Few things make our team at Cape Ann Animal Aid happier than watching a dog or cat that we’ve championed for, walk out our shelter doors into the arms of their new family. Thankfully, for many of the 1000 plus rescues we’ve helped this year, their time with us at the shelter is short but for others, this is not the case. Some animals may need more medical attention or behavior support, patience, and love before being adopted. One of those animals is Wally.
After a long battle for his life, Wally finally met his new family and greeted them with his signature goofy grin. A great day at Cape Ann Animal Aid but one we worried would not happen. Thanks to your support, Wally will be spending this holiday season in the comfort of a loving home.
Shortly after arriving into our care, Wally became extremely ill. Diagnostic testing revealed he had contracted Parvovirus, a highly contagious, often fatal, viral disease, causing severe vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes sepsis. This virus typically affects younger puppies and routine vaccination usually provides protection. At 8 months old, it was unusual for Wally to have this virus and to be so sick.
To save Wally’s life, the CAAA animal care team maintained isolation protocols and took immediate action. He was placed on a regimen of antibiotics, IV fluids, nutritional support, anti-nausea medications, vitamin supplements and around-the-clock care. They created a network of constant communications. Day or night, any time he showed slight improvements, hopes were high. The team cheered and sent videos. But the next day, the quiet worry would begin again because he didn’t move or eat. His weight loss was alarming, and we feared the worst, but our team was not giving up.
Treating Parvovirus requires an abundance of medical supplies, time and compassionate care. All of which we had, because of you. Thank you for giving Wally a fighting chance.
For Wally, our team had the resources to act fast and follow medical protocols to fight for his survival. For some, especially older animals, the help they may need requires a different set of skills. Such was the case for 7-year-old, Freya.
After many years of living a quiet life with a single adult, Freya’s owner was forced to relocate and needed to surrender her for adoption. In her former home, Freya was reported to be an affectionate, playful yet mellow companion. However, the transition to our shelter was incredibly difficult for her and she let us know. She displayed fear based behavior, which included hiding, hissing, and swatting at staff when they tried to care for her.
Our dedicated animal care staff was concerned about Freya’s demeanor and how it would affect her chances of finding a new home, but they refused to give up on her. Community outreach coordinator, Jane Peters, recalls her first attempts at working with Freya.
She would hide in a cubby and wouldn’t come out for anything. I would sit as close as she let me and toss her treats. She would hesitantly take the treats, but she swiped at me and hissed if I got too close.
Figuring out our best strategy to help Freya took time and lots of patience, but the effort paid off. Once we were able to convince her she was safe, her true personality came forward and she quickly found her human match. Her new family had this to say about her.
Freya has been an absolute love bug since the day I got her. She follows me around all day and curls up next to my head when I fall asleep at night. I am so happy to have adopted her from Cape Ann Animal Aid. She is absolutely the perfect cat for me!
Wally and Freya needed a safe place where they could receive the right care. They needed Cape Ann Animal Aid and people like you to champion for them. Together, we can give them the only gift they ask for - a loving home. The unconditional love they give in return can fill up an ocean and your whole heart.
Thank you for being a champion for homeless animals in need!
Today, Major is as happy as can be in his forever home. He no longer cowers in fear of the other dogs barking in the shelter kennel and the strange people walking by his run. But it was hard to picture this happy future for him when he first arrived at Cape Ann Animal Aid. Scared and lonely, it took the love and attention that only a home and a family can provide to get this gentle dog out of his shell.
In the shelter, Major struggled to adjust. Stressed and anxious, he cowered in the back of his kennel run, shrinking smaller still when a staff person would approach. He had worn a small sore onto the end of his nose from frantically rubbing it against his kennel. In the yard, he would pace about and whine. It was clear that in order to observe his true personality, he would need to get out of the shelter.
"Everyone knew there was a happy dog in there, we just needed to give him the chance to show us." -Kate Glidden and Jesse Dole, Major's foster family
Kate and Jesse, Major's Foster Caregivers, write: "Major is the fifth dog that we have fostered since COVID began back in March. When we were contacted about Major's story, we couldn't say no to trying to relieve some of the stress that the poor boy was experiencing in the shelter environment. Major had lived with the same family in Texas since he was 4 months old and, due to economic circumstances beyond their control, they had to surrender him. The confusion and sadness that he must have felt as he boarded the transport that brought him to Cape Ann Animal Aid is terrible to think about. The photos of Major huddled in the back of his kennel was enough to know that we had to try something different, everyone knew there was a happy dog in there, we just needed to give him the chance to show us."
"Without his time in foster, we wouldn't have been able to share all the fantastic things we learned about him with a potential adopter. We believe his time in foster allowed him to decompress and show us what a good boy he is. We feel very fortunate to have been part of his journey to his forever home."
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.
COVID-19 Accelerates Need for a New Shelter Medicine Department at Cape Ann Animal Aid
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.
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.