Handipets Pets In Need

Operation Fuzzy Mice Needs YOUR help!

Posted in Pets In Need by handipets on July 21, 2010

Hello Handipets! This is Michelle Lyon, of Operation Fuzzy Mice. I have received a copy of the email from @FelineUnit.

YOU CAN DONATE HERE:  http://pledgie.com/campaigns/10799

My mission with Operation Fuzzy Mice is to provide vet care and other pet-related resources, either by paying for it directly or by referral and networking, to low-income families who own pets, and who would otherwise have to relinquish, abandon, or euthanize their pets for inability to provide care financially. Nearly all of these families have fallen on hard times due to illness, injury, family disaster, or national economic recession resulting in loss of jobs or homes. Pets are given up tearfully and reluctantly by owners, because families see no other choice. This of course does no justice to the pets, nor to California’s already-struggling economy when the state must support overcrowded shelters as well as euthanize and dispose of so many homeless animals. I have only known one case where an owner gave a pet up in coldhearted fashion. All others were tearful and reluctant, not just “dumping.” Even in abandonment cases, animals are purposefully left in places where someone else may find and care for them, and this happens because the owners can’t afford to pay the relinquishment fee at a shelter.

On the flipside to those who relinquish pets, are folks who have gone as far as moving to tent-cities or living in cars before giving up their pets, refusing to turn their back on a fellow member of the family. I have also met a lot of lifelong homeless folks who do things like attend mission meal lines, and take an extra plate home to the pet, or give their whole meal and themselves go hungry before that pet goes without, the way many parents would do for their children. For a lot of these folks, with no money, family, home, health or future, that pet is the only thing they’ve got. I’ve even met one man who believes if he didn’t have his dog, he would have no reason to stay sober.

I believe that these folks, with such love and devotion to their pets, deserve a chance, and their pets deserve to keep their homes and humans. This public assistance is our primary mission.

We do have some cats in our care, as we got started by taking in abandoned pregnant strays so that kittens would not be born feral. (It is mostly female cats who are abandoned, because owners cannot afford spaying them nor feeding more kittens.) Most of those cats are adoptable, but still live here, because in Bakersfield culture, no one wants to go through adoption proceedings when a neighbor or a newspaper ad is giving kittens away for free with no strings attatched. There’s a major cultural mindset of apathy towards cats that must change if Bakersfield is to reduce staggering cat overpopulations, and Operation Fuzzy Mice would like to take some small step in making that change.

Conan, who FelineUnit mentioned, is one of these foster cats. He and three littermates were bottle fed orphans. Conan sustained an injury at an interested adoptive home, and was reclaimed. It has been almost two months, and the paw has still not healed. The vet suggested irrigation surgery, but all we could pay for at the time was lancing. There have been other pets; Tiger was stepped on by accident, suffered head trauma, and was making a turnaround before dying. We await necropsy results, but there is no doubt that if Tiger received full IV meds and diagnostics immediately, his chances would have been far better. Tiger’s sister, Tina, was a runt, and diagnostic testing might have led to surgery to improve her chances. Survivor succumbed to flea anemia, which might have been reversed with a blood transfusion. Middy2 died of septic shock, avoidable if his giardia were diagnosed and treated immediately rather than waiting for funding. His sister, Nymph, carries the giardia and shows stunted growth among other health problems, waiting for funding. Buttercup is a terrior mix who has an unidentified skin fungus, the shampoo alone costing the elderly owner $25 per month. There are countless other pets in homes dealing with flea infestations, respiratory viruses, worms, unwanted pregnancies, and many other very treatable conditions, but the families, many homeless, unemployed, or on social benefits, have choose between providing this care or putting food in their stomaches.

There is a CareCredit account for Operation Fuzzy Mice, but it is maxed. The pets who were vetted in full on this credit line are thriving now. Those who had to wait for fundraising and then get minimal vetting have done poorly or have died. Our request to you is to drive to pay off or pay down the CareCredit, or, start up a fund for supplies or for spay and neuter assistance to families. Even more in need than money, are volunteers to serve on our executive board so we can apply for nonprofit status.

I hope your organization can help us, and I look forward to working together.


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