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Rescues #1-7 – Our California Animals

Following is a compilation of posts from the Greg Fund Facebook page, October 11-16, 2017.

 

#1 – Sticky (1985-2004).

stickySo named because she was clingy with people she liked, Sticky became Greg’s and my first companion animal, a few weeks after our October 1992 wedding. Sticky had been living with other members of Greg’s family who were not able to properly care for a cat – and so we stepped in. Sticky lived with Greg and me at our first home in Redondo Beach CA, and then in the San Francisco Bay Area when we lived there from 1993 through 2001. When we moved to the Washington DC area in 2002, we drove cross country with Sticky and three other cats we had by then adopted. She lived to the ripe old age of 19, finally succumbing to multiple ailments in McLean VA.

#2 – Moppet (c.1981-1999).

moppet (1)Greg and I found Moppet in 1993, shortly after we moved to our first little rental apartment in San Francisco. She was sitting calmly in front of a fire station near our home, and nobody at the station seemed to know where she had come from. She was a tiny thing, and I named her after a favorite Beatrix Potter character. We assumed she was a kitten, but when we took her to the vet, he laughed and said “this is an old lady!” Well, Moppet had to have a number of teeth pulled, but otherwise she was in good physical condition – and was one of the sweetest animals we ever had. She lived with Greg and me for six years at our three homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, finally succumbing to kidney disease on my birthday in 1999. Moppet was the first animal Greg and I lost together, and I still remember that night when our favorite vet euthanized her. “You have an angel now,” she said.

#3 and #4 – Rumpuscat (left, c.1994 – May 11, 2009), and Growltiger (right, c.1994 – Oct. 10, 2009).

GrowlRumpusIn the summer of 1995, Greg’s office happened to be just down the street from the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA in Burlingame, CA. One day, he insisted that we stop in “just to look”. We were still renting at the time, and already had two cats. I was sure we couldn’t handle more. But Greg had discovered a pair of young male purebreds – a Himalayan then named Bongo and Siamese named Mocha, who had been turned in by their first human guardians when they discovered they were allergic to cats. And the next thing I knew, we were completing an adoption application and asking our landlady’s permission to have a total of four cats in our 900-square-foot Palo Alto cottage.

The landlady gave her permission. We decided on new names from the T.S. Eliot Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats: the Himalayan would henceforth be Rumpuscat, and the Siamese Growltiger. Growltiger went home with us that very night – and slept on the pillow between our heads. Rumpuscat had to be neutered first, but we took him home a day or two later.

Rumpuscat and Growltiger moved with us later in 1995 when we purchased our first house in San Francisco, then on to McLean VA in 2002, to New York in 2006, and back to Arlington VA in 2007.

Rumpuscat was outgoing with all people, and doglike in many ways. When we had guests for dinner, he would find an empty seat and rest his chin on the table while we humans ate and talked.

Growltiger, I can still say to this day, was probably my very favorite of all my animals of any species. He was shy with most visitors, but absolutely devoted to me – and clearly the leader and protector of all the other cats who lived with us over the years.

The pair died a few months apart in 2009 – Rumpuscat of complications from a heart condition, and Growltiger apparently of lymphoma. Oh, how Greg and I cried together over those twin losses! I like to think that now, they are all together again.

#5 – Ferdinand (c.1996 – Oct 1, 2010).

ferdieBack in our innocent San Francisco days in the summer of 1999, Greg and I were grief-stricken by the loss of our first cat, Moppet.

We decided that the best action we could take for ourselves and for animals was to adopt another needy cat. Grateful as we were to the non-profit veterinary facility and adoption center Pets Unlimited (now merged with The San Francisco SPCA) for the care they had given our Moppet, we decided to adopt another cat from them.

“Mr. Socks”, approximately three years old, captured my heart immediately when he came to the front of his cage to greet me. When I learned that he had served for over a year as the facility’s main blood donor kitty, and that he was the only cat who would tolerate his cage being placed next to a dog’s, I knew he was the one. I still remember the adoption coordinator happily shouting out to her colleagues “Mr. Socks is going home!”

I renamed him Ferdinand, after a pacifist bull who was among my favorite characters in literature.

Ferdinand (“Ferdy”) lived with Greg and me for the duration of our San Francisco years – and then traveled cross-country with us to McLean VA, New York City, and back to Arlington VA. He became fast friends with our other cats, and was one of a trio Greg dubbed my “three boyfriends” because they insisted on sleeping next to me in bed every night.

In September 2010, Ferdy abruptly stopped eating, and was diagnosed with carcinomatosis. Greg and I did our best to pursue treatment through our Northern Virginia specialist vet – but ultimately determined that euthanasia was our best option. Ferdy died in our arms on October 1, 2010.

#6 and #7 – Fox (c.1999- Jan. 22, 2014) and Dana (c.1998 – Sept. 27, 2010).

2004.08.withFoxandDanaOn July 4, 2000, Greg and I were living in a small San Francisco house with four cats, and we had decided it was time to add a dog to our family. So we looked on Craigslist and saw that Home At Last Rescue was seeking foster homes for border collie puppies. We thought this could be a perfect way to ease in! So we called, and got a foster home address in Berkeley to go see those border collie puppies. And what did we find? A yard full of a dozen big adult dogs, no border collies and no puppies anywhere to be found.

The foster person pointed to one pair in particular, about 80 pounds each, who had just been picked up from the street eating out of garbage cans. “These two really need a home,” she said. This was obviously a bait-and-switch, but Greg immediately appreciated that it was a clever way to serve a higher purpose, and immediately agreed to take the dogs. We drove Fox and Dana home in our little sedan. We hadn’t even bought bowls or leashes or anything. And for a long time they behaved like the street dogs they were – they snarled at every other dog they passed, escaped from our yard, and chased kids on skateboards.

But somehow, little by little, they mellowed and we made it work – these dogs lived with us in San Francisco, and then traveled with us to Virginia, New York City, and back to Virginia.

Dana was with us for ten years, and Fox for over 13 years. And now Greg and Fox and Dana are all together again.

~Alysoun


  • The Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund is dedicated to Greg’s passion for animal rescue, veganism, and wildlife conservation.

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