Shaky starts to happy hearts |

Shaky starts to happy hearts

Katie Drucker
Eagle Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyJuno and Getty huddle together before they are rescued from a window well

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Animal lovers’ hearts ache for helpless critters who have survived despite unfortunate circumstances. But often, there are happy endings to desperate tales (and tails) of hardship faced by resilient creatures. Here’s some stories of shaky starts leading to happy canine and feline hearts.

On July 11 two tiny, 6-week-old black kittens were found, hungry and scared, cuddled up with one another in a window well near Eagle Motor Works.

Brandon Quinn, an employee of Eagle Motor Works called his wife, Char, who is the director of the Eagle Valley Humane Society. A rescue mission was launched.

“We took our time to get them in a positive way,” said Char.

When a crate containing food was lowered in the window well, one of the kittens ran inside. However, the other kitten was so scarred he would not move. Brandon had to get a ladder, climb down the well, and pick up the kitten.

“I didn’t want his first interaction with humans to be being snatched up. But we had no other option,” said Char.

Char said the feral kittens had obviously been living in the window well for some time. “They probably would have died there,” she said.

But instead, these lucky kittens, named Juno and Getty, went to J.P. Kacy’s home, a foster home for cats, so that she could try to socialize them to make them good pets.

“It is a slow process. A frustrating process. You just want them to understand that you are good but they have formed a distrust of humans,” says Kacy.

Kacy said feral kittens can learn to bond with and trust humans. “There is nothing that moves me more than that, when you can take kittens that need you. That is what my life is about.”

Kacy read out loud to the kittens, and when they got comfortable with her voice she began to touch them and eventually to pick them up.

“It took Juno and Getty about a month and a half to really come around to the point that they are ready for adoption,” said Kacy.

These kittens are currently waiting to be adopted. Kacy warns that the people who adopt them need to be sensitive to the process of making these wary, wild kittens comfortable.

“They are wonderful, loving kittens, but they need to bond with the person they are going to be with,” says Kacy. “Because they are my foster cats I am concerned about where they go. It has to be the right person. I think they will make awesome pets.”

If you are interested in adopting Juno or Getty call the Eagle Valley Humane Society.

Christen Millbern was driving home to Gypsum from work, westbound on Interstate 70, when she saw a small dog on the opposite side of the interstate. Millbern pulled over and tried to get the dog to come to her. The dog began heading toward the center divider, but she ended up turning around and darting into traffic.

Millbern then watched helplessly as the dog got struck by a car and thrown into the air.

“I sat in my car crying,” said Millbern. “It was horrible. I still have bad dreams about it.”

Millbern made a U-turn on the highway through a dirt patch on the center divide, pulled over and began looking for the injured dog.

“I searched through waste deep material for 45 minutes,” said Millbern. “I walked along the side of the highway back and forth and couldn’t find her.”

Millbern thought that the dog was either dead or got up and ran away.

She got back into her car and resumed driving to her downvalley home. But as soon as she pulled off I-70 at Gypsum, Millbern turned around and got right back on the highway. She simply could not live with the idea of the injured dog left lying next to the road.

Within 10 feet of where Millbern pulled over, she found the animal.

“The dog tried to get up to get to me, but her leg was shattered,” said Millbern.

Millbern knew that she had to pick up this unknown dog.

“Even if he bites me I don’t care,” Millbern remembers thinking. “She was covered in blood and yelping in pain.”

Millbern took her straight to Castle Peak Veterinarian Service. Miraculously, the 3-month-old puppy had no internal injuries, just a shattered leg.

“She had to have hard-core surgery by a specialist in Carbondale,” said Millbern.

The Eagle Valley Humane Society picked up the bill.

Millbern and her husband ended up adopting the puppy and naming her Bailey.

Now, a little more than a year later Bailey, “runs and plays and does all the crazy things that border collies do,” says Millbern. “She is a very spoiled and happy dog.”

Boo Maynard, of Eagle, is one of the 11 percent of cats worldwide, and 2.5 percent of cats nationwide, suffering from Feline Immunodeficiency Virus ” the HIV of cats.

It is thought that the disease was transmitted to Boo by her mother.

Like HIV, FIV weakens cats’ immune systems and is primarily transmitted by deep bite wounds. As a result, cats with FIV must stay inside and be the only household cat.

After Dr. Julie Hunter of Castle Peak Veterinary Service discovered that Boo tested positive for FIV, Boo’s original owner signed her over to Castle Peak.

“It is hard to find a home and the right home for sick cats. We didn’t want her to spend her days in a cage,” said Niles Thomason, an associate veterinarian at Castle Peak.

One Saturday in June, Julie Stuck and her nine-year-old daughter, Alani, went to pick up diabetes medicine for their dog. The receptionists were playing with the cat by the front desk.

The receptionists asked the Alani and Julie if they would like to have a cat, while explaining to them that this kitten had FIV and if they couldn’t find a home for her she would have to be put down.

“I didn’t want to be the one to say no to my daughter,” says Stuck. So they took a picture of Alani and the kitten to bring home to show dad. Stuck was confident that he would say no to keeping the cat. But instead he said OK.

Later that afternoon, Alani returned to Castle Peak. The doors were locked, but that didn’t stop Alani.

“She started knocking on the door saying we want the kitten,” said Stuck.

And the family is happy with their decision.

“She is just the craziest cat. Very loving, loves to play, she is like any other cat. She has been a great addition to the family. Even the dog likes her,” says Stuck. “Boo makes us smile and laugh every single day. We weren’t looking for cat but obviously with the circumstances the way they were, it was meant to be.”

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