat, who they adopted from Black and Orange. Although the Brininger kitties all have Halloween type names, that does not mean they don’t get into the Christmas spirit!

This holiday season, Capital City Spay and Neuter Clinic (where we send lots of people for low cost spays and neuters) asked everyone coming in to the clinic to take a tag from the giving tree they decorated on their front counter. The tags had written on them necessary kitty things such as cat litter, dry food, blankets, and canned food. Some of the tags also included photos of some of Black and Orange’s adoptable kitties.

Dr. Chrissy Murphy’s mom and office manager, Sharon Schilling, organized the giving tree and charitable event and asked clients to make donations of items Black and Orange and other local rescue groups and pet food pantries might need. Sharon had set a goal to try to reach 100 cans of cat and dog food donated.

This past Wednesday, December 19, Capital City held their first Christmas Open House and we were amazed when we stopped in–the entire surgical area was piled high with toys, treats, food, and even cat trees and carriers. And showing just how kind people are, the clinic collected 547 cans of cat and dog food! They definitely surpassed the goal of 100 cans with no difficulty thanks to the kindness of the animal lovers who came in Capital City.

We picked up our portion of the goodies on Thursday and were thrilled with all the wonderful items people kindly gave for our kitties. We are in the process of dispersing items to fosters and those feeding colonies of kitties.

I want to thank everyone at Capital City Spay and Neuter Clinic for collecting these items for our cats. I especially want to thank Sharon for emailing me with this idea back in November and asking me what the B and O kitties needed. Sharon emailed me many times over the past month to tell me when someone was interested in one of the kitties featured on the Giving Tree or to ask me if they could highlight one of our cats on their web page.

I know it was not easy to work around all the accumulated items which took up a lot of space, so thank you Dr. Murphy, Betsy, and everyone else for still performing wonderful surgeries even while dodging cases of food and boxes of kitty beds.

We appreciate the kindness of everyone who donated. Please know that these items will be put to great use and will help many, many kitties in need.

Again, thank you to Capital City Spay and Neuter Clinic for all your efforts to help us. We love you guys! Have a wonderful holiday from everyone at Black and Orange Cat Foundation!

I am thrilled to announce that our web guru, feline friend, and local author, Vicki Watson, has just released the fourth book, Tender Mercies, in her Sonrise Stable series. I had the privilege of reading the book before it was published to give Vicki my thoughts on the story line, which features our board member, vet, and friend, Dr. Kim West, and a kitty she rescued, Sparrow, who had been shot with an arrow.

You can read Sparrow’s full story and see photos HERE.

Vicki was so horrified after she heard about Sparrow that she wanted to tell others about the extreme cruelty that brought the cat to the Humane Society of Delaware County and Dr. West, as well as the extreme compassion that saved her life. Sparrow has, by the way, gone on to a wonderful home with a friend of Dr. West’s in Chicago. So despite everything, this kitty got a happy ending.

Sparrow’s tale is a side story in Tender Mercies, which focuses on the fate of foals born to “nurse mares.” In case you don’t know about nurse mares, here’s the sad information. When an expensive thoroughbred horse gives birth, the owners will sometimes take the much wanted thoroughbred baby away from it’s very valuable mother and have a nurse mare raise the thoroughbred foal. Because the nurse mare must have milk, she will have just given birth herself. Her true baby is of no value and is often killed.

Luckily, there are rescues that take these unwanted “products” of the thoroughbred industry and find the babies homes. One of those rescues is Last Chance Corral in Athens, Ohio. Vicki visited Victoria Goss, who saves these horses, to get information for Tender Mercies. Both Victoria and the rescue are featured in the book and provide a very real and poignant portrait of the fate of these babies. Thankfully, there are places like Last Chance Corral for these foals that did not ask to be born and certainly don’t want to die.

Vicki wanted Tender Mercies to touch on the many cruel things humans do to animals to teach the next generation to be compassionate and more humane. The theme of Tender Mercies focuses on treating animals with kindness, based on Proverbs 12:10: “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.

If you are looking for a great gift for kids this holiday season that not only promotes reading, but also teaches compassion for animals, Tender Mercies fits the bill. To read more about Tender Mercies and to order the book, go HERE.

The other three books in the Sonrise Stable series, Rosie and Scamper, Carrie and Bandit, and Clothed With Thunder, are also available by going to the web site HERE and clicking on the link at the top for BOOKS.

Vicki lives locally in Marysville and her web site business, VWeb Web Design, takes care of Black and Orange. Her good friend, Becky Raber, did all of the illustrations for the book and she lives here in Plain City. Visit Becky’s web site HERE.

I am so happy to support local artists who promote kindness and compassion to all animals and value the importance of rescue in the lives of unwanted animals. Thank you Vicki and Becky!

You can read another blog posting about Vicki HERE.


I was online recently looking up some information for an adopter who had developed allergies to a kitten she had adopted. While scanning pages for helpful information, I came across an article that I was horrified to read, but completely understood after perusing the pages.

The article by Emily Yoffe, which you can read HERE, said that adopting an animal from a rescue was too difficult and the rescue applications were meant to reject most people rather than help them bring a companion into their homes. With an increased push recently to ask people to consider adoption over buying animals from a breeder or a pet store (often from some type of animal mill) or finding them for free in newspapers or places such as Craig’s List, I was deeply saddened to learn that people have a hard time working with some rescue groups. Since millions of animals die each year in shelters, the obvious solution is to coax people away from other sources for animals and through the doors of humane societies and rescues.

While we don’t automatically approve every application that comes in to Black and Orange Cat Foundation, we strive to make the adoption process as easy as possible and move things forward quickly. We also try to keep things positive.

I know that there are cats everywhere. If I don’t start working immediately on an application, the potential adopters are not going to wait. Most of them could go anywhere and find a cat or kitten as appealing as any of ours (cats are just too cute!). So as soon as we get an application in, I begin to check over things. I have heard complaints of rescues that won’t process applications on weekends or who don’t return calls or emails. I do know that many groups are short staffed and staffed only by volunteers who have full time jobs and lives beyond rescue work–something that the general public may not realize. I try to explain this if the subject comes up.

I also know that I get a lot of comments about how negative some people in rescue can be. When you are working with rescuers, people who have seen all manner of horrible things done to animals, you are bound to find some people who believe the worst about everyone and are hesitant to allow an animal to go back out into the unknown world again. Is another human going to harm that cat or dog? The rescuer has invested tons of time, money, and emotion into helping the animal recover. Are all those efforts going to be reversed?

I hear many rescuers say, “I like animals more than people.” While that may be the truth, you cannot be in the world of rescue if you don’t like people. We need people. Our animals need people. Our animals need someone who will take them into their homes and hearts and love them like they are the most special furrball in the world. Love them to a capacity that even we cannot.

When I foster, I do fall in love and worry about each cat in my care. But I know that at some point, there is someone out there who needs that cat in their life more than I do and I need to make room for the next injured or emotionally broken feline who needs me.

Please don’t be too hasty to judge a grumpy rescuer. We rescuers are just human and we put in long hours and suffer tons of heart ache to help the animals who come to us.

I thought I would walk through our adoption application and explain why we ask certain questions. We do not try to exclude people. Our main goal is to find wonderful homes for as many cats as possible.

Black and Orange does have a “no declaw” policy. We don’t adopt an un-declawed cat to someone who absolutely must declaw. I do understand that there are reasons why some people need a declawed cat–medical reasons involving bleeding disorders or use of Coumadin (if they get scratched, they may bleed uncontrollably). Some people just prefer a declawed cat. When someone indicates on their application that they plan to declaw, my first reaction is not to automatically reject the application, but to educate. I have found that most people do not know what declawing entails. When they find out, many are horrified and want no part of the operation. For those who say they must have a declawed cat, I ask them to work with us to find an already declawed cat to adopt. Declawed cats also need homes.

I also recommend trimming nails (we include a print out about proper nail trimming in every adoption packet) and Soft Paws, sheathes that fit over the ends of claws to keep the cat from doing damage. Additionally, I recommend visiting the web site, www.declawing.com to educate about what declawing means and how the surgery is conducted. There is also an excellent book, The Cat Who Cried for Help, by veterinarian Nicholas Dodman, that includes a wonderful chapter on declawing (The Rebel without Claws) and the problems that can result from declawing.

We do ask for an applicant’s birth date, but we do not exclude anyone who is older. We have volunteers in their 70’s (who scoff that anyone would consider them old and would likely riot if we would not adopt to an older person) and we have adopted to people in their 80’s and even one gentleman who was in his 90’s (he had lost his last cat and thought he should not get another at his age, but found he was lonely without a feline companion). We do ask for the plan if the person becomes ill or passes on. But any of us could die any day. We should all have the same plan in place regardless of our age. Who will take care of our pets if we die at 30, 40, or 50? A cat is a 20 year commitment. No one wants their cat to suffer because they have not made arrangements for who will take over litter pan duties in the case of an emergency.

Actually, I have to admit that I do a happy dance if the potential adopter is older. I know that they may be retired and will spend endless amounts of time with their new friend. I also know that older adopters are very devoted to their cats.

Adopters do have to be adults. We don’t adopt to children and we do make sure they have a job or other means of income so they can be financially responsible for the care of the cat. Between food, litter, and vet care, feline ownership can get expensive.

We also don’t exclude college students or children under five years of age. I have heard that some groups have a blanket policy that they will not adopt to anyone in college, because of the increased risk that the college student will move after college and abandon the cat. Some also won’t adopt to anyone who has a child under 5. Again, I know some groups worry that small children will harm a kitten or get scratched by a cat, so they rule out families with small children. We take each application case by case. If someone has a small child, but the kitten or cat has been around kids and everything else is great with the application, I see no reason to reject that application. However, if the kitten or cat is very shy and would be frightened in a noisy, busy household, I try to explain that to the adopters and help them pick a more suitable cat or kitten. To be honest, don’t we want to create a new generation of animal lovers? If we start children out at a very young age loving cats and dogs and all things furry and feathered, won’t we be creating the next rescuers? The same holds true for the college students. Some of these bright minds will be our future leaders. Don’t we want those people to be animal lovers, pushing for policies and a world without harm to animals?

Additionally, we do ask for veterinarian info and we call to make sure the adopter does use the office, but if someone doesn’t currently have a vet, we recommend one to them. We’d love it if our kitties continued to see the vets we love.

We also adopt to people in apartments and other rentals. We don’t require someone to be a home owner to adopt. We do check on rental policies to make sure a particular complex allows pets, but we don’t automatically reject someone for renting.

We also adopt out of state. If we can figure out how to get the cat to you and you will work with us, we’ll figure out a transport to get the cat wherever the new home is located. We have taken cats to Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, and even out to Utah where the kitty found his home through Best Friends Animal Society. No home is too far away, as long as someone who loves our kitty is waiting!

Beyond the basic questions, our other questions just focus on giving the cat time to adjust to the new household and not expecting other pets to love the invader overnight. There is also a question about allergies, because, as I noted at the beginning of this posting, allergies are a big reason why cats get returned to us. And our goal is no returns. We want our cats to go to homes and stay in those homes. While we love them, we only want to see them again in photos or if their mom and dad brings them to have their picture taken at one of our “Photos with Santa” events in PetSmart. We want them to go on to new homes so we can concentrate on the next cat in need. So we need adopters and we don’t ever want to push good people away. That’s not to say that we don’t make mistakes, but we try as hard as we can to do the right thing for the cats and their potential new families.

I still think “Adoption is the best Option.” If you don’t find the right rescue or shelter, keep trying. The animals need you! And so do the organizations that are trying to help them.

To see our full adoption application (it is three pages), go HERE and download one.

I just want to congratulate our board member, co-founder, volunteer, foster, fundraiser, and my sister, Bobbie Timmons, on completing the 2012 Columbus Marathon in 5 hours and 38 minutes on Sunday, October 21. Bobbie had been training for the Marathon since April and completed a half marathon this summer to help her train for the 26.2 mile event.

Bobbie had decided to run the marathon to raise money for Black and Orange. And raise money she did–over $3300! Woo Hoo!! That money will go a long way to spay and neuter a lot of kitties in need. Thank you to everyone who donated for Bobbie’s marathon campaign!

In preparation for the marathon, Bobbie even got a special black and orange running outfit and hat that featured Black and Orange’s logo. Thank you to John Hedgecock of Needle This Embroidery for making the shirt and hat with our logo.

Thank you also to Lisa Di Giacomo who came to our parents’ house and took some awesome photos of Bobbie in her running outfit.

If you would still like to donate for Bobbie, you can visit her Cause page HERE. She raised $333 online and another $3,000 with a mailer we sent out.

Way to go, Bobbie. You have earned a well deserved rest. And, no feral cats are ever going to be able to outrun you now.

In the photos, Bobbie is posing with Mom and Dad’s cat, Jasmine, running at mile 16 on Lane Avenue in Columbus, getting a hug from Dad, and crossing the finish line with her hands in the air. Dad is shown holding one of the posters we held up for Bobbie. To see more photos of Bobbie in the marathon, visit our Facebook page HERE.


I told everyone about the Get Your Fix web site back in March and I have become addicted to the site. The site was started by the Fixit Foundation after receiving numerous emails from people nationwide who wanted to spay or neuter their pets, but just could not afford to do so. The Get Your Fix site allows people to create a profile for the animal they need fixed and include their story and a photo. People, like me, who want to help get an animal fixed, can put in their zip code and look for animals within 25 or 100 miles from them or anywhere nationwide. Once an animal is chosen, you then make a donation toward the surgery costs. The donation amount is $100 and the folks at Get Your Fix then contact the pet owner and make all the arrangements to get the animal into a vet for the surgery.

For the people in the Columbus area who list cats on the Get Your Fix site, I’ve contacted them and sent them to the clinics we use. Black and Orange then covered the costs since we could fund a spay or neuter for less than the $100 donation.

Most of the animals I have funded personally for surgeries have been dogs, because the $100 donation is very reasonable to spay or neuter a dog, especially a large dog. The two dogs pictured, Zoe and Bo, were dogs I sponsored for my mom’s birthday last month. This photo is of them shortly after they had their surgeries. It makes me feel so good to know an animal will have a better life. And, yes, I fund spays and neuters for family member’s (and friend’s) birthdays. They understand. They know me. They think it is an unusual birthday gift, but everyone so far has loved knowing they’ve helped a dog or cat “get their fix.”

I just had an email Dr. Kellie Heckman, one of the founders of Fixit Foundation, alerting me to a grant from the Shumaker Foundation which will allow one animal to be fixed for free with every paid donation to fix another animal in the same household. That’s a 2 for 1 deal! While funds last, if you sponsor an animal in a multi-pet household on the Get Your Fix web site, a second animal will be fixed for free!

For more information about this super opportunity, go HERE.

I know I will definitely be taking advantage of this great deal and helping two animals get fixed for my one donation!

DogTime is asking people to nominate an “unsung hero” in the world of rescue and animal welfare to receive their 2012 Unsung Hero award. Along with the award, the shelter or rescue that the hero (or heroine) volunteers with will win a $10,000 donation. You can submit your nomination from July 23 through Friday, August 17.

Submit your nomination by clicking HERE and filling out the online form.

We know so many people who qualify as unsung heroes. Our list would stretch for several pages covered with the names of all those who have helped us save kitties in need.

You can only choose one person to nominate, however, and you are limited to that one nomination. The winner will be announced during the online Petties Award Show on Friday, September 7.

And don’t forget to keep voting for B and O as the best rescue/cause blog in the 2012 Petties Blog Awards. Vote once a day, every day through July 31. You can vote by going HERE.

Thank you again to everyone who supports us and aids us in our endeavors to be heroes to the animals.

We are so happy and proud to let everyone know that the B and O blog won the category “Best Blog Writing” in the 2012 BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards.

To read about all of the winners, go HERE.

Halo, Purely for Pets and Freekibble.com donated 5,000 meals of Halo’s Spot’s Stew to Black and Orange for our kitties for winning this blog contest. We also received a $100 gift certificate to Halopets.com.

We have some very happy kitties thanks to BlogPaws!

Take a look at the very cool award (below) that I received in the mail! I hope in the future that I can attend a BlogPaws conference and maybe take another one of these home!

Thank you to everyone who nominated us as a favorite pet blog for the 2012 Petties Awards. These awards are sponsored by Dogtime Media and are a prestigious award for pet bloggers. Petties are awarded to the top pet blogs in ten categories and each of the winners receive a $1,000 donation to the animal-related charity of their choice. Ours, if we win, will, of course, go to Black and Orange.

We are a finalist in the Best Rescue/Cause Blog category! We only made it into the finals because of all of you who voted for us in the preliminary round!

Now just keep voting to help us win! To vote for B and O to win Best Rescue/Cause Blog, go HERE.

You can vote once a day, every day and the winners will be announced on September 7.

Thank you again for nominating the B and O blog for this prestigious award. We could not have made it into the finals without YOU! Now please help us win by continuing to vote for us!

For all the Cat Daddies we know: Happy Father’s Day!

And if you are still looking for the perfect gift to get the cat daddy in your life, how about Jackson Galaxy’s book, Cat Daddy? This wonderful book, by the cat behaviorist of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell,” tells the story of how a very special cat saved Jackson’s life and made him the “cat whisperer” he is today.

For all the men who are not afraid to admit they love cats, we love you, too! Thanks for being cat daddies.

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