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Norwich Bulletin - 12/25/2005

Remembering The Year

Today is Christmas, and time to reflect on a year well spent in rescue, as well as helping people take care of their strays, or even at times, their own pets. It’s a time to remember all the people who came forward to help us, some famous, some quiet and unremarkable, but all heroes to the animals that needed their help. Here are some of Helping Paws 2005 yearly accomplishments, and I hope you will enjoy sharing our memories with us.

Over 250 cats and kittens, some friendly and others feral, were spayed or neutered courtesy of Helping Paws this year. Our first every May Spay Day was a great success with three veterinarian practices joining in our cause and over 35 cats being altered within three days. Helping Paws was able to fund 75% of the total cost of these procedures. Our small organization has prevented several thousand unwanted kittens from being born because of our diligence in altering the cats that come into our care.

A major rescue (we can only handle one a year) in which over 100 Abyssinians and Bengals were taken from a woman who had a mental breakdown and was no longer caring for them. The Bengals went to several foster homes out of state and the Abys came to Connecticut. Every one of these seriously neglected cats are in their own homes this Christmas Day thanks to the dedication of many volunteers in four different states! At the same time we were facilitating this rescue, nine Abyssinians were released to me by the MSPCA, with three of them turning out to be pregnant. All ten kittens and nine adults are also celebrating their first holidays with their new humans today.

And let’s not forget the older cats that we took from the Humane Society in order to place them in forever homes too. These cats tend to be overlooked because there are so many choices to make at the Newington Facility so we were asked if we could help find some special homes for some special cats. Helping Paws has a network of seniors that will care for senior cats. Cats like Rusty, a fourteen year old, long haired red tabby with no teeth. Rusty is sitting on the lap of a woman who is equivalent to him agewise and she’s missing a lot of her teeth too!

Seriously though, we are thrilled whenever we find an older cat a home. While we do not take people’s personal pets, especially when they are old cats, we certainly do not turn away from the cats that are in the winters of their lives that we find on the city streets or in the larger shelters.

Last winter the Norwich colony was almost completely caught and altered. Only a few very wild cats had to be released back into the colony as most of the young teens and kittens were able to be socialized and placed into homes. For that I thank our local volunteers who are willing to spend hours upon hours to teach these little furry felines to trust in people – and that is not an easy task by any means.

A special thank you to Joanne Sandano from Animal Precinct NYC for her visit to our October dinner and silent auction at Aleia’s Restaurant. Joanne graciously signed autograph after autograph and took lots of pictures with our guests, as well as shared the center stage with Helping Paws spokescat Milo and his pal, Cheddar the Siamese. A lot of money was raised to continue working with strays.

Helping Paws also would like to thank the CFA and TICA cat clubs who donated money to purchase T.E.A.M. vouchers to be distributed to people who are on limited incomes and need to vaccinate and alter their cats. The mobile van is the best deal in town, and Helping Paws was able to give out over 50 vouchers this year to help New London County residents.

We have a wonderful foster home in Lyme who specializes in cats with disabilities. In fact, one of the kittens who could not be adopted or maintained in a home, was taken by my husband (courtesy of our volunteers) to Utah and is now living at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary! We have also found homes for some special kittens missing eyes and limbs throughout the year – after being rescued, medically taken care of and taught how to survive with their disability by this foster home.

We also are ever grateful to the Newington Humane Society, who has helped us throughout this year with some of our bigger rescues and whose talented and dedicated vets saved our rescue, Boston. Because of their quick thinking and action, today Boston is a healthy, young cat, contentedly living with his owner and hopefully, getting lots of presents from Santa.

Remember Ginny, The dog who rescues cats in New York City? Ginny passed away this year and we were able to give her owner Philip a nice donation to help him continue his work with all the feral cats he cares for on Long Island.

We have placed kitties this year from Maine to Texas. We had people drive here from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan to adopt our rescues. One man drove from Ohio to offer a long haired, non hearing domestic blue eyed white cat a home because it reminded him of one of his past pets. We have had people do food drives for us, we have had businesses donate goods, and money and services, all for the good of the animals we rescue. There are so many good people everywhere, and Helping Paws is an organization who depends on the kindness of strangers…

To all of them and to all of you – from my house to yours, I wish you a very blessed holiday!

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