Monday, July 4, 2011

Unplanned Parenthood--kitten edition

We have now entered the month of the San Francisco marathon! The whole reason I started this blog! And of course, my hope was (and still is!) that folks who support my running and like my writing will donate to my cause: Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. Because we're entering the final stretch, I am renewing my call for donations with a blog about unplanned parenthood in our household. But before reading--or just after--please please please click on the link above and give-- $5, $10, $20 whatever you can afford. Every little bit counts.

We really didn't plan on this. I wasn't sure I wanted anymore kids. I'm so busy with work, and of course, marathon training takes time--I mean, I got up at 4:30 a.m. this past Wednesday to get in 22 miles before I taught at 9:50. So I've been telling everyone this was all my husband's idea. Which it was...except I guess it takes two. My husband had been talking about more kids (to play with our current pariah-child, Thea) for the last couple of weeks. He'd been searching around and making me look at pictures online, catching me when I said "oooh, so cute!" In the end, I saw the baby that needed a foster home. What the hey, I thought. We can do this. It's a trial run, just fostering. So I went to the shelter to pick up "Willa" (now known in our home as Skidmark). And of course I came home with two babies. In addition to Skidmark, the 4-week old baby, they gave me another 5-week old kitten who needed socializing (Oh sorry. Yes, we're talking cats and dogs here).
Grey Baby

Apparently Skidmark had come into the shelter with 18 other kittens who were so unhealthy and pathetic that they were put down. Skidmark alone was deemed "adoptable" because of her markings and personality. Grey Baby also was a lucky save. She came in as a stray, and because of her looks, she too was allowed to live and given the opportunity to become a socialized human companion.

This kind of favoritism is nothing new. Black dogs are less likely to get adopted than yellow labs or golden retrievers. Older cats are less likely to find homes than kittens. Special needs animals are even less likely to be adopted. And the same holds true for human young. Bob Barker always ended the Price is Right with a plea to spay and neuter pets. It's the responsible thing to do to keep pet populations down, and in the end, save animal lives. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that four million cats and dogs are put down every year. That is one fuzzy every eight seconds. The majority of these are offspring of humans' pets. Humans of course, have the mental faculties to choose whether or not and when to reproduce. But not every human being has the financial or educational resources to actualize their choice. Planned Parenthood doesn't tell people to not have kids or permanently sterilize anyone.  People aren't pets. But PP does provide the resources to help potential parents (ie: any fertile human being) make decisions that may keep unwanted babies from being made in the first place.

Grey Baby plays
Thus, last Monday Skidmark and Grey Baby entered our mostly quiet home. In the past week it has been so enriching to watch them learn and gain confidence. We've watched them learn to play by mimicking our actions. While Skidmark just wants a mom--she is constantly climbing all over whoever is around--Grey Baby hid for the first two days. Both babies came to us super hungry, which we put to our advantage. We fed them 3-4 times a day, and for Grey Baby, we would hold a fork with food on it and pet her while she ate. She began to play with us, but she was still wary of being touched. Skids on the other hand...she still can't get enough love.

Yesterday we went out of town for an overnight. When we came back, both babies were a little sick from some preventative antibiotics they have been taking. Skidmark earned her name doubly, and little Grey Baby had had explosive diarrhea around the bathroom where they are sequestered. We both felt like "real" parents when we arrived home to that scene around 11 pm and stayed up another two hours to clean them and comfort them after some serious baths and scrubbing. I cradled Grey Baby after she had been force-fed her meds and had her behind wiped. But when Grey Baby looked up at me with her big grey eyes, her total need and total trust was clear. She made no effort to leave my arms. And all day today, she, like Skidmark, has wanted to be with mommy. Maybe we'll end up being their "real" parents, maybe not. But I feel good knowing that we are helping them learn to trust and love people again.


Did you donate yet? If so, THANK YOU! If not, why not? Thanks!

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