Growing Pains

Growing pains are a part of life.  ALL parts of life.  (If you grew up in the ’80s, they may have also been a part of your weekly television viewing!!)  Anyway, I digress.

The Underground Railroad Rescued Kitty Network is a new group.  It was started by an amazing cat lover who was devastated by what happened to Jack the Cat in hopes that maybe, just maybe, there was a better way of getting kitties from Point A to  Point B.  Slowly but surely this group took off.  There were three successful transports that were organized and completed within the two weeks around the Christmas holiday.  As if pulling together a bunch of strangers wasn’t amazing enough, these folks took time out of their busy schedules at Christmas to help out other people.  All for the love of fur.

Last week I posted and we had somewhere around 104 members.  Today, there are 146.  That is fantastic!!  It’s also created some drama.  Because this group came together so quickly, we haven’t had time to really sit down and develop a “mission statement” or “group rules/norms”.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not criticizing.  I’m just stating a fact.  The group has been growing by leaps and bounds and we just haven’t had the time to really set everything up.  A silly little thing like ensuring three kitties got safely home kind of took up some time.  Oh, and an SUV crashing into our founders house.   Thankfully, noone was hurt at Tina’s house, but it’s a bit stressful there right now, I’m sure.  Tracy has stepped up and taken the reins to work with Tina to try to get some of the stuff in motion so we can avoid drama and hoopla in the future.  I will not recount the drama and hoopla here, because it’s really not relevant to the mission of our group.  The fact that it happened, however, prompted me to sit down and put this to cyberspace.

There are a few things I think we can all agree upon.  We are all cat lovers.  We all want to see all kitties have good, loving homes.  We all want to see them get to those homes safely.  Honestly, as a bunch of strangers drawn together by this crazy thing called facebook, I think that’s ALL we can say we ALL agree on.  

There are a bunch of things we may not agree on – what a good, loving home looks like is one of them.  We all have our own opinions of what it means to be a good pet parent.  Hell, we all have our own opinions on what it means to be a good people parent?  Why would we expect that we’d all agree on everything all the time with fur kids?  Just because someone may not agree with the food I feed my kitties or the litter I use in their boxes, doesn’t mean that they’re right and I’m wrong (or the other way around – because I’m always right, just ask anyone who knows me!! haha). 

My point is that sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own opinions and want to make sure we share them that we forget that there is someone on the other end who also has their own opinions who may be hurt by what we have to say.  And one facebook it’s worse – there is no way of hearing emotion, connotation or inflection.  They are just words on a screen.  But man, those words can do some damage when left to their own devices.  And one more thing I think we can all agree on is that not one of us wants to hurt someone else.  That’s not why we’re here.  We’re here to transport kitties.  To get them safely home.  We’re not here to force our beliefs on each other.  We’re not here to criticize each other for our beliefs.  We’re here to get kitties safely home.   To do that successfully, we are going to have to learn to check our opinions at the door.  Otherwise, feeling are going to get hurt and people are going to leave.  And that just leaves us with less people to provide safe transportation for kitties.

I want to see this group be successful.  With Tracy and Tina working hard to develop something that will go on the page to define exactly who we are and what we plan to do, I KNOW that we can be a great group that does amazing things.  We already have (just read the previous posts!)

Bear with us people – it will come together.  If you don’t like what you see when the final product is out there, feel free to move on and dedicate your time to something that more closely fits your vision.  That’s the beauty of facebook (and the world in general) there is something out there for everyone.  You don’t always buy the first pair of shoes you try on – and sometimes you buy them and return them because you find out they don’t match your outfit when you get them home.  It’s ok.  There will be no hard feelings. 

I’d like to wish EVERYONE a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year.  May you and your furbabies (and human families too) enjoy all that the New Year has to bring!!

PS – I should also point out that this may not reflect the opinions of everyone in the group – so if I’ve said something that you don’t particularly care for, please don’t take it out on the group ~ stef

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Sweet Home Alabama

You remember the beginning of this story, right?  It’s winter in Ohio.  Three beautiful little girls born to a feral momma.  One amazing rescuer trying to find them homes.  Cinders moved to Florida (she got there yesterday!).  Phoebe moved in with the rescuer (short trip, but well worth it!).  Sushi was still waiting for her fur-ever home.  Virginia posted this picture on December 23rd.

Deanna Kaye Kendall said “I am in love with that face.”  It all took off from there!  Now, think back…Deanna was visiting family in Kentucky.  She had already helped out with the transportation of Tinker earlier in the week.  She drove almost 300 miles to help Tinker get to his new home.  It was time for some of that karma to come back to Deanna.  (You HAVE to love karma!)

Yesterday morning (12/27), Virginia’s friend Chris picked little Miss Sushi Sassy Pants up in Akron and headed out to meet Deanna.  Around 12:15pm we got this great update “I have the sweet lil miss sushi sassy pants in my car 🙂  she gave me kisses when I was transferring her from Chris’ cat carrier to mine.  I am in absolute kitty LOVE!!!  Thank you Virginia!!!”  And she posted this picture

Deanna and Sushi headed back for Kentucky and then earlier today, they headed home.  Just after 10pm, Deanna let us all know that she and Sushi were home safe.  “Sushi is home safe…she is eating and getting to know Tank and Mysti. She’s not real crazy about the dogs bit hopefully she will warm up to them”  Clearly a smart kitten – she knows already that kitties rule and dogs drool!!!  (just kidding…sort of…we do hope that they will all get along soon enough!)

Now, Virginia had the cleverest of ideas – a way to keep all three sisters (and their new fur-ever families) connected.  A facebook page dedicated to these three precious Christmas miracles.   The page is called Sisters for Life. Check it out:  http://www.facebook.com/groups/152819051482832/?ref=notif&notif_t=group_activity#!/pages/-Sisters-For-Life-/265286836865090?sk=wall&filter=12

So excited for all three babies and their families.  And so grateful to all who were able to safely (and quickly) move these adorable little passengers through the Underground Railroad to their safe,warm and happy new homes!

Stay tuned for more updates.  Don’t forget to check out our facebook page (link on the blog or click here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/152819051482832/?ref=notif&notif_t=group_activity#!/groups/152819051482832/

Approximate kitty miles traveled:  736

On the Road Again….from Cinders to Sparkles

Yes, Virginia (Serra Gabriele), there IS a Santa Paws…and this is proof!

After spending a few days at Casa de Baumann in Delaware (including Christmas), Cinders hit the road with her travel guide Andrea on Monday, December 26th.  Destination….Casa de Keiner in Florida.  First, a stop in the heart of Dixie.  While in South Carolina, Andrea’s husband Joe posted this on Mama Deb’s facebook page “Cinders (Sparkles) is having a blast! I could see Sparkles as her name. She is in our hotel room in Manning,SC right now enjoying jumping in/out of the bathtub & meowing at us when we go into her territitory (bathroom). She is a pretty kitty & I love her two different eye colors. She is being delivered in Melbourne, FL tomorrow at approx. 3pm. Good night everyone, long day 4 everyone today. jb&ab” 

She’s getting so close, we’re getting goosebumps just thinking about her arrival!  Around 9am on Tuesday, December 27th, Andrea let us all know that they were traveling through Georgia in heavy wind and rain.  Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. (Maybe the Baumann’s should work for the USPS?!?)  Thankfully, around 11am, Andrea posted again saying that they were now in Florida and “kitty doing somersaults in carrier, playing with pom pom ball.”  I’m thinking at this point, Cinderkles (Cinders/Sparkles) realizes she is getting so close to home, she’s celebrating with some gymnastics!!

And then……it’s official!!!

Cinderkles is handed off to her new mommy and is officially now (and forever) known as Sparkles!  New mommy Deb posted around 4:30pm that Sparkles had checked out all the litter boxes in the house (even made a deposit in one!) and was playing with a spring toy in the living room!  It obviously didn’t take her long to settle in and make herself at home!  A true Cinder-ella story – this kitty now Sparkles in her new home-  just in time to ring in the New Year!  Happy 2012 little girl!!

Approximate kitty miles traveled – 1,459

All I Want for Christmas Is….

…all the kitties to have safe, loving homes.  And this year, Tinker has just that!!  Late Christmas Eve, Tinker arrived at his new home with his new mommy, Marti.  So, how did he get there?  Here’s how….

It was around December 11th and Kelly Pusskitty (yes, that’s a pseudonym) had rescued the teeniest, tiniest little black kitty and posted a picture.  Marti Eno KNEW that he was meant for her.

 

The Facebook wall of the Underground Railroad Rescued Kitty Network exploded with plans to transport Mr. Handsome Kittypants (or MHK, as he was then known) from Tennessee to New York.  The “transport doc” was created on December 13th and the plans slowly fell into place.

On December 20th, Kelly took MHK to get microchipped.  Poor little dude was a little afraid of what that meant.

Soon, he realized it was just a way to make sure that he would get home safe if something happened during his travels, and all was okay in his world again.

The big day arrived!  December 23rd, MHK was on the road!!  Deanna Kaye Kendall picked MHK up from Kelly and took him from Tennessee to Kentucky.  Here he is getting ready to hit the road!

Deanna handed MHK off to Noelle Blihgsne who took him from Kentucky to Ohio where he would be spending the night at Anita Gram’s “bed and breakfast.   According to Noelle, “he was a perfect gentleman.  He never even meowed, just purred and sat in my lap most of the way.”

Now,  Anita had the perfect plan for MHK’s night at her house.  Around 12:30am on Christmas Eve, she posted “Mr. Handsome Kittypants is safe and sound, chowing down in his own little ‘bed and breakfast’.”  And then….”the first visit I made to check on my guest, I found him sitting at eye level on the middle shelf of my etagere, little paw on his hip, impatiently tapping his little paw foot. He was not pleased. ‘Ms. Gram, do you know who you’re dealing with here? I am Mr. Handsome Kittypants and these isolated lodgings are not to my liking. I am accustomed to 24/7 attention and adoration and I wish to roam freely in this establishment to investigate all it has to offer and to garner the minimal amounts of lovin’ that I’ve become accustomed to! I’m not a happy kitty. What do you intend to do?'”  Oh boy!!  Now what?!?!?  Seeing how Anita has three furry children of her own, she knew that MHK would have to stay confined in his ow luxurious accomodations for peace in the home to be maintained.  In the morning she went to check on him and “I had no earthly idea of the challenge that awaited me. Mr. Handsome Kittypants had morphed into Mr. Handsome Hissypants and was awaiting me with the full arsenal of his discontent. Ms. Kelly Pusskitty had inquired as to whether anyone had fitted him with his harness so I ‘attempted’ to fulfill that bidding. That proved to be a tremendously wrong decision and made my star guest even more dismayed and determined to leave me permanently scarred as a reminder of my hosting failures! What ensued cannot be aptly put into words! Suffice it to say, I would have done well to have donned Sir Lancelot’s suit of armor!  It was time for Becca to call and I was now in a state of sheer panic; I was never going to successfully get the totally incensed Mr. Hissypants back into his carrier! I put out the call for reinforcements, my neighbor, rousing her from the deep slumber that a 2nd shift nurse should be allowed to enjoy … without having to start her day enbroiled in the wild antics of a totally out-of-control pussycat and a breathless, sweaty hostess failure! Before she arrived … SUCCESS! I won’t broach the subject of how that was accomplished; no physical harm to either party was incurred, but … it wasn’t pretty! I’m quite certain, too, that I was addressed with a few rather choice kitty curse words, the likes of which have never crossed my ears before!  With no time to spare, I quickly called Becca to announce our departure, and Mr. Picture of Sweet Innocence Kittypants now once again allowed me to speak to him without a barrage of abuse, and I even ventured to stick my digit into his carrier and ‘bop’ his nose without pulling back a bloody stub!”  MHK was successfully handed off to Becca Steinberg for the leg of his journey that would take him to his new mommy!!  Even after ALL of that adventure, Anita said “I’d still do it again … :)”  (Good to know, because hope to have many more kitties traveling and you never know when one might have to go through that part of Ohio again!!

So, it’s now Christmas Eve and Becca has MHK safely in her car, headed to meet Marti!!

It was around 5:30ish on Christmas Eve when Marti met MHK for the first time….Becca captured this shot

For the record, Marti LOVES this picture of the back of her head!! After making the transfer, Marti and her new furbaby headed for home.

Keep in mind, it was Christmas Eve, but almost all of the URRKN members were glued to their computers, tablets, smartphones and any other devices with internet access waiting for the first post from Marti after she and MHK arrived home.  And then it came!  Around 10:30pm (EST), Marti posted that she and Tinker (MHK’s new name) were home and that in an hour he had explored his new home, played with some toys, nommed on some food and was seeming to adjust pretty quickly.  YAY!!!  It was the news we were all anxiously awaiting!!  Just after midnight (Christmas Day!)we got our first glimpse of Tinker in his new digs

  I don’t know about you, but I think he looks pretty darn comfortable!!!  What a great Christmas present for both Marti and Tinker!

A great big thank you to Kelly, Deanna, Noelle, Anita and Becca!  Their generosity at what is probably one of the busiest times of the year – when traffic is at its worst and families are at their craziest – made all of this possible!

While Marti and Tinker enjoy their first day together, we’re still waiting (with baited breath) for Cinders to make the final leg of her journey to Florida and her new family!  Once she’s there, updates will be posted!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukah to all, and to all a Good Day!!

Choo choo!!!

 

Approximate miles traveled to get home: 834

We all have to start somewhere

We’re starting with Cinders.

Cinders has had a rough life…until now.  Cinders was born to a feral mommy and daddy in an area in Ohio where people discard their pets when they get tired of them.  A very kind lady that lives near the neighborhood where this is happening is doing her best to care for all of the forgotten pets.  She has transformed the outside of her home into a “kitty safe haven” and provides them with food and shelter.  You can check out the whole story here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/-Abandoned-Cats-Kittens-need-FurEver-Homes-Northeast-OHIO-/239835386084219

Anyway, back to Cinders.  Cinders and her two siblings (Phoebe and Sushi) have been hoping to find their fur-ever homes.  (by the way, as of right now, Sushi, the all white beauty is still looking for her fur-ever home!! Maybe it can be yours?)

On December 17, 2011, Deb Keiner posted on the URRRKN facebook page that she wanted to adopt Cinders, but would need some help getting Cinders home.  You see, Deb lives in Florida and Cinders was still in Ohio.  Immediately the Wall on the page lit up with offers of help!  “Plan A” was launched on December 18th, which would take Cinders from Ohio, through Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and eventually to Florida.  Plan A was starting to get very complicated, so on Decemeber 19th, “Plan B” was launched!  Plan B would take Cinders from Ohio to Pennsylvania to Virginia/Delaware and then to Florida.  Within two days, Plan B was finalized and Cinders was on the road!!!

On December 21st, Kitty Kress picked Cinders up from Virginia Serra Gabriele in Ohio (through all of this, Virginia and her family decided to adopt Phoebe also!) and drove Cinders to Pennsylvania where she met up with Jeannie Kollar-Harvey.  Jeannie then hit the road with Cinders to meet up with Andrea Baumann in Virginia.   As you can see, Cinders decided to help Jeannie make sure that she knew the right way to go!!

After Jeannie passed Cinders off to Andrea in Virginia, Andrea headed home to Delaware with her precious cargo.  From there, Andrea will be hitting the road and heading for Florida to meet up with Cinders’ new mommy, Deb!!  Here’s Cinders relaxing at Andrea’s house overnight. 

So, now this day before Christmas Eve, Cinders is preparing for the final leg of her journey.  Within the next couple of days, Cinders will be joining her new family in Florida!!  We will post more when Cinders gets home!!!

While all of this excitement has been going on, we’ve also been working on a transport for “Mr Handsome Kittypants”!  He is beginning his journey today from Tennessee to New York!  He should arrive tomorrow evening, just in time for Santa to arrive!!  The story of his journey will be coming soon!  Stay tuned!!

None of this would be possible without the kindness and generosity of a bunch of strangers who have now become friends.  Who could have imagined that the tragedy of Jack the Cat could have such a positive, powerful impact on so many lives??  While we’re celebrating the joy of two kitties getting safely to their fur-ever homes this week, let’s not forget to keep Jack, his mom Karen, his brother Barry and his sister Milly (that he, unfortunately, never got to meet) in our thoughts and prayers. 

Forever in our hearts

 

 

In the beginning…..

…there was a sweet kitty named Jack who got lost in an airport when his mom had to move across the country for a new job.  A facebook page was created (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Jack-The-Cat-is-Lost-in-AA-Baggage-at-JFK/143108332445793) and thousands of people came together just hoping for news that Jack the Cat had been found.  One day, our dreams came true – Jack was found!!  Sadly, just a week later, he succumbed to the injuries he suffered while he was missing.  We were all heartbroken.

Out of that tragedy, another group was founded….the Underground Railroad Rescued Kitty Network was born.  It’s goal?  To safely transport kitties from wherever they are to wherever they need to go.  This little group has grown to 104 people (as of today) dedicated to helping move kitties in the safest way possible.  Check out our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/152819051482832/ and consider joining us on our journeys!  We’d love to have you!!

ALL ABOARD!!!!!Image