Foster Happy Tails

ABBY:  12 happy tails in one!

Abby, a stray pitbull mix, was brought to the Shelter with her eleven 2-week old puppies. The nursing mom was put into foster care so she would have a quiet place to raise her young.

One day, the foster mom was gently rubbing Abby's belly and noticed that one of her mammary glands appeared to be infected. She called AHS and was told to bring Abby in immediately. It was a weekend, but when our staff looked at Abby, they knew she needed medical attention right away, so they brought her to REACH, the emergency animal hospital.

Unfortunately, the infection was so severe that Abby had to be left overnight for treatment. Even worse, she could no longer nurse her babies. 

In an instant, eleven puppies' lives were at risk. At two weeks old, they certainly could not survive on their own.

Miranda Tipton, our Placement and Population Care Manager, mobilized for action. She started making phone calls to foster parents who were willing and qualified to take puppies that had to be bottle fed around the clock. Miranda ended up taking five of the pups herself and placing the other six in foster homes.

For the next several weeks, the puppies were bottle fed by volunteers until they were old enough to eat canned food. They then went into other foster homes to be cared for until they were ready to go up for adoption.

Thanks to the collective efforts of these foster heroes, every one of the puppies survived - and they were all eventually adopted.

As for Abby, she went back to her original foster home to recover. This sweet, lovable mom took the experience in stride, and after a few weeks of being doted on by her foster family, Abby was herself adopted.

Now that's not just one, but twelve Happy Tails!



COOKIE:  New Life on Four Legs

We were fostering a wonderful mother cat and her two kittens, when my 8 year olds, Ruby and Christel, decided there was space in their room for their very own foster kitten. We came into the shelter to pick up Cookie, a 3 month old kitten. Cookie's left front leg was so malformed that it curved inward like a hockey stick. Cookie had his leg x-rayed -- it was a severe malformation and the vet thought he probably had nerve damage as well. The girls were to take care of Cookie for a couple of weeks until he weighed enough to have his left front leg amputated. 
We brought Cookie home and he was so passive and apathetic. It was so sad. He could not walk properly due to his malformed leg, would try to hop and just stumble and fall. So he just sat there. So we thought we would start an active physical therapy campaign for little Cookie and see if we could improve his mobility. I taught a mini physical therapy class to the girls and my husband and we started giving intensive therapy.  For the first few days there was not a time when we were awake when one of us did not have Cookie in hand gently massaging and going through range of motion exercises.

We started to see results! Instead of Cookie's leg looking like a hockey stick and trying to walk on the side of his ankle, he now could place his foot pad on the floor. Over the next days and weeks, we not only noticed a positive change in his ability to use his leg and paw, but also saw the kitten in him emerge. Cookie was now seeking out playtime with our younger cat, Glory, and romping around with our mini dachshund, Heidi.  He was a happy, playful, silly kitten! My husband started calling him Siegfried. Cookie/Siegfried continues to get numerous PT sessions with us daily, and is now a happy, confident kitten who runs even better than he walks... on four legs.

-    Christine (foster mom)



MISSY: The Cat That Got a Job!

Missy is a gorgeous tan and apricot tortoiseshell that was brought into Buncombe County Animal Shelter as a 4 month old stray cat. She was put into foster care with me because she was a little fearful and could benefit from some extra socialization and “family time.” Although she made steady progress in getting braver and more sociable during her months in foster care, she still scurried away if I tried to pick her up. Although she liked to be around the household activity and wanted to be petted, she did not like to be held or snuggled for more than a minute or so. However, she did love cat treats and would gently eat them out of my hand. Missy was never aggressive in any way, and she enjoyed the company of my other foster cats too. She was also quite playful and liked to bat around her toy mouse and chase the laser pointer.  In spite of our best efforts to get her adopted, Missy kept getting passed by in favor of the more “snuggly” lap cats.  

Missy had one other “issue” that was hindering her from getting adopted. She had a mild “kitty cold” that made one of her nostrils slightly wet and caused occasional sneezing. In spite of several medications, it never totally cleared up.But it certainly wasn’t serious enough to prevent her from finding a home and enjoying life. 

Asheville Humane Society never gave up on Missy! They knew that eventually “the right person” would come along and offer Missy “the right home” for her personality. Five months after arriving at the shelter as a stray, Missy found her forever home! 

Turns out her forever home is a barn. Yes, Missy is a working girl! She got a job as a barn cat! A local family was looking for an additional barn cat, but they had two requirements. The new barn cat had to co-exist peacefully with their existing barn cat AND it had to be friendly enough so their children could pet it. Missy was the perfect match! 

In return for keeping the rodents at bay, Missy has a cozy hayloft to sleep in, fresh water and cat food, veterinary care if she needs it, the companionship of other cats, and a family who loves her and is committed to taking care of her. Because Missy has been spayed, she will not be giving birth to litters of kittens. Life on the farm is the perfect place for Missy... and she’s loving it!

-    Sharon (foster mom) 



ANNIKA:  The Cat That Acts Like a Dog! 

I've been fostering cats for AHS for many years, but I've never had one quite like Annika. Annika acts like a dog! She comes when called, loves vigorous head rubs, head butts me if I stop petting her, and comes running over when I enter the room. She also gets along just fine with other cats and seems to enjoy their company. She's quite the social butterfly!  

Annika has only one problem  --  she's not 100% reliable with the litter box. She had to have part of her tail amputated because on an injury... and perhaps this has something to do with her having an occasional "accident" outside the litter box. Actually, Annika became better and better with her litterbox habits over time. I guess "practice makes perfect!" 

We knew it might be difficult to find a home for Annika, but she got adopted by a wonderful family who have other cats and were willing to set up a cozy cat condo for Annika on their deck so she could have lots of time outdoors. I spoke with her new owner recently and Annika is doing just fine. She goes in and out of the house whenever she feels like it, and she goes to the bathroom outdoors, so it has never been a problem. According to her new mom, Annika is friendly with everyone who comes over to their house! 

Annika is a confident, friendly, and fun cat who deserved to live a happy life... and she is!!    

-    Sharon (foster mom)