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Saturday Salt in the Wounds – Giving Up a Pet

July 30, 2016


I came across something today that hurt my heart. First, let me give you some background. It’s a long one folks, so grab some snacks.

I was a teller in a Toledo, OH bank 7 years ago when a customer came through the drive-thru in tears: a litter of cats had shown up in her apartment complex’s parking lot and one by one the kittens were being picked off by raccoons. She begged the staff to help her home them and that night I went and picked up a little blue-eyed baby to call my own.

Tucker was the second cat that was all my own. He was named after his habit for falling asleep without notice, dropping his head back with an open mouth. I felt only love when I looked at him.

My first baby, Peter, hissed for a day or two and then started pulling him under his wing. They were close. 

Around 6 months later, Tucker started acting crazy. His eyes would shift rapidly, he was terrified of his own shadow, and he started deconstructing my apartment and belongings little by little, having accidents all over the house. I fought with landlords, had to replaces thousands of dollars of material items and doubled that cost with medical fees (Eastern + Western medicine, acupuncture, anxiety medication, special diets, vets out of state, specialists). At one point, he ran a fever that resulted in a vet urging me to put him down. I held him and cried in the same room that my childhood cat was laid to rest after a horrible fight with cancer, begged the vet to do an IV overnight and he survived. 

I thought about finding him a new home, but I shuttered at the idea of what would happen to him with less patient future owners. Would he be thrown on the street upon his first accident? Brought to the vet to be euthanized so young?

I was bullied time and time again to give him up. People joked about taking him out back, dropping him at “the farm,” leaving the door open, and I’d immediately get defensive. I’d stick up for a cat that no matter how much love I gave him, he didn’t love me back.

Finally, a vet in San Diego suggested we get a third cat. It seemed backwards to add to the issues we were having, but I was desperate, and so we added Sweet Dee to the family. The vet was right — within weeks, Tucker was a brand new cat. He was sweet, caring, and even spent time sitting in the same room with us every once in awhile. We really saw him turn a corner.

A few months later I watched as a cat that resembled Peter ran towards a car in front of our home. I grabbed him and kept him safe in our garage. My husband plastered posters all over the neighborhood the next day while I was at my own bridal shower. A neighbor called and let us know that the woman who lived nearby threw the cat out because she was pregnant and no longer wanted him. I felt so bad for the fluffy boy and decided to keep him until we could find him a home. We lovingly named him Foster while we were “fostering” him. 

Within weeks, Tucker had reversed all of his progress. He constantly shook around the clock, ran like hell when you’d talk to him — he acted like he had been abused. It was bizarre since I had been with him nearly his entire life. Every day it hurt me to look at him and see how much he hated his life. It wasn’t a hunch, I knew it.

When Fox was born I never reconsidered. His birth was not part of the equation of Tucker’s home in my mind, and Fox has always loved his furry friends. He’s good to the cats, never pulling their fur or abusing them. He gives them kisses and pets them softly. They guard him with everything they have.

Peter and Fox taking on LA

Peter and Fox taking on LA

We downsized quite a bit when we moved to LA which put the pressure on to find a home for Foster. A friend of Tyler’s from college was specifically looking for a rescue to bring in and Foster couldn’t be happier with him. I honestly don’t think he misses us at all — haha. 

We brought Tucker with us. His name was on our lease, we paid for him to be here. As soon as he stepped foot in the tiny apartment I could see the horror in his eyes. He hated the cats, he hated us, he hated his surroundings. 

I did my due diligence researching where to go next. I talked to friends who work in the rehoming and veterinary fields, spoke with volunteers at various shelters, and put together a plan that I felt was best. If you take away one thing from this post, please let it be how much I care about Tucker. I cried for days coming to the realization that Tucker did not want us anymore, and that’s really what it was. 

We brought him in to a place that we were promised would be his best chance. He’s beautiful, “easy to rehome” they said. Tyler brought him when I couldn’t bear it and let them know if there was any word if they would be putting him down to please call him, we would take him back and fight harder than ever to find him a home. They said that’s not possible, but they could call us after he’d been euthanized. I knew in that instant we had made a mistake.

I talked to Tyler every day about Tucker, wondering if he had been adopted or not, and checked on the Facebook page of the shelter we brought him to. Today I saw it — a post that said he was adopted. I was over the moon! But then I checked the description. After such a thorough conversation between Tyler and the shelter, noting what home we hoped Tucker would be placed into for his best interests and explaining his delicate mental and physical state, the shelter posted him for adoption labeling him as the cat who was thrown away because of a human baby.

I cried. Not only did they simplify the reason to something that simply wasn’t true, but they didn’t disclose any of his underlying issues — instead claiming that he was damaged from being cast out by an undeserving family. Heartbreaking. 

How ironic that we had rescued a cat from an owner with a new baby for four years before finding his forever home, only to be labeled as that person years later under completely different circumstances.

It took awhile to swallow what I had just read and the hateful comments that followed. When I wrapped my head around it all, I wrote the shelter a message. I asked if there had been a misunderstanding and explained my feelings about the slanderous message. They read it and ignored it — ignored my feelings, the truth, the message that’s still at the top of their feed pouring salt in the wounds of my broken heart from having to part ways with a cat I loved (and still love) for 7 years. 

I’m not really sure what I’ll do from here. Perhaps I’ll let it go and be thankful that someone found Tucker, but for now I’ll use my blog as a little therapy corner to share my side of the story and try and sleep a little better tonight.

Feb-Fox-SB-Signature

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1 Comment

  • Reply Dominique August 1, 2016 at 12:23 am

    Awe Sarabeth, I am so sorry! I can imagine how hard that must be for you guys. I would be just as angry that the shelter felt the need to twist the story. I think maybe they just didn’t feel like explaining the situation to a potential new owner. I would say you not doing anything else is the right move. You know in your heart you loved Tucker. Maybe he felt a little jealousy toward the other cats or even Fox. Just remember you did nothing wrong. Hugs my friend.
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