30 December 2011

A Cat Named Scruffy

I was going to write about this story last week -- but I was so angry that I had to wait until I could write about it calmly and rationally.

You have probably all heard the story about the ex-drug addict in Phoenix who found sobriety with the help of a little kitten. Earlier this month, the now-adult cat was injured and taken to the Arizona Humane Society by her caretaker who was desperate to find help. The caretaker did not have money to pay for the treatment at that moment, and the humane society convinced him the cat would be treated if he surrendered the cat to them. A few hours later, the cat was euthanized.

So much has been written about how wrong this situation was. The poor man. The poor cat.

Matt and I have been big supporters of the Arizona Humane Society for many, many years; donating to them thousands of dollars and lots of supplies. (Our cat, Eero, was adopted from them in 2005.) I was incensed by this story and ready to call them and tell them to return the money I had just sent them the day before.

But I waited. I wanted to hear the whole story, to calm down and review it objectively.

Today I called the humane society and spoke with a very nice woman (Monica) and told her how upset I was by their actions, how I was ready to demand a return of my money; but that, in the end, I decided the best thing to do was to ask that they take the money I just donated and put it in their new "9-1-1 account" created in response to this event. Money in this emergency account will be used to help financially-strapped owners pay for treatment and give them time to repay it later. I told Monica that this was a better solution for me than to demand a return of my money: rather than complain about what happened, I wanted to be part of the solution to prevent such needless tragedy ever befalling an animal lover again.

Of course, my donation will not bring back Scruffy, and her owner will never have time with his cat again; but maybe we can all learn from this horrible cascade of mistakes.

I urge you to please make a donation -- in Scruffy's name -- to your local humane society and suggest that they create a similar emergency fund (if they don't have one already).

You can read more about Scruffy here.

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