Once in a while, an animal truly demonstrates how capable they are of selfless love and compassion. This is the case for Nunnie, a quiet and gentle cat that nursed and mothered not only her own litter of kittens, but a second set of kittens who were orphaned and relied on her for their survival.
Nunnie's story begins like many others - this 3 year old cat came in to Cape Ann Animal Aid from the Greater Boston area, abandoned, pregnant, and ready to give birth at any moment. She was with us a total of 5 days before giving birth to a litter of 4 kittens. An attentive mother, the family was given a quiet and secluded space in our cat room to nurse. The kittens and mom were all wary of humans at first, hissing when staff would approach the small box they lay in, but as time would have it Nunnie became more trusting and began to leave the small box her and her kittens were in and seek attention. The litter was moved into foster shortly after to receive the attention they needed until the kittens became old enough for adoption.
Alice, Nunnie and kittens' foster mom, writes:
"Nunie and her four shy babies were our "Quaran-kittens", a family who needed fostering when the COVID-19 pandemic sent everyone home. Nunie was very protective of her brood for the first few weeks of her babies' kittenhoods. While she was not a big fan of anyone coming near them, she herself was a model of feline motherhood. As her babes grew older and began weaning, Nunie decided that our house was pretty cool after all and she spent more time relaxing in the sunny windows and morphing into the lovely, sweet girl she is today."
Nunnie's original 4 were adopted quickly from their foster home. All in all, a typical story of a cat and her kittens with a very happy ending. But Nunnie's story was about to take a turn from the typical.
"But, as chance and tragedy would have it, Nunie's job as a mom was only half-done. On a Friday morning, I got a call from the shelter that four infant kitties had lost their mom the previous night. The decision was made to see if Nunie would step in as step-mom to these little orphans. After maybe 3 hours of quizzical looks, Nunie decided to make the leap. When she started licking the kitties as they nuzzled into her body, I knew they would be safe. Her second litter - the 'cheese' litter of Cheddar, Brie, Gouda, and PepperJack - were reared with the same doting love as her first and they will soon be on their way to their own forever homes.....thanks to Nunie."
After giving so much, it is time for this mom to have some much-deserved rest with a family that can repay her in many years of adoration. Nunnie (now affectionately called 'noon' for short) was adopted at the end of August and has been settling into her new home.
Nunnie is truly a special cat. Her love and doting nature shows us how much animals like her are capable of! She, and all eight of her kittens had their medical needs attended to by Cape Ann Animal Aid's Shelter Medicine Department. This care included vaccinations, spay/neuter surgeries, microchips, and regular checks to make sure all kittens grew up healthy and ready to move on to forever homes! Thanks to the support of our Shelter Medicine Department from people like you, we are able to save animals like Nunnie and her kittens.
Veterinary Care is a crucial component of a homeless animal’s journey to finding a forever home. Animals who arrive at our Cape Ann Animal Aid Christopher Cutler Rich Animal Shelter depend on the medical resources and care that we provide. Those resources, however, are sometimes extremely limited.
For many years we have relied on the generosity of area veterinary hospitals to work alongside our medical staff. Even with these generous partnerships, managing the medical needs of more than 70 dogs and cats in foster homes during the early days of COVID-19 was a formidable challenge. Closing to the public in March gave us the unexpected opportunity to start putting plans into place for a robust shelter medicine department. Not only did this include plans for constructing a procedure room with high quality medical and surgical equipment, it also included the addition of two full-time shelter medicine staff members.
These additional medical resources came just in time for a homeless momma dog, Sandy, and her seven pups. This family of eight were transferred into our care, in need of safe shelter and medical treatment. Thanks to the coordinated efforts of our foster care program and veterinary staff, we were able to provide them all with preventative vaccines and medications as well as spay and neutering procedures. Having all these resources available within our shelter allowed us to help an entire family along on their individual journeys into loving homes, despite the impact of COVID-19 on our community. Thanks to your support, Cape Ann Animal Aid's growing shelter medicine department had resources to save their lives.
"Being able to attend to our animals’ medical and surgical needs on-site without the additional step of having to visit an external veterinary clinic has been beneficial to the health and safety of our animals and staff. I am pleased and excited to be the full-time veterinarian at Cape Ann Animal Aid. This means that our dogs and cats get medical attention without needing an offsite appointment. Also, this means that our amazing foster care providers and staff now have an in-shelter resource for medical questions and concerns.”
– Dr. Alex Becket, Cape Ann Animal Aid’s Director of Shelter Medicine
Providing medical care in a timely manner is essential to the health and well-being of homeless animals. This was the case for Ella Fitz, a 9-week-old kitten found on a rescuer’s porch after she’d been hit by a car. Ella’s tail was severely damaged, and her wrist was dislocated. After initial therapy and a tail amputation provided by another veterinary group, she was transferred to Cape Ann Animal Aid for further advanced treatment. Once in our care, it was determined that Ella’s wrist injury was far more extensive than originally thought. In addition, there was deep nerve damage to her arm causing her severe pain, making it less likely to be a usable limb in the future. After careful consideration and testing, we determined that the best course of action would be to amputate the limb. Thanks to our expert staff and newly added surgical equipment, we were able to perform the operation in house without waiting for a scheduled appointment with an outside clinic. Fluid therapy, pain management and critical nursing care were all provided to her quickly and within our own clinical setup.
While we have made great strides and Cape Ann Animal Aid’s shelter medicine program now includes high-quality surgical equipment, we are still in need of more advanced medical equipment, supplies and procedure room space to help animals with more severe needs, animals like Victoria and Scooby.
During the early days of Covid-19 isolation when many doors were closed, we took into our care two older puppies from two different regions of the country where their lives were at risk. Victoria, pictured on the left, was transferred into our care from Puerto Rico and Scooby, pictured below, from Texas. After receiving routine medical care within our facility, both dogs were placed into caring foster families until they could be adopted. While in foster care, it was quickly realized that both dogs were experiencing varying levels of lameness and pain related to possible traumas or genetic hip dysplasia.
Scooby and Victoria need orthopedic surgeries to prevent reduced mobility and a lifetime of pain and discomfort. Scooby also has an additional knee problem in his left leg called a luxating patella, which is a condition where the kneecap will pop out of place. Without surgery, his knee will deteriorate rapidly.
In Scooby’s case, this is a debilitating condition, but one that can be easily treated with surgery. Currently, the shelter medicine department at Cape Ann Animal Aid lacks the needed procedure room space to perform surgeries of this type. We are relying on our partnerships with area veterinary hospitals to perform both surgeries in August. The future of our growing shelter medicine department is to provide this resource which would reduce costs and increase our ability to help more animals in a timely manner. With your support, Cape Ann Animal Aid can ensure that Scooby and Victoria and other dogs like them have the best quality of life, pain free.
We are pleased to report all these lucky animals are being loved by families of their own! Sandy and all 7 of her pups have been individually adopted and are enjoying the creature comforts that come from a loving home. And Ella Fitz has regained her mobility and gets around much faster and pain free without her damaged limb. This tiny being embraces life fully and is keeping her newly adopted family on their toes. Scooby and Victoria stole the hearts of their fosters who later decided to make them permanent members of their families.
These incredible animals are all thriving today and serve as a reminder of why we need to increase our ability to provide complete veterinary care to our shelter animals. Your gift will ensure that we are able to deliver lifesaving care to more vulnerable homeless animals.
Please give a generous gift today to the Cape Ann Animal Aid Veterinary Care Fund and, together, we can provide safe shelter, essential medical care and love to more pets who desperately need us.
Thank you for helping us save their lives.
Kelly Stallings dedicated the better part of her life to improving the lives of animals. She believed in the deep
connection we have with animals and the power they hold to uplift the human spirit. After Kelly passed away last year, her family wanted to honor her unconditional love and commitment to animals with a gift that would continue to help those in need. Cape Ann Animal Aid is honored to accept this generous gift in her name as a Foundation Sponsor for a Dog Meet and Greet Area in our shelter.
“Kelly was a kind, gentle and loving person who shared her entire life with animals and who put animals first. Kelly contributed to improving animal lives as a veterinarian technician, animal shelter adoption counselor and kennel technician, and an animal hospital radiology technician. Kelly also volunteered at animal shelters and she fostered cats and dogs,” says her husband, Eric.
Those who spend their lives caring for and bonding with animals understand the true value of these relationships. Kelly even wrote a book on the subject called, Never Say Goodbye: Reflections of a Lifetime of Loving Animals that was published posthumously in January 2020.
“Throughout her life, she was a devoted and loving parent to cats, dogs, hamsters and rabbits. I loved and admired Kelly for her ability to love animals unconditionally. I am and will be forever grateful to Kelly for expanding my thinking and belief systems regarding animals and our connections with them. She was a compassionate and emphatic person and cared deeply for animals. She was technically proficient and competent and had very good intuition when caring for animals. The animals and we were lucky to have been part of Kelly’s life, regardless of the length of time together with her. Kelly had a wonderful smile and was a beautiful person.”
Soon, each time someone visits Cape Ann Animal Aid and meets their new best friend, they will see Kelly’s name and photos of Kelly with a few animals that were important in her life.
As a nonprofit that focuses its effort exclusively on animals, it may seem beyond our scope to comment on racism in America. But our mission statement contains the phrase “respect and well-being” and we believe that this sentiment does not just apply to cats and dogs. As an organization, we have a responsibility to stand up for those who are hurting or in search of an equal opportunity to grow and thrive - including humans.
The killing of George Floyd and many others in the Black community has been a painful and necessary reminder that systemic racism causes our society to be anything but humane to people of color. The events of the past few weeks have created an urgency for change that has expanded across our country. We all need to do more, both as organizations and as individuals.
We recognize that actions speak louder than words. Cape Ann Animal Aid is actively examining how we can internally grow and sustain a more diverse, equitable and inclusive space at 4 Paws Lane for our staff, our volunteers, our supporters and the public. We are committed to continuing to listen, learn, and reflect upon what specific measures we can take to ensure we are an active part of that process tomorrow and every day thereafter.
Cape ann animal aid
An opportunity for you to learn more about the mission and programs of Cape Ann Animal Aid. Sharing candid insights, guest columns, breaking news, and of course, adorable photos of shelter animals.