2007 Annual Report
Educating our community on responsible pet ownership while providing safe haven for cats and kittens in transition to new lives in permanent homes.
Founded on July 1, 2003, FieldHaven Feline Rescue’s focus is on cats and kittens and providing shelter, adoptions, community education, and spay/neuter assistance. FieldHaldHaven’s operations are centered around a small shelter located on a private horse ranch in rural Lincoln, California. A limited number of adult cats are housed at the shelter, with the remainder cared for in a network of foster homes.
Administrative Organizational Growth
In its fourth year of operation, FieldHaven has expanded its services, number of programs offered, volunteer base, paid staff, and members of its Board of Directors. The organizational growth demanded we strengthen our administrative foundation, producing such measures as:
- Implementation of Code of Conduct and Volunteer Agreement for every FieldHaven volunteer.
- Provision of a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner to over 130 active volunteers.
- Recognization of a “Volunteer of the Year” whose service to the organization has exceeded expectations.
- Expansion and restructuring of the Board of Directors to better meet the needs of a growing organization.
- Involvement of the Board President on the Placer County Animal Services Advisory Committee to assist the County Executive Officer with animal care services policies, procedures, and decision making.
- Assessment of FieldHaven’s shelter capacity in regards to the growing number of programs and services we offer to to temporarily house feral and stray adult Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) cats, provide space for volunteers to work on projects, accommodate the public seeking our services, and administer veterinary care and treatment to felines in our census.
- Creation of a planning subgroup of the Board of Directors to start fundraising efforts and begin the replacement of the shelter by the end of calendar year 2009.
Board of Directors
Jennifer Ehrlinspiel, DVM
Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) Funding
FieldHaven introduced its Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) to Lincoln residents in 2004. The next year, we received approval for a Lincoln Community Foundation Grant. With a larger number of volunteers, approval for grants from other agencies and extended media coverage of the program, FieldHaven has expanded its Spay/Neuter Assistance Program to communities outside of Lincoln.
FieldHaven loans traps and cages. Volunteers provide education on trapping, techniques on safe handling of the cats, and transportation to Animal Spay & Neuter Clinic (a low-cost spay/neuter clinic) when necessary. FieldHaven acts as a triage center where cats can be dropped off for transportation and picked up for recovery. Assistance with recovery is provided on a space-available basis.
FieldHaven recently added a holding/recovery area for up to four feral or stray adult cats, named “Buster’s Barn” in honor of the teenage volunteer who constructed the facility. We encourage releasing the animals back into their familiar environment, but when this is not possible, we provide education and assistance on relocation to a safe area (e.g. ranches and/or farms).
PetSmart Charities Free-Roam SNAP Grant 2007
Having a partnership with PetSmart for adoption center venues, we applied for a grant to expand our Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) coverage beyond Lincoln in 2007 by partnering with Animal Spay & Neuter Clinic to offer stipends to individuals or other rescues unable to pay for feline alteration surgeries. The PetSmart Charities Free-Roam SNAP Grant provided $10,000 for spay/neuter surgeries.
Placer County Trust Fund SNAP Grant 2007
These revenue-sharing funds on account provide $5,000 of local money to continue and expand our Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) services to even greater geographical areas of Placer County.
Grants Applications Approved for SNAP in 2008
Because the need is so great, SNAP continues to be our most active volunteer program in terms of teamwork, demonstrated success rates in curbing feline overpopulation, and our highest priority programa for continued grant funding. Each year, we must seek grants to continue SNAP funding at current and increasing levels. FieldHaven has received approval for continued funding in 2008 through these organizations:
- Bernice Barbour Foundation – $1,500
- Build-A-Bear Workshop Domestic Animals – $5,000
- Handsel Foundation – $10,000
- The Placer County Trust – $2,000
Community Foundation of Lincoln Grant
FieldHaven was awarded funds to implement curriculum material in the City of Lincoln Education About Responsibility (CLEAR) Project in partnership with Sun City Helping Our Outstanding Lincoln Schools (SCHOOL) to provide age-appropriate lessons on responsible pet ownership through joint team teaching. FieldHaven received $1,600 to develop lesson plans.
Promoting adoptions remains a core focus of FieldHaven as we continually explore ways to increase exposure of FieldHaven’s adoptable cats and kittens. In 2007, we were able to increase our adoption activity over 2006 by approximately 34%. Part of this increase can be attributed to the addition of the new Lincoln PetSmart location, where we did adoptions one weekend per month in 2007.
The upgraded shelter management software in the third quarter allowed for increased internet exposure and more information on individual cats available to the potential adopter, which also facilitated an increase in adoption activity.
Returns, however, were ups lightly over 2006, with a total of 31 returns (10% in 2007 vs. 8% in 2006). We can attribute this in part to an increased focus on our return clause in our adoption agreement at the time of adoption, where the adopter agrees to contact FieldHaven if at any time they can no longer keep the adopted cat.
The two most common reasons stated for return were “moving to a location that doesn’t allow pets” and “incompatibility.” The current economic environment definitely contributed to a number of the former returns as adopters returning cats cited economic reasons for having to move. A focused analysis of a small sampling of adoptions revealed a 95% customer satisfaction rate among adopters. We also were pleased to learn our comprehensive medical protocols carried on after adoption, where 99% of cats and kittens adopted from FieldHaven remain illness-free during the post-adoption period.
We are planning a more comprehensive adoption survey in 2008.
With the increased popularity of our courtesy listing/adoptions program, we began tracking courtesy adoption statistics in 2007. This program allows the public to list cats they wish to rehome on the FieldHaven website and present the cats for adoption at outreach adoption events. These are cats we were unable to initially bring into FieldHaven due to space restrictions. Courtesy listings provide a way for the owner/caregiver to seek potential adopters. In 2007, 34 cats were placed into homes through this program.
2007 Adoption Stats
Courtesy Adoptions: 36
Health and Wellbeing of Shelter Cats
The mental and physical health of each cat in FieldHaven’s care is of primary importance. To that end, we have developed a set of comprehensive protocols to ensure each animal is thoroughly screened and meets a strict set of medical guidelines prior to being placed for adoption. We work in partnership with our shelter veterinarian, Roberta Peterson, DVM, IDEXX Laboratories, UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program, and several local veterinary clinics.
In late 2007, Jennifer Ehrlinspiel, DVM joined the Board of Directors as a veterinary advisor. Dr. Ehrlinspiel is a technical services veterinarian for Merial Limited. This team of veterinary experts contributes to the ongoing development of our health care program.
In addition to the adult cats housed at FieldHaven’s shelter, we have developed a dedicated team of foster parents who provide care and housing for kittens and adult cats in need of specialized, individual attention.
Foster parents are committed to adhering to the guidelines of our foster program, which includes bringing their fosters to FieldHaven for regular exams and preventative medical care by our medical team. Each month, this network of foster parents care for anywhere from twenty kittens/”teenagers” during the winter months to sixty-plus kittens during the height of “kitten season.” Our medical protocols restrict foster parents to caring for only one to two individual litters at any given time to limit the possibility of disease outbreak.
Communicable diseases and vulnerability of kittens’ immune systems is also the reason we never house cats less than a year old in the shelter at FieldHaven. No amount of medical care and screening can eliminate the possibility of a cat or kitten becoming sick after adoption.
However, we have found our medical protocols have greatly reduced the occurrence of post-adoption upper respiratory infections, ringworm, GI symptoms, and other diseases and conditions common to animals going through the stress of being placed in a new home.
We also take the mental health of the cats and kittens very seriously. Studies have shown the stress of being relocated, multiple animal housing, and overcrowding directly contributes to the physical health of animals, especially cats. At the direction of shelter manager Jen Paul, volunteers assist in evaluating each cat on a daily basis using a checklist to assess the physical health and mental well-being of the animals.
Cats are housed in specific areas of the shelter or foster homes according to their psychological needs. Volunteers assist in tracking the psychological characteristics of each cat so that we may provide for their comfort while at FieldHaven as well as make the best possible match for them at the time of adoption.
Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP)
2007 marked the third year of FieldHaven’s community Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP). With a $10,000 grant from PetSmart Charities and a $5,000 grant from Placer County Animal Trust, we were able to expand the program this year. SNAP assists residents of Lincoln, Newcastle, Wheatland, and Sheridan by covering the cost of spay/neuter surgery and vaccines for owned, stray, and feral cats.
There are no qualifications, although we do encourage those who are able to do so to contribute what they can afford to replenish the funds. Over $3,700 was received to supplement the grant funds and provide a reserve when grant funds are exhausted. With significant funds available, we wanted to advertise SNAP in the community to those who may not be aware of the program. Our goal was to create a campaign that would grab the public’s attention.
The concept of our campaign became “Prevent Teenage Pregnancy,” based on the largely unknown fact that “teenage” kittens can become pregnant at six months of age. Our campaign was successful! In 2007, we spayed and neutered 447 community cats – more than twice the number in 2006.
The campaign poster for Prevent Teenage Pregnancy won a national award from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for innovative marketing, along with our “Wine and Cats” poster.
Our outreach in the community spanned from the ranchlands of the north to the southwest area of Lincoln, where we worked with an entire community to resolve a long-standing feral problem.
Operation: Amoruso* successfully demonstrated how FieldHaven can work with the community to have a favorable outcome from everyone – especially for the cats. The experience with Amoruso led to an arrangement with the nearby landfill and other businesses in the area to trap any abandoned cats. Depending on the location, feral cats can be returned to the location or relocated. Aany social cats or kittens are placed for adoption.
The impact our Spay/Neuter Assistance Program has had on our community reaches right into Placer County taxpayer pockets. FieldHaven’s success with SNAP has demonstrated an impact in the number of cats being processed at Placer County Animal Services (PCAS). Utilizing population statistics from the City of Lincoln and PCAS intake figures from 2005 (the first year of SNAP) to 2007, FieldHaven’s SNAP program has affected a decrease in the number of cats.
In 2007, there were more than 44% fewer cats brought into PCAS for the City of Lincoln than in 2005. This does not include the cats also rescued from other Wheatland, Sheridan, Newcastle, and unincorporated areas of Lincoln. The above table estimates the decreased number of cats brought into PCAS resulted in approximately $60,000 taxpayer savings from 2005 to 2007.
Impact on Intakes at PCAS (City of Lincoln Only)
Placer County Animal Services (PCAS) Intake History
|Year||PCAS Cat Intakes from City of Lincoln||Est. Lincoln Population||Cat Intake per 1,000||% Change from Previous Year||% Cumulative Change from 2004||Est. # of Animals Diverted from PCAS*||Est. Cost of Diverted Animals**|
*Calculated based on the 2004 intakes per/1,000 population (6.63) assuming the intake per/1,000 rate remains static as the population grows.
**Based on a per animal cost of $374 for 2007. Actual cost per/ animal may be less for 2005-06
2007 SNAP Stats
Outreach, Education, and Collaboration
While adoptions and rescuing cats and kittens remain an integral part of our organization, there are many other ways we work to make an impact in our community and beyond. The fact remains that FieldHaven can only intake a small percentage of the cats and kittens we are requested to. In an effort to offset the gap for the animals we cannot directly help, we strive to assist the public with our expertise and other resources.
The Community/Cat Assistance Team (CAT) continues to provide public assistance with advice on any and all cat-related issues, including providing space on FieldHaven’s website to “courtesy list” their adoptable cats. The resource library on our website offers articles on dozens of topics, from how to have your allergic family member and your cat coexist to how to deal with litter box issues.
One notable project we assisted with in 2007 resulted from an inquiry by a staff member at Quest, a Sacramento company. Stray cats with several litters of kittens had taken up residence in the area behind their office building, and management was asking for the cats to be removed.
With management support, several staff members were willing to try to rehome the cats, but they had no experience with this type of situation. Unfortunately, many of the cats were feral or semi-feral. The Quest team was not put-off by the challenge of trapping the cats and kittens, getting them the necessary medical care socializing them for adoption.
With FieldHaven’s expert guidance and the loan of a FieldHaven volunteer’s garage as a temporary cattery, all of the cats were vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered. Quest staff cared for them on a daily basis and worked towards socializing. When it became time for adoption, we offered our adoption venue at Petco for the Quest cats to be showcased. This project represents how we are able to reach beyond the capacity of our shelter walls to help the community.
With the implementation of an upgraded version of our web-based shelter management system, Shelter Connection AC+, we are able to expand the interactive user functionality of our website. AC+ allows us to present more information on our adoptable animals, including more detailed descriptions and bios and additional pictures and videos. With more robust reporting capability, we are able to produce detailed information and statistics, as well as better track the medical records of each animal.
Whenever possible, we transfer at-risk animals from municipal shelters. In 2007, cats from Placer County Animal Services, Lake County Animal Care and Services, and Sacramento Animal Control were transferred to FieldHaven. Community outreach is a continual area of growth for FieldHaven. As resources allow, we strive to help people with their animals in any way we can.
Volunteers Making it Happen
It is the extreme depth of knowledge, skills, and energy amongst the 130+ volunteers who call FieldHaven their volunteering home and allow the organization to function. Volunteers provide thousands of hours each month to operate the facility and our community programs. With participation in virtually every aspect of the organization, FieldHaven depends on volunteers to function each day.
We provide a wide range of volunteering opportunities for all ages, and even have opportunities for those who prefer to do their volunteering virtually. FieldHaven welcomes anyone with an interest in helping, regardless of how much time they have to offer.
There were several notable individual volunteer accomplishments in 2007.
Buster Borst volunteers at fieldHaven along with his mom, Hillary, and sister, Betsey. When it came time to select a community project as part of his Eagle Scout qualification process, Buster thought of FieldHaven first. Buster’s project became Buster’s Barn, a much-needed feral cat holding and quarantine facility. Buster managed the entire project, from design to completion. Buster’s Barn provided FieldHaven with holding space for four or more feral cats while waiting for placement or recovering from surgery before being returned to their colony.
Alice West brainstormed the idea of creating greeting cards from the beautiful cat photography of FieldHaven co-founder and president, Joy Smith. The creatively assembled and packaged cards are sold as a fundraiser, but they also act as an advertisement for FieldHaven to each person that receives a greeting card.
Lorraine Davis had no idea how her life would take a turn when she rescued a homeless cat near her home four years ago. “Lucky” was the catalyst bringing Lorraine to FieldHaven, where she found her passion in rescuing cats and kittens in and around Lincoln. She has become a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) expert and she manages a feral colony where she works.
Both Lorraine and Alice have been recognized for their accomplishments with articles written about them in the Lincoln News Messenger. These articles can be viewed on our website.
Buster, Alice, and Lorraine are just a small sample of the extraordinary efforts put forth all day, every day to make work towards FieldHaven’s mission.
What is a Feral Cat?
A feral cat is an unsocialized cat who was born to a feral mother and has never lived with a human family, or a house cat who strayed from home and over time has thrown off the effects of domestication, reverting to a wild state.
What is Trap, Neuter, Return?
Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) is the humane, non-lethal method of feline population control. It is more effective than trap-and-kill and is more reflective of a caring society.
Major Fundraising Activities
FieldHaven Open House and Used Book Sale – Spring 2007 and FieldHaven’s Second Annual Used Book Sale – Fall 2007
FieldHaven is an active participant in the Used Book Co-Operative (UBC) and earned money from three activities:
- Donating books to the UBC
- Providing volunteer labor to the UBC
- Selling used books the UBC Provides
In 2007, we earned over $8,200 from books from our affiliation with the UBC. We combined our used book sale events with a Spring Open House and Fall Barn Rummage Sale. FieldHaven also introduced the sale of Greeting Cards in 2007, made by FieldHaven volunteers’ digital photos to market our adoptable felines. The Spring Open House netted $200 in raffle ticket and greeting card sales, while the Fall Barn Sale earned $3,360, including raffle ticket and greeting card sales.
Four New Fundraising Partnerships – Summer 2007
The Car Program LLC
FieldHaven contracted with Car Program LLC as a third-party agent to tow any car, boat, or RV from a designated location on behalf of FieldHaven. In 2007, FieldHaven received $2,125 from donated vehicles.
Board Member Julie Anderson co-founded the Visan company that developed RocketLife, which creates products using photoimaging technology to make photo books, DVDs, and other gifting products hyperlinked through FieldHaven’s website portal.
Art 4 Critters (A4C)
FieldHaven receives a percentage of sales revenue from local artist Ann Ranlett and other A4C member artists for art sold through a link on FieldHaven’s website.
The FieldHaven Group
A newly-formed health consultant business, started by FieldHaven co-founder and Board Member Joy Smith, provides on-going contributions from gross sales and employee salaries. FieldHaven expects to receive revenue in 2008.
Caribbean Cruise Fundraiser and Raffle – Fall through Winter 2007
Booked through Goldrush Getaways, CST 2055171-40, by Board Member Sharon Kurth, the six-night Western Caribbean Cruise aboard Radiance of the Seas, Royal Caribbean International Cruise line, was arranged as a fundraiser to benefit FieldHaven. The ship set sail in February 2008 for ports of call including Ft. Lauderdale and Key West, Florida; Conzumel, Mexico; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; and Montego Bay, Jamaica. One of the ocean-view cabins was released as the raffle’s grand prize.
FieldHaven netted $1,535 from the event and designated the proceeds for the Susan Gardiner Memorial Building Fund to replace its shelter.
Holiday Fundraising Partnerships – Winter 2007
FieldHaven raised money from donation canisters placed near cash registers in local retail establishments. The Book Cellar in Lincoln donated 10% of the store’s total gross sales on December 21 and 22 to FieldHaven. Internet business partners Amazon and Café Press donated a portion of sales back to FieldHaven for FieldHaven logo items.
How You Can Help
Fundraising Partnerships (New in 2007)
Internet-based retailers Visan and Rocketlife, who provide custom-made digital photo gifts, prints, and albums, will donate a percentage of sales to FieldHaven.
Gifts of Appreciated Stock
Giving stocks and bonds to help FieldHaven fund programs can dramatically reduce your tax bill while helping us to improve the lives of stray and feral cats.
Leave a Gift to FieldHaven in Your Will or Living Trust
By including FieldHaven in your will or in a living trust, you create a powerful legacy that will protect stray and feral cats for years to come. FieldHaven has information you may request to discuss with your attorney.
Host a Third-Party Fundraiser
Many companies allow you to designate a favorite charity to receive a donation based on your referral to their business or by marketing their products, such as in-home party sales.
Monthly Giving Program
Donations are the lifeblood of any tax-exempt non-profit organization and FieldHaven is no exception. By joining our monthly giving program, you can make life better for stray and feral cats every day. Your monthly gift may be made via credit card or electronic funds transfer.
Sanctuary Sponsorship (New in 2007)
You can directly sponsor one of our permanent sanctuary felines by name or sponsor our Sanctuary Program in the name of a loved one, favorite pet, or your business.
Tribute and Memorial Gifts
Honor a special person or animal companion by making a tribute gift in his or her name to FieldHaven. Your honoree will be notified of your contribution with a personal card from FieldHaven and will receive a subscription to our newsletter for one year. With a memorial gift, we will send a sympathy card to the person you designate, noting a special gift was made in remembrance. If you want to make a more lasting and public gesture, custom-designed memorial tiles can be created to honor a loved one and be placed in FieldHaven’s memorial park.
Weddings, Birthdays, and Other Special Occasions
You can suggest guests give to your favorite charity instead of buying presents for that special occasion.
Our supporters and volunteers are designating FieldHaven as a “write-in” beneficiary to receive monthly donations through workplace giving programs. The Annual California State Employees Charity Fund Drive is one example where this is working. FieldHaven welcomes opportunities to extend this convenience to others working for non-state employers.
Vehicle Donation (New in 2007)
You can now donate your old, unwanted automobile, boat, or RV to help the animals. Running or not, your vehicle can be of value to us. Check our website to contact The Car Program, LLC, FieldHaven’s contracted third-party agent that tows your car, boat, or RV from any designated location on behalf of FieldHaven.
For more information about the ways you can help FieldHaven continue to make the world a better place for stray and feral cats, please contact FieldHaven Board President Joy Smith at (916) 434-6022 or by email at [email protected]
Adoption Fees: $23,518
Total Income: $95,437
Animal Expenses: $61,619
Business Expenses: $6,220
Occupancy Expenses: $6,836
Total Expenses: $114,366
This is a partial, unaudited presentation of the financial statements of FieldHaven Feline Rescue. The entire financial statements are available upon request.
We wish to recognize the following businesses and individuals who have contributed to FieldHaven’s success in 2007:
Bob & Barbara Artigo
Erin & Payton Botcher
Robert & Cynthia Cooper
Donna & Angelo Gianni
Sherry & Jeff Greenberg
Donald & Bonnie Grimm
Stephan & Jessica Holmes
Melody Lea Lamb
Norma & Katie Loretz
Mary Ann McCormick
Sylvia & Alan Michaud
Corinne & Christopher Nielson
David & Georgia Ramm
Deborah & Charles Rockwell
Elgar & Barbara Stephens
Linda & Esko Tanhola
Moonine & Darryl Walker
Jo Ann Wray
Jay & Jeanne Zincke
$50 – $99
Barbara Jo Allen-Basye
Frank & Dianna Amos
Paul & Jan Apfel
Ethel & Dean Davis
Garry & Arlene DeBoer
Robert Deetz, Jr.
Penny & Denny Dougherty
Ellen & John Fandetti
Jul & Andrew Farrell
Girl Scouts of Tierra Del Oro
Kathryn & Craig Gregory
Craig & Sany Harington
Dick & Denise Hunt
Madeleine & Bill Jackson
Alex & Jason Jahn
Ed & Nancy Keyton
Barry and Helen Mackintosh
Libbie & Charles Miller
Helene (Martell) & Dick Mischke
Elwood & Barbara Orr
Karol & Bill Pinn
Roy Campaign for the Community
Elizabeth (Susie) Williams
Michael & Patricia Zwack
$100 – $249
James & Janis Chimera
Jim & Lindsey Costigan
Janice & Curtis Covington
Diane Kash for Kids
Tom & Nanci Dias
Henry & Linda Dillon
Marshall & Jolene Elwood
Ted & Thelma Ferguson
Cydney & Jerome Gates
Kristin & Scott Gerard
Jennie & John Gill
Janice & Timothy Hubis
Terrald & Judy Johnson
Lynn & Wayne Keller
Mike & Connie Kempczynski
Meredith & Greg Kistler
Calvin & Dorcas Kokila
Susie & Martha Mason
Stephen & Carol Natcher
Charles & Susan Nelson
Tom & Phyllis Niekarz
Mary Ann Ogden
Vivian & Jim Skophammer
Allen & Judy Slusher
Norma & Tyler Smith
Lucy & Lowell Taylor
Larry & Maisy Thurmond
John & Doreen Vogeli
$250 – $499
Larry & Cheryl Crother
David & Beverly Johnson
$500 – $999
Bob & Kay Franks
Nancy & Kirk Hartwig
Northwest Classic Boats
D. & J. Quirarte
Mel & Jane Fischer
Frances & George Philip Quest
Business Partners & Sponsors
By Joy Smith
I remember clearly the day Dana came to FieldHaven. She was a bit underweight, very hungry, and confused. Her rescuers, Mike and Connie, found her wandering near the open space in Lincoln Hills. They tried, but could not keep her: their own elderly cat was just too crotchety to accept Dana into her domain.
A medical exam revealed Dana to be up there in years but healthy. We discovered she was declawed. All evidence that she had been cared for well – she had not been a homeless stray for long. As we so often do, we pondered how and why someone could just abandon an obviously well-cared for pet.
As Dana settled into FieldHaven, we discovered she had very definite opinions about a lot of things. She was not a lapcat, thankyouverymuch. Pet me, feed me, love me but keep my feet on the floor. She very simply did not “do” other cats, especially kittens. She very much intended to be the queen of her realm, and if the cat trailer could not be rid of every cat, then she simply was not going to stay there. She moved outdoors and the front porch became hers.
We quickly realized that Dana would be a FieldHaven sanctuary cat. At first, no one wanted to look at her because she was too old, too cranky, and too opinionated. Then, it became that no home would equal what Dana had here at FieldHaven, which really meant we all were captivated by her and couldn’t bear to part with her.
Even during the coldest, rainiest days, Dana remained on the porch. If someone brought her in, she would stalk the door until another, unsuspecting person opened it and out she ran. We finally accepted that and just gave up. Volunteer Bruce Valencia built her a “cabin” on the front porch that was lined with cozy blankets and heat discs. She was very happy, but then she discovered the horse barn. Ahhhh…the stacks of hay provided a really cozy bed and a lot more privacy. Her people, the FieldHaven volunteers, could come to her place to bring treats and other gifts. That’s where Dana lived for the rest of her life.
Each morning, she strolled across the pasture to follow whoever was emptying the full wheelbarrow into the manure pile after cleaning stalls. We scrambled to keep her out from under the horses’ feet because, after all, she was originally a suburban cat who had just discovered the rural life in her later years. She didn’t have the sense to realize those horses were much bigger than she was. On the other hand, maybe she knew something we didn’t because when Dana was around, those horses kept their feet planted firmly on the ground. Funny how that is…
I loved picking Dana up and burying my face into her hay-scented fur. I would tell her I loved her and she would purr in return for about 30 seconds, then it was “back down on the ground please.” Late in the Spring of 2007, Dana’s age began to take its toll on her and we did our best to make her comfortable until it became apparent that she was ready to make her journey to the Rainbow Bridge.
It was easy to be sad as Dana was laid to rest in the FieldHaven Memorial Park. Sad for us, but not for Dana. We would surely miss her following us around, asking for treats, giving that treasured head butt along with a rumbling purr. I would miss her trundling across the pasture with me, talking all the way. I would miss the smell of her fur as I buried my nose in it, but Dana had a terrific life here at FieldHaven getting just what she wanted, her way. She chose her ending day on this earth and we were there to ease the way for her.
Early into Dana’s stay at FieldHaven, a woman stopped by with a cat she’d rescued from being abused. She casually mentioned that she could communicate with animals and she “spoke” with a number of the animals here at FieldHaven, including Dana. Dana told her that she was afraid to be picked up because she had been cruelly dropped at one point in her life. Dana also told her that her “person” who she loved dearly had passed away. The family didn’t care about Dana and had just abandoned her as they emptied the home and sold it. A smile comes to my face when I think of Dana meeting her person at the Rainbow Bridge. That’s why I’m happy for Dana, not sorry for her.
Thank you to all of our supporters for making it possible for us to give Dana the special life she had here at FieldHaven in her senior years. With your help and support we can introduce many more Danas to FieldHaven.