The Herald Bulletin

March 29, 2014

Maleah Stringer: Successful animal adoptions provide hope

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Little Mittens, the Torti polydactyl who lived in the cat sanctuary at the Animal Protection League, came to us with her mother in 2009. Her eyes weren't open the first time I saw her. I took both her and her mom home to foster. We started the 9 Lives shelter cat prison program in June of 2009. Mittens and her mom went to prison where they thrived.

There were initially 70 cats in the program at the Correctional Industrial Facility for the inmate / handlers to care for and keep socialized while the cats waited to hopefully be adopted. Unfortunately one year later we lost the space to a break company which would provide jobs for the inmates and money to the state. We were able to continue the program in the dorms for 30 of the cats. We had to find a places for the other 40; not an easy task when our shelter was already crammed full. We found several foster homes but 30 came back to the shelter to live in the free roam room and in my office. Mittens loved to sleep on my desk. Mitten's young adulthood was spent in my office with her prison buddies. Cat buddies, not men.

Then in June 2011 the no kill Cat Sanctuary was donated and filled with cats, 40 to be exact. Those cats were in cat heaven running up and down the stairs and looking out the windows. Through it all Mittens thrived. She was a little shy but affectionate. People thought she was beautiful and loved her extra toes but she always got passed over. Year after year.

We began to think she would live out her life with us. But after almost 5 years sweet Mittens was adopted. We are hearing that she is doing well in her new home where she is being spoiled rotten. Because of the cat sanctuary we have the luxury to allow these beautiful cats to live out their lives in the closest thing to a home we can provide in a shelter setting. People go out and sit with them for hours. They can go out on the little porch and enjoy the sun and the fresh air. As well as the bird feeders and bird bath we have provided for their feline entertainment.

We do not have the same luxury of time with dogs unless they are in a foster home. But still we have dogs who have been with us for quite some time waiting on a home. Brownie, a sweet senior pit mix had been with us since Oct. 4, 2013. She lived in a crate just off the lobby of the shelter where she got lots of attention and was a staff and volunteer favorite. She learned to stop by the table to get her treat every time she went outside. We posted her everywhere and begged rescues and potential adopters to take her. People thought she was sweet but no one took her, until last Friday. Brownie like Mittens is being spoiled. We got a picture of her lounging on a big fluffy couch like a little queen.

This is why we do what we do and what gives us hope.

Maleah Stringer is the executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at