Sharing an experience at the Oakland Animal Shelter.
A Christmas Story (via craigslist)
I hear alot of negativity about the shelter, I would like
to post this as a notice to other people who might think about
adopting from the Oakland Animal Shelter.
When we went to the Oakland Animal Shelter it was near Christmas
and we were one of many families who I am sure walked through
that door looking for a new pet for Christmas. Of course,
we understood that we were not looking for a pet just for
the Christmas Season...We were looking for a cat that we would
adopt to become a cherished member of our family. We were
referred back to the cat holding area (And you'll forgive
me if i've forgotten some of the physical description, it's
been a long time now) where we first went to look at the cages
where they kept small kittens. Every cage was standing empty!
Christmas rush, they told us, everyone wanted to bring kittens
home for the children on Christmas day. We did want a kitten,
but we also knew that the kitten days are fleeting and this
would be an animal that would be with us for many years to
In another area we found the cages for full grown cats, there
was another family already there looking at the last two cats
that were available for adoption. One handsome white cat and
a green eyed, calico female. My brother was taken with the
calico, and we quickly went into another room to speak with
an adoption counsellor.
After we filled out our application, we paid our adoption
fees and were quickly on our way back home with our new cat.
We were so excited for the new addition that we took her out
of her box in the back seat of the car, where she huddled
and meowed miserably during the car ride. We dubbed her 'Kitty',
originally, and brought her home to be doted on.
In her early years, she spent plenty of time giving us suspicious
looks and plenty of scratching and biting when we wanted to
play past the time when she was done with us. Over the years
she became calmer and friendlier, following us from room to
room, sleeping with us in our beds, greeting us at the door
and demanding cat treats.
We adopted our Kitty from the Oakland Animal Shelter thirteen
years ago now, and I am thankfull every day that we found
her. I was seven years old when we adopted kitty as part of
our family, and when my brother and I grew up and moved out
of our home she came with me. She has been with me through
many moves, many good times and bad times. When my boyfriend
and I moved in together and we realized his severe asthma
was triggered by the cat, who slept in bed with me, we were
forced to make a compromise. It's always a hard choice when
you have to push away someone you love so much.
But he got used to sleeping on the couch, I promise. And over
time, and with an inhaler stashed in every room of the house,
he became acclimated to cat fur and the cat accepted him as
another provider of cat treats.
I am thankfull every day when I think of how many happy years
i've been able to spend with this cat, and occassionally I
think back to when I first saw her in that holding cage and
wonder who dropped her, who would not have wanted my beautiful
cat. When I hear all the negativity surrounding operations
at the Oakland Animal Shelter, all I can think is how grateful
I am that they took my cat in, and let me meet her, how many
happy years they have provided for us both.
So before you concider boycotting or avoiding a certain shelter,
remember you might miss out on your perfect pet and lifelong
companion. Success rates or not, we can only move forward
when we accept the failures of a shelter as the failures of
a community. It can be hard some times to see the good when
you have to measure the success of an organization by statistics
But I will always measure it against the smile of the shelter
worker who gave us our beloved cat, thirteen years ago. .