Five little kitties….sitting in a row….

Wow!  Our little group continues to grow in leaps and bounds!  As of this morning, we are 484 members strong!!  Who knew there were so many crazy cat people out there???

Of course, with continued growth, there are continued learning experiences.  We’ve added admins to the group to help facilitate all the activity and keep things running smoothly.  There are fifteen of us working diligently behind the scenes to make your URRKN experience a wonderful one.  We are from all parts of the county, so you can pretty much count on at least one of us being available to you throughout all times of the day if you have questions.  Keep in mind, however, that we do have outside responsibilities, although we would love to be able to dedicate ALL of our time to this amazing work.  (Anyone know who has that winning PowerBall ticket?!?!)

We currently have FIVE transports pending!  FIVE!!  How amazing is that??  We have two admins dedicated to each transport; working tirelessly to coordinate our fabulous voluteers in an effort to get these kitties home.   Unfortunately, though we have soooo many members now, we still have some big gaps in some parts of the country.  A few of these kitties are still sitting and waiting for their transports to come together because we don’t have enough drivers along their route.  If you’re not already part of our group – come and join us!  If you are already a part of our group, but have some friends out there who haven’t jumped on the train yet, send them our way.  Maybe YOU can be the missing link in some of these transports.  http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/groups/URRKN/

Something else the admins work hard at every day is keeping the URRKN page a happy place for our members to visit.  In order to do that, we have established very specific posting guidelines for what goes on the wall of the main page.  We know that everyone who has found their way to our page loves kitties (you wouldn’t be here if you didn’t).  We also know that everyone here has a passion for saving kitties (so do we).  However, to many people,  the posts of pleas for help for kitties who are at risk are just too heartbreaking to see every day.  Many of us (me included) just cannot deal with the heartache that comes with knowing that for every one kitty that we might be able to help, there are thousands that we’ll never be able to reach.  I personally choose to stay away from the death row posts because one of two things is guaranteed to happen – I am going to end up with 100’s of cats and be featured on an episode of hoarders, or I am never going to leave my house again because I’m wallowing in the depths of my despair at not being able to help. 

Yesterday a wonderful woman named Catherine Bugg, a transporter just like us, lost her life while transporting a puppy.  While the story of the tragedy does not belong on our page, we did want to acknowledge her loss.  I’m posting a link to the article here, if you choose to read it: http://www.examiner.com/dogs-in-national/rescue-world-suffers-tragic-loss-with-morning-fatality#ixzz1m9I4W3jH  RIP Catherine, although I didn’t know you personally, your dedication to animals proves that you were an amazing person. 

I know many of you may think, “why not?  why doesn’t this belong on the URRKN page?  We just want to honor someone who does what we do.”  While we agree, Catherine’s memory and her work should be honored, we just felt that to allow a post that would elicit sadness (and possibly fear) would lead us down a slippery slope.  If we allowed this post to stay, it would open the door for other requests for sad posts.  Is it unreasonable to assume that there will never be any sadness in life?  Of course.  But is it unreasonable to have at least ONE place in our world where we know we can go to escape that sadness?  Absolutely not.  For that reason, we will continue to take the hard line on the “sad” posts and they will continue to be deleted (with a note to the poster from an admin when it happens).   We continue to encourage you to post pictures of your own kitties (we all LOVE to see kitty pictures) and other upbeat/optimistic items on the page. 

We have been humbled by the outpouring of love and affection from all of our members.  I know that I, personally, have gained many new Facebook friends through this page.  It’s wonderful to be in a place with other like-minded people (and not have people saying “it’s just a cat”).  With so many people in one place, with diverse personalities and interests, we’re bound to continue to have those times where we just are not going to agree on everything.  All I can ask is this:  if you find yourself in a situation where your feelings have been hurt or you just don’t understand why something happened,  please reach out to one of our admins.  We will do our best to work through things with you.  We don’t want to lose anyone over something that could have been avoided.  We love you all – you’ve become our family.

Thank you again for riding the LOVE TRAIN!  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7REahHuNQK8

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It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature…..

…and apparently the old biddy is pretty ticked off at me!  Most people who know me know that I am a sand, surf and sun kind of gal.  Not particularly fond of temps that fall below 70 degrees and not overly excited by falling white precipitation.  Not too long ago, however, I commented on my facebook page that I wanted some snow.  Here in the Northeast, we got hammered by a snow storm the weekend before Halloween, but then temps stayed above average and we went through Thanksgiving and Christmas with barely a flurry.  I guess I was going through some feelings of nostalgia or nesting or just plain crazy, but I was craving some snow.  Real snow, mind you, the kind that gives you an excuse to stay home from work, snuggle up with the kitties on the couch, watch movies and drink hot chocolate.  Yup, that’s what I wanted.  And that’s what I asked for in the very public forum of Facebook.  Mother Nature was obviously not amused by this beach bunny asking for snow because she decided to give it to me all right…tomorrow…when we’re supposed to be delivering Peanuts from his wonderful foster mom in Connecticut to his amazing furever mom in South Carolina.  And not just snow.  Oh no, Mother Nature is sending along some sleet and freezing rain with the snow.  Yikes!

So, now the transport is postponed until next Saturday.  None of us are happy about it, but we know that safety comes first.  Not only for the drivers, but for our precious cargo.  It’s not going to help Peanuts one bit if one of us has an accident trying to get him from one place to another.  He’s safe where he is, so we will all just have to be patient and wait until next Saturday.  (and we’ll have two transports taking place at the same time because Duke will be moving to his new home then too!)   I know that this is all for the best, but I just have to ask….Really, Mother Nature, Really?!?!?

So, stay tuned until next week when the adventures of both Duke and Peanuts will be posted!  In the meantime….Choo Choo, friends….Choo Choo!!

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

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