by Gregg Senko
Animal shelters can be fantastic places. Take FAPL for instance. Our facility has an awesome roster of staff and volunteers that go the extra mile to not only rescue animals, but also to make sure the ones we have are going to proper homes and not just anyone off the street. Dogs get walked regularly. Everyone is fed. Cages and cat condos are cleaned daily. Still, while the humans do their darnedest to make sure everything is in tip-top shape, some of the animals just aren’t feeling the feng shui.
Let’s take Kierra for instance. She was a tabby whose owner had passed away. With nowhere to go, Kierra was turned over to Friendship APL in hopes of getting her a good home. The idea is to find a great match for the animal within the first couple of weeks they’re at the shelter. In Kierra’s case, those two weeks passed, then two months, then two more months and so on. The clock continued to tick for her time in her cage. However, it was not surprising as to why this was the case, unfortunate as it may be. Whenever she was approached in her cage, she reacted negatively to the people observing her. It was usually an immediate defensive posture with a swat of the paw. Obviously anyone experiencing that quickly moved along. It just felt like Kierra was going out of her way to not get adopted.
To take Kierra’s side of things though, she was distraught. Taken from the freedom of a stable home environment and put into a small cage was a lot of stress on the poor girl. Not all cats react this way, because just like people, they have different personalities. She was scared and confused, not knowing why she was here or what the future was to hold. So after several months, FAPL Director Greg Willey had an idea. She was coming out of that cage…permanently…and that she did. In order to adjust to life again and be a potential adoptee, Kierra needed to get acclimated to her surroundings as well as people.
Her new home was actually in Greg’s office. Granted, it wasn’t the home she used to have before FAPL, but a wide open office was a grand improvement from the cage. For Kierra, it was like going from a dorm room to the Ritz. She still had her bouts of crabbiness on occasion, but now she showed affection, accepted affection and enjoyed the spaciousness and attention in her new crib. She was at FAPL for over a year, an uncommon length to be sure, but her social rehab worked like a charm and she eventually found her forever home. She’s loving life today and is certainly a different cat than the upset, claws-out feline she was 13 months ago. Actually, I take that back. She’s the same cat. Kierra always had love in her, it just took stability to bring it out again.