When it comes to rescue, sometimes it takes a village

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Thanksgiving is a time of the year when we reflect upon all the things that we are grateful for.  Among the many things I have to be grateful for, one of them is the many people who helped me adopt my cat Oliver.

Oliver's first photo

The first photo Kate sent from St. Croix to introduce me to Yoda, now Oliver.

One humid day in August of 2011, I got a message from Kate, a former Washington Humane Society (WHS) co-worker.  Kate was now living on the island of St. Croix, along with another former WHS co-worker, Laura, and both were working for the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center.  Kate and I knew one another well, and she knew I liked Siamese cats, so she asked me if I had room in my heart and in my home for a small male kitten she found at the town dump along with his two sisters.

I already had three cats (all adopted from WHS) and I was not sure if it was wise to add another cat to the mix.  I told Kate and Laura that I would need time to think about adopting the kitten.  And while I was taking time to ponder if adopting the kitten was wise or not, Hurricane Irene swept through the Caribbean and damaged their shelter.  I realized then that the kitten needed a home, and the hurricane was a sign that the little boy should come live with me.

I wrote to Kate and Laura and told them that I wanted to adopt the kitten.  Shortly thereafter they contacted yet another former WHS co-worker, Lauren, who was now working for Greenbelt Animal Control in Maryland near to where I lived.  Laura and Kate arranged for a volunteer to take the kitten in a little carrier with him on a flight to Reagan National Airport, where Lauren picked the kitten up and brought him back to her shelter.  As soon as I got home from work that day, I drove to Lauren’s shelter and adopted my kitten.

The kitten was named Yoda, but we all agreed he needed a new name.  After much debate I texted the three ladies three potential names for the kitten: Merlin, Houdini and Oliver.  The text messages I got back were unanimous — the kitten would be named Oliver!

To this day I stay in touch with all three of the amazing women who helped me adopt Oliver.  I frequently share pictures of him with them on Facebook and have shared the blog posts I’ve written about Oliver with them.  I stay in touch with them because they are my friends and fellow animal welfare advocates, but also because I am deeply grateful for their help.  Laura and Kate fostered the kitten who was malnourished and small for his age in their home, and Lauren even got a flat tire driving the kitten to her shelter from the airport!

I am grateful to the volunteer, whose name I do not know, for taking Oliver along with him on his flight back to the mainland, and I am grateful to both the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center and Greenbelt Animal Control for the roles both of those shelters played in adding Oliver to my family.

As the adage goes: Sometimes it takes a village.  And in Oliver’s case it did.  Rescue is often a team effort and without the help of many people, I would not have the joy of Oliver in my life.

So from Oliver, Helen, Jasmine Sassylashes, Guinness and myself: Happy Thanksgiving to each and every person out there who had lent a hand and helped a homeless pet along their journey to their new and loving home.

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