This is a sad story. I don’t really like telling sad stories, but Hank was an amazing cat and I want people to remember him. Hank was transferred to our Vet Hospital from another shelter with significant injuries to both front paws. It looked as though his paws had been trapped somewhere as the tips of both feet where severely wounded. Some of his toes were missing and you could see some pieces of bone protruding from the wound. But it was really hard to know exactly what had happened to him and perhaps we would never know.
Dr Olivia examined Hank and gently cleaned his wounds. Hank loved the attention and sat contentedly allowing Dr Olivia do whatever she needed to do. Olivia carefully bandaged both of Hank’s front paws and gave him an antibiotic injection and some pain relief. The Nurse set Hank up in a comfortable, warm hospital pen with a bowl of delicious food. He was calm and relaxed, enjoying frequent pats from the Nurses and Volunteers. I kept checking of him too!
Olivia suspected that Hank would need part of his left paw amputated so the following day Hank’s front paws were x-rayed. The x-rays clearly identified the cause of Hank’s injuries; bullets.
The x-rays also identified the extent of Hank’s injuries. Hank had multiple fractures in both limbs. In some areas the bones were smashed and could not be repaired. If Hank’s injuries were limited to one limb we would have been able to amputate the leg and Hank would have recovered to live a happy life. But the damage to both limbs was beyond repair and Hank’s quality of life was our primary concern. It was with a very heavy heart that the decision was made to euthanise Hank on humane grounds.
As I was preparing this blog entry, I re-read all of Hank’s hospital notes and I think the notes written by Olivia when she first assessed Hank say it all… she started her entry with “Lovely cat” and ended the same entry with “This is a really lovely cat”. He was indeed. Hank was a really lovely cat and it is such a shame.
RSPCA Vet Nurse
So little Polly came into care and ended up in foster at my house. As mentioned before we have the critical care area- the bathroom- but once puppies start to recover we have the day recover area- a little veranda to the side of the house where puppies can look at the big dogs but not get bothered by them; get fresh air and are safe from the resident cat who has very strong opinions about any animal that ventures into her territory. So Polly once she began her recuperation spent some time out there.
After she was well enough to go to a new foster home I was going out to the veranda to clean it up when I heard rustling in the living room. It took me a while to work it out but it appeared I had 3 birds behind the gas fire place! I am guessing the nest had maintenance issues and had fallen down the chimney taking mum; dad and a baby with them. I had no idea I had birds nesting and so I had no idea what type of bird that needed rescuing or any real idea how to do it!
The fireplace looked pretty much intact to me. On closer inspection I found 2 gaps at the top of the heater but unfortunately I don’t think even Harry Houdini could have bent his arm to try and grab the bird. In desperation I lowered a towel in the hope the birds would use it as a ladder to get themselves out, imagine my surprise when it actually worked!!
I finally could see what I was rescuing- a blue faced honey eater. The bird flew around the living room making lots of squawking noise which I hoped was bird for “ climb up the towel you can escape”. It must have been because 2 managed to get out leaving 1 behind. This bird was smaller than the others and so I was guessing it was a fledging but it was not prepared to climb the towel.
I rang the RSPCA animal ambulance for some helpful hints and ambo Jo told me to get some wire, bend it and put a pillowcase around it in the form of a make shift net and see if I could bend the wire instead of dislocating my shoulder to get behind the fire place. Eventually this also worked and bird number 3 exited out the French doors.
But what was Polly’s role in all this? Well if I hadn’t taken her home she would not have been on the side veranda; If she hadn’t been on the side veranda it wouldn’t have needed cleaning ; if the veranda hadn’t needed cleaning I would not have walked into the lounge room..and my little feathered friends may have been there for ages.
I certainly have a whole new respect for our rescue officers who do this all the time- I also have an appointment with someone to make the chimney secure to prevent this happening again!
I’ve now been with the RSPCA for nearly ten years and this is the first time all our Queensland animal care centres have been full. And when I say full I mean FULL. This is particularly worrying as Christmas is fast approaching and we unfortunately get a lot of animals surrendered at the start of the Christmas holidays.
The situation is doubly frustrating because we’ve actually re-homed over two thousand more animals state wide than we had at this time last year and four thousand more than two years ago. RSPCA Qld now re-homes more animals than any other animal welfare organisation in Australia. The reason for this is that we’re now spending more time and money on working with dogs that have borderline behavioural and veterinary issues. Consequently they often spend longer with us before being available for adoption. More than ever now we’re also working closely with the different rescue groups. The extra effort is worth it for the animals but the downside is that we have animals waiting to come in to the care centres. We never want to get to the stage where we have to turn away an animal so we really need to find new homes urgently.
One of the most common reasons people give for surrendering an animal is the fact that their new landlord or body corporate has a “no pets” policy. (Approximately 25% of all adult dogs and cats.). Obviously we need more pet friendly accommodation and let’s be logical-if someone is taking good care of their pet there’s a good chance they’ll take good care of your property. Also a recent survey showed that pet friendly accommodation had a higher resale value than non “pet friendly” accommodation. In simple terms then we’re urging anyone thinking of getting a pet to make the RSPCA their first port of call. We’re hoping to rehome 1300 animals during November which would be a 26% increase on last year. You can check out available animals on www.adoptapet.com.au or visit www.rspcaqld.org.au and follow the adoptions links.Of course all RSPCA dogs and cats are de-sexed and micro-chipped.
With this in mind here are three examples of the hundreds of animals up for adoption. First of all meet Pepper the Pig (AID 721718) . She’s four months old and came to us in July when she was found lying on the road in very poor condition and very weak. Our ambulance picked her up and after some TLC she’s looking for a home.
Next up there’s Crystal a three year old Bull Arab cross. ( AID 733905) She was part of a cruelty case when she came in and was a bit timid. However she’s fine now and would love a new home.
Lastly there’s Michael the Domestic Short Hair cat.(AID 735 072). He’s one year old and came to us at the end of August as his owner had too many cats and was not allowed to keep any more. But don’t forget there heaps more that need homes. Nearly 700 to be exact.
Our Wildlife Hospital has been busier than ever. The combination of Spring and dog and cat attacks has seen native animals taking a hiding. As per normal Wildlife nurse Maddie has been busy helping to bring new life into the world. Known affectionately as our ‘egg lady’, Maddie currently has several Ibis eggs in her incubator at home. They were found by a spotter catcher doing clearing at Chermside on Brisbane’s north side. They came in with four older Ibis babies. The older ones were vet checked, then sent to Pelican and Seabird Rescue for care. The eggs and the neonate will remain with Maddie, who is still incubating the eggs and will raise the chicks. When they’re old enough, they will go to another carer who will get them ready to be released back to the wild. Maddie is having a very successful year with eggs!
This year I was honoured to be nominated for BMag’s Person of the Year award. As I pointed out to the magazine there were scores more deserving people within the RSPCA than me. I’m just the twit that gets on the radio. Anyway the award presentations were this week. I didn’t win of course but my wife Cecile and son Liam and I were thrilled to meet Li Cunxin, who wrote the wonderful book Mao’s Last Dancer and is currently Director of the Queensland Ballet. I also caught up long time friend Chris Adams from 4BC and my old mate Stefan. I’ve still got the set of golf clubs he gave me back in the mid eighties! It was a fun night.