Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Friday, December 7, 2007

"The Rescuers"--Far from a Disney Movie

Recently, we have been searching for a kitten. Who would have imagined that "kitten hunting" has become such an ordeal. There was a time when the bulletin boards at the grocery store were filled with desperate ads, like "FREE KITTENS". "Take them away today!" The postings were numerous. Every color, long hair, short hair, male or female, whatever your heart desired in a kitten, they were available on that bulletin board.

Then came the internet. With every new innovation comes a way to make a buck from it. It's the American way. I am talking about "pet rescues". Now, don't get me wrong, some of these "rescues" are legit. Some are sponsored by the MSPCA, a local vet, a qualified private individual, or sanctuary, but there are scores of others that are operated by individuals that are in it for the money. And, more important than money, they want control over you. Face it, when we are searching for a pet we are vulnerable. We want to give the furry creature a good home, food and lots of attention. The "rescuers" know this. So when we inquire about a kitten we have spotted on CraigsList we have already set ourselves up. "Yes, the kitten you are asking about is available. There is a $150.00 "re-homing fee" (CraigsList does not allow actual sales of pets).

$150.00 re-homing fee?? For a mongrel kitten with no papers? No matter though, we have already seen its photo, and we are hooked. The checkbook practically opens itself. Then comes the control. Once you are committed to "adopting" the kitten for $150.00, then comes the rules for adoption. The number one rule is you must promise to spay or neuter your new companion. OK, I understand the pet population explosion and all, but what if I want my kitten to have a litter later in its life for whatever reason? Sorry, no you can't, and if you do let this adopted cat have a litter, we'll come and remove the cat from your home as well as the kittens. "Send us the report from the vet" they demand in their written agreement with you.

Really. This is true. The rescuers will check on you. Another rule is you are never allowed to let your cat outside. Never. But what if you want a house and outdoor cat?


OK, a house cat it is, but what about your curtains, and furniture? What if decide to have the kitten de-clawed? Now, this is something I have a hard time with, but let's say you had no problem with it since the cat was going to be an indoor cat. Well, you can't do it. Nope. It's in the agreement. You can remove their testicles, but leave the nails alone.

I can't help but think that there is a distinctive female slant to these "agreements".

Another rule is that you must never give the cat away to anyone. If for some reason you cannot keep the cat you must give it back to the rescue to be "re-catted". "Nice older cat for adoption" the new ad will read. You cannot give the cat away to a family that you know is excellent with animals. No, that would mean a loss of control and revenue for the "rescuers".

Just ask Ellen DeGeneres.

There are other rules the "rescuers" have, and they vary with each one, and they all have to do with money and control.

Here's my advise, something I am trying to practice at this moment, don't use these people for adopting a new pet. Go through your local vet, most have a bulletin board in their office, a private party, or a local agency supported by the MSPCA.

There's nothing wrong with paying for a spay, or neutering if it has already been done, or to pay for a vet exam and shots, too. Just be careful not to sign away your rights as a pet owner and pay a small fortune to do so.

When I do find that kitten I've been looking for, it will be ours, no one else will have a say in how it is raised, unless they want to stop by the house daily and empty the litter box. Shoot, I'd have my uncle neutered if they'd come by and empty that box.

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