Back to the real world…

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.

My message seeking help

My message seeking help

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.

The first rude response from animal shelter volunteer

The first rude response from animal shelter volunteer

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.

My response to the rudeness

My response to the rudeness

Of course, she had to shoot back and try to get in the last word.

Final rude response

Final rude response

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.


4 thoughts on “Back to the real world…

  1. Hey Linda,

    I spent several years working at an animal shelter and unfortunately, that sort of mentality does crop up from time to time, generally in those with a martyr mentality-no one appreciates the plight of the animals, no one is as qualified to care for them as that person is, no one deserves to have animals, blah blah, blah. Sounds like the worker who lashed out at you is one of those, with a serious case of burnout. Ugh. That, or they’re working for an organization that perpetuates that mentality- it happens occasionally with no-kills, especially if it’s a very small operation that specifically looks for people with that mindset. Every movement has it’s extremes.

    At any rate, I’m terribly sorry you encountered such a bitter person when you were reaching out for help. It’s good to hear that the other volunteers at least took the time to offer advice and support.

    And I was actually over here to thank you for the thyroid info-I knew about the basic tests, but wasn’t aware of the other info so I’ll be mentioning that to my doc as well.


  2. Hi – just got sent over here from your letter in BYC – I’m a sorta knitter and have chickens AND most importantly had a ridiculously mean cat for years. One day we thought he’d run away or been finally taken by the coyotes. He was gone for two days – then my guy, my two step-kids and I went out for a July 1st celebration (Canadian). We got back to see Bully Boy sitting on our front porch. We all sighed and moaned and I had an aha moment. I’m going to get rid of that blight. He bit us all the time. We didn’t care if he escaped – he was an outside inside cat. I personally think keeping cats inside all the time is really mean but I know I’m out numbered. We’d all be safer if we would just stay home for OUR whole lives but hey! So I phoned shelters and although I got no rude responses I pretty much got no help. The SPCA woman said “No – we don’t take cats that are mean.” so I said “OK – I’ll just take him down to the harbour in a sack with a rock.” in an ironic voice but she got into a real twist. “You can’t do that – my god!” etc … I told her I wouldn’t kill anything. I’m a Buddhist – oh my god I’m spiritual too – we must be really bad people!!! If I’d pretended I’d found the damn thing I could’ve gotten rid of it. Finally I found it a home on a farm where it lives in a barn with some other cats and a lot of horses. Far as I know he is fine – a lot more sociable with a lot less possiblities to be so. Guess he just hated to much stimulation. By the way – I had him from six weeks old and he was ALWAYS mean. Woke me up every morning biting me on the head. Yikes. I have a dog that is a runaway and though I’d like to throttle him when he’s gone – he is very sweet natured. I’ve had both cats and dogs all my long life and I never had a mean cat like Bully Boy before. My fault – I named him.

    Jan la Banan


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