One warm May day, a woman walked into our Wellsboro clinic carrying a box. 4 years in shelter medicine had made me wary of all people carrying boxes into our building and I knew there must be an animal inside. She told us she had found this kitten under her porch and didn’t know what to do so she brought it to us. When I first looked in the box, my initial impression was that this kitten was not alive. He was laying so flat and he was so cold. I lifted him from his blanket and was rewarded with the tiniest squeak. My vet and I immediately went to work giving warm SQ fluids, dextrose to get his blood sugar up, a drop of antibiotics to start fighting the respiratory infection he had. I spent the rest of the day with him tucked in my bra to warm him up (seriously, best method for warming kittens). The girls that are our animal caregivers in the shelter asked if I thought he would make it. I told them that I honestly didn’t know.
All through the night and the next day, I fed him little bits of recovery food and milk replacer with a syringe. Every 2 hours at first, in an effort to get him going. Ava, my adopted dog, washed his face and snuggled him. I believe she was, like I was, willing him to live. 3 days after I first met him, he actually walked around his cage a little. His fourth night with me, he ate on his own. Now I have fostered enough kittens to know that things can still go wrong, but I was cautiously optimistic. A few days later and he was playing. I named him Ryker, which means strength.
Ryker continued to improve and in June, we hired a new receptionist in our clinic. I gave her three days to settle in before introducing her to Ryker. She may deny it, but it was pretty much love at first sight. I suggested she take him home, just for the weekend, as a favor to me. She claims I tricked her *wink.* That December, she brought that handsome kitty in for a Christmas visit. He was so handsome and had come so far from the cold, dehydrated little scruff ball that I was presented with on that Thursday in May.People often ask me, “Oh how do you do it? There are so many sad stories. How do you ever let go of your fosters?” The answer is simple. I’m in it for the outcome.
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East Smithfield, PA 18817
East Smithfield, PA 18817
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