DASF is excited to offer a new feature that includes personal stories of area residents and their rescue animals. Our first story is offered by our new column editor, Lilia Chavez Bynum. Lilia’s story of adoption rings true to all who have gone through the process of adopting after hitting a rough spot in the road. While recovering from health issues, she notes, “I needed something in my life to mark the month of February besides it being the anniversary of my surgery and the worst time of my life. Cats and dogs have been pets in my family since I was a little girl. At this point in my life, I needed a pet that would be mostly quiet and easy to care for and a cat fit that bill.”
Adopting Oscar: A Journey through the Adoption Process
by Lilia Chavez Bynum
A few of my friends volunteer at the Denton Animal Shelter on 300 South Woodrow Lane in Denton, Texas. They consistently post photos on Facebook of the cutest cats and dogs from the shelter. Occasionally, I would forward a photo to friends or family who had mentioned wanting to adopt a pet. And then one day in January, a feline named Oscar appeared on Facebook. I fell in love. I immediately drove to the Shelter and worked with the fine staff to adopt my “Furever Friend.”
Adopting from the Denton Animal Shelter was pleasant, easy, and affordable. The Denton Animal Shelter Foundation raises funds to support the Shelter and sometimes to subsidize adoption fees. The fees cover the costs to neuter or spay, microchip, and provide other shots and treatments. The half price special in February had fees at $60 instead of the usual $120 fee for cats and kittens. After signing the paperwork and paying the adoption fee, I was homeward bound to prepare for Oscar’s arrival. The Shelter also gave me a bag of cat coupons and treats.
Since all Shelter animals have to be neutered or spayed, they couldn’t release him to me that day. I was instructed to pick him up from the vet after his surgery the very next day. With my new cat carrier in tow, I arrived at the vet. They gave me a list of things to check with regards to his surgery, a small rabies vaccination medallion to attach to his collar, and instructions for registering his microchip online. Should he ever become lost and arrive at a shelter, the staff would then be able to scan him for a microchip and contact me. There was also a two-week follow up visit to the vet at no charge.
When we arrived home, I took Oscar to his room (my office) and closed the door. I had set up a box and purchased a soft cat bed for him, but he never used it. He instead ran under the bed and slept there with an old towel. I set out a small kitty litter box that he already knew how to use. His food and water bowl were also kept close by. He wouldn’t play with the toys we got him but he did like ribbons and wadded up sheets of paper. We kept him in that room for several weeks until he became comfortable with his surroundings and us. Then one day, I left the door to his room open so he could explore his new home. Now, he is King of the castle and His Highness follows me wherever I go.
Oscar has made me very happy. He loves to cuddle when we watch TV and he loves to “help” me make up my bed in the morning. Pedro, another Tabby kitten, joined our family four months later when he was just one month old. With both of our human children grown and living on their own, my husband and I are settling into a very easy routine with our furry friends, Oscar and Pedro. Thanks to the Denton Animal Shelter and the Denton Animal Shelter Foundation:
Our house is a very, very, very, fine house
With two cats in the yard
Life used to be so hard. Now everything is easy ‘cause of you
(Song lyric by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
– Lilia Chavez Bynum
A few tips to keep in mind if you, like Lilia, are thinking about or have decided to add anew cat or kitten to your home. First, visit the Denton Animal Shelter and continue to check out our Facebook postings at http://www.facebook.com/DentonASF. Second, do some research before bringing home your new kitty. For example, some good practices include:
Place cat in his/her own room where he/she will feel safe.
Include litter box, toys, water & food.
A place to “hide” is good… Under a bed, etc. Cats feel safer when they are “enclosed.”
Be sure to pay attention to existing pets, as they will feel “displaced.”
For other great tips, see http://www.tuftscatnip.com and be sure to check back with our website often!