Last night, two devoted volunteers responded to a plea for help from Sandra at 80th and Kedzie. Sandra and her eight-year-old daughter had found a cat apparently stuck under a fence and with something clearly wrong. Despite the rain and dark, our volunteers mobilized and coaxed this unfortunate animal into a cat carrier by petting and relaxing him. They then brought him to the emergency animal clinic on Clybourn. He was paralyzed and did not respond to light shone in his eyes (cause of problem undiagnosed, could have been anything from rabies to antifreeze poisoning). The decision was made to euthanize and he died peacefully. His last hours were in a dry, warm, quiet place with loving words and strokes. He was not left to die in the cold and rain.
Despite this sad result, we are inspired by the dedication of these volunteers. Theirs and her mother's actions showed a little girl that there is mercy and compassion in this world and that animals matter. Thank you Ruth and Che; thanks to Sandra for reaching out for help and for donating towards Spalding's care.
Some Tips: When You've Found an Injured Animal
Be careful. You can't help if you get hurt. Injured cats may bite.
In Chicago you can try calling 311. Understand the limitations of animal care and control agencies -- and volunteer groups. Virtually all animal control facilities and humane societies have severe budgetary or space limitations and must make painful decisions about how best to allocate their inadequate resources. Most likely you will get advice over the phone and be asked to bring the cat somewhere for care.
The same is true for volunteer-run organizations. Hyde Park Cats was actually able to get two compassionate people out of their homes in the rain on a Saturday night, but no organization can mobilize all the time. We encourage you as the finder to reach out for help, but prepare to take action yourself.
Know that helping in some way is the right thing to do, even if the only thing you can do is figure out a shelter from the rain. And sometimes the best thing you can do is facilitiate a humane death. Thanks to everybody who does stop and help, who calls for help, who gears up and helps.