News and views of Chicago's animal rescue community and supporting businesses

I grew up with cats in the house. Throughout the years we had a variety of indoor-outdoor kitties that shared our bed and our love. I was sad each time one of them went on to the rainbow bridge. But, that didn’t really prepare me for the first time I had the life of a cat held in my hands as an adult.

Wedge lost his battle with parvo on Saturday.

Rhett the Wonder Cat was 15 when he came down with what appeared to be a bladder infection in April. He recovered but  started to present symptoms again in July. We made many trips to the vet getting few answers until we finally switched vets and were referred to Vet Specialty in Buffalo Grove. By the time we brought him in, it was too late. They couldn’t save him. When I called my husband from Vet Specialty to let him know how much it would cost if we tried to save him – he said – “I don’t want to know, do what you can.”

Fast forward to three years later, Rhett’s sister Scarlett had just had a good check up the previous week when she started to vomit on Sunday. She could keep nothing down. I rushed her to the vet Monday morning and they ran a series of tests. Her blood pressure was through the roof. Her heartbeat, very irregular, they gave her fluids started working on a diagnosis and sent her home with me.

Solo is also battling Parvo.

When I went to pick her up from the vet that night, they told me it was very likely Scarlett, at 18, wouldn’t make it through the night. (Her vet bill was also very high.) Her best bet was to go home with me and be loved and cared for like I always cared for her…If she made it, we would take it day by day. Our girl pulled through and each day ate more and more. She was diagnosed with Inflamed Bowel Syndrome and put on a range of medications for that and high blood pressure. She not only made it through the night, but lasted for another year and five days before her body gave out at 19 1/2.

When Rhett died, I was heartbroken. But, I felt so much worse because he was my baby, my rescue and I felt deep down that I should have gone to a different vet much earlier – I trusted the guy we were with. One of my friends took me aside many months later to remind me the loving, spoiled life I gave this once homeless kitten. It made me feel a bit better – on some days.

When we rescue an animal, we take them in, love them, and do what we can to give them a long healthy life. I’m thinking a lot about Rhett and Scarlett the past week as I pray hard everyday for a group of dogs I’ve never met fighting parvo at Animal Care Center in Chicago.

A wonderful group of rescuers – Trio Animal Foundation and Project Rescue – took responsibility for these dogs. Now, as they face overwhelming vet bills, they are doing what they can day after day to try right by these puppies. I can’t image what it’s like to be in their shoes but I get where this dedication comes from – they rescued these dogs, they are doing what they can.

TAF has seen the worst of what humans can do to animals and worked to rescue and rehabilitate pets no one else would go to bat for. We all should have someone like that in our corner.

The sad part about this story is that Antlers puppies were almost home – they’d been rescued, loved and were about to be put up for adoption. When TAF got the bad news about the Parvo last week, they did what I did, told the vet to work to save them and then went on overdrive trying to find the funding to help. They knew what the costs were, they’d just save several other dogs from parvo as well.

Here’s what you can do – keep praying. Modern veterinary medicine is wonderful, but I’ll never underestimate the power of prayer. Donate – there’s a chipin set up to help the puppies. Stop by the fundraiser – There is a fundraiser for TAF at Franklin Tap on Wednesday. Here’s the link to the details and my story.

Note – Army, the little dog in the last photo, died Tuesday afternoon.  Solo is still hanging on.

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