I had to return to the city and the stress and the family stuff I’ve been dealing with much too soon. Such is life, I guess.
One of the things I’m trying to do to reduce the amount of crap I’m dealing with is to re-home our cat. Fiona has been with us since she was a wee kitten, but our lives together are not working out. The dogs treat her like the lowest in their pack: they steal and destroy her toys, they interrupt play, and they snap at her when she tries to join us in bed at night. As a result, we have a cat that really is not getting the stimulation she needs, so she gets into lots of trouble.
Lately, this has manifested itself in her uncanny ability to dash outside when you open a door. You may think she’s nowhere near, but before that door is completely shut, she’s dashed out from a hiding place at rocket-like speed and has made it outside. Once out, she is impossible to catch unless she wants to go back in. The other day, she badly bit my friend Adrienne as she attempted to pick her up and bring her inside. On the day I returned to the city, I had a message from a neighbor complaining that Fiona had stationed herself on this woman’s porch and attacked my neighbor when she walked outside.
So, I wrote to a few no-kill shelters yesterday seeking their help. I sent each shelter the same message. It was short and to the point, and it did note that the cat had bitten a couple people. Here it is.
Note my automatic signature line at the end of my email, as it does have some significance in this situation. It’s a quote from Michael Pollan’s book, The Botany of Desire.
I received a response very quickly from a small, volunteer-run shelter. It was a doozy.
I was floored by this rude response. I found it shocking that a person who supposedly has some compassion (after all, she is working for an animal shelter) could be so condemning in her response. I’m not sure why, but I thought maybe she just needed a nudge from me that, hey, you’re being nasty and need to tone it down. Hence, my response to her.
Of course, she had to shoot back and try to get in the last word.
I had thought to send her yet another response saying “Last word.” and then blocking her email address. But that would have been petty. I had already given her a chance to snap out of whatever crappy mood she was in.
There is a lot that went wrong here. I understand it is difficult to find good people who are willing to give their precious time and energy for no pay. They really do have to be committed to the cause. But even if they are not being paid, they are representing the organization for which they volunteer. They need to be good ambassadors.
Not once did this woman offer me any real advice or try to help me — and, by extension, help my cat. Instead, she railed at me and tried to shame me. That’s really bad PR for an organization. I tried to find a list of officers or board members or something so I could clue them in about how this person needs to be brought in line, but there was nothing on their website. There are ways to look this info up, though. As a 501(c)(3) organization, the state will have tax forms on file and open to the public where board and officer information is listed, too. Mark says he will look it up and send a note to the board of the organization.
I had written to several shelters yesterday and this is the only inappropriate response I got. Every other one responded kindly and provided links or attachments with information on how to address the situation. While they were all full, they did try to help me and my cat.
The world is full of too much grief and strain already. I just don’t understand why people seek to perpetuate it.