Meatball: A Short Story

A Land Flowing with Meatballs and Ice Cream

Meatball

This blog is written by Meatball. His saucy name makes him feel tough when he’s scared and hungry, so he likes it; but he has a sensitive, artsy side too.  For example, his favorite artist is Monet. His favorite Monet pieces are the Nymphéas or Water Lilly series. Meatball said, “I’ve heard some people describe others as ‘late bloomers.’ Well, if I had to describe myself in that light, I’d say I was plucked just a little too early. But thanks to the love and support of special people around me, I too was able to know love and feel safe.’ This is his story.

On the morning of June 14th, I was found in the night drop kennels at Anchorage Animal Care and Control. I was very hungry and I was letting everyone know about it! I had been brought there by a Good Samaritan who found me for sale in a Walmart parking lot.

I was being sold with my siblings, but I was far too young to be away from my mother. I was only 3-4 weeks old and weighed a mere 11 oz. I missed my mommy’s warm milk and the fuzzy comfort of my siblings.

At the shelter, this nice lady said, “He’s so cute I want to name him Ice Cream Cone.” Everyone laughed but they agreed and that became my first name. I’ve never seen an ice cream cone, but it sounded delicious!

Due to my early departure from my mother, I needed a lot of attention and care so I was placed in a foster home. It was my foster dad who changed my life and my name to Meatball. I liked it a little better and I liked him a lot!

He has the coziest chest and I just love to sleep on it. I also like to snuggle with his old dog who doesn’t seem to mind. I’m hungry all the time and I really like to let him know it. I like to talk to him while he is making dinner in the kitchen; I also like to sit on his foot. Pretty much where ever he is, is where I like to be. Sometimes I try to suck on his arm because I get confused about where my food is going to come from next.

Even though I am very weak and delicate, my dad does his best to help me stay strong and feel loved. “You must be so out-of-sorts being away from your mom, little guy,” He said to me once. He totally gets it and he made me purr for the first time. It feels so good to feel that rumble in my little body and nice to be able to show him that he makes me happy.

I am not very sure about my future. I don’t always feel the best, but I know how lucky I am. There is darkness and wrong-doing in this world, but the amount of love I have been shown in my short life has been incredible. I want the world to know that it is important to live and let live and to let things grow and thrive where they belong. Right now, where I belong is on my dad’s chest purring away and dreaming of a land full of meatballs, ice cream cones, and lilies.

AFTER THE STORY UPDATE

It breaks our hearts to say that our little guy didn’t make it. But we still wanted to tell his story and let his voice be heard for all the kittens who lose their mommas too soon and for all our foster kittens who first know love from our amazing troop of foster parents. AACC foster parents open not just homes but their hearts every time they agree to care for a kitten and for this we, and our kittens, are grateful,

In Meatball’s memory, remember to be kind and show love to those around you every moment that you can. We know Meatball would think that is just perfect.

Reflections from Meatball’s Foster Dad

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Meatball came to me as just a tiny squirt of a kitten. Here was a little guy who was taken from his mom way too early and no longer had any siblings to find comfort with so we became very attached very quickly, which, of course, had me thinking “should I keep this one?” on our very first night together. Despite being so tiny Meatball seemed healthy. I was sure that with a lot of love and care he’d make it and be a great companion for either myself or some other lucky person. I was already feeling proud of the chance of a great life we were giving him.

Throughout the weekend he sat on my shoulder or in my sweatshirt pocket (yes, he was that tiny) as I went about my usual routine. In the evenings he would lay on my chest while I read.  He never let me out of his sight and either chased me down or meowed until I returned. I was the most important thing in the world to Meatball and I didn’t take that sentiment or responsibility lightly.

I had a trip planned and only had him for 5 days before moving him to his second foster home.  While I was gone I thought about him often and was anxious to see him. I was out of communication and had no idea that he was not doing well so it was hard to hear when I came back that his health was failing.

In a matter of a few days Meatball’s health went south despite our best efforts…and then he was gone. The whole experience- which lasted barely more than a week- is one I think about every day. I take comfort in knowing I, and his second foster home, were able to give Meatball love, security, and companionship for at least part of his short life. I didn’t think I’d be ready to foster again for a few months because I was feeling raw about Meatball’s passing but I already found myself with three foster kittens this past week! Meatball would be proud of me.

Blog posts are authored by AACC volunteer, Stephanie.

Photos courtesy of Meatball’s foster dad.

Shae: A Story of Healing

Hi everyone, Linus here.
Did you know I have a foster sister?

And she’s a beautiful black cat just like me.
Her name is Shae and here’s her story:

Shae came to the shelter the same way I did – a lost cat in need of somewhere safe and warm. She got sick while she waited at the shelter, first for her family to hopefully find her and then for a family to hopefully adopt her. Other cats get sick with the same thing (they call it “upper respiratory infection”) but poor Shae got hit hard. So my mom, who has a really big heart, brought her home to be my foster sister and recuperate.

She needed lots of care so my mom set her up in our bathroom with a humidifier and would even give her fluids to keep her hydrated. Most importantly, she made sure that Shae just got to relax and sleep. She stayed in her own room although I got to see her through the door. At first I might have felt just a little jealous but I got over that because I could see that she really needed us.

 

It wasn’t too long before we got to see what a great cat Shae is. She started playing with toys, hanging out in a catio next to me, meeting the dogs, and snuggling, snuggling, snuggling with my mom. My mom said that Shae likes to get as close as she can and would snuggle all day if she could. She also said that Shae is so good – she never growled or hissed at me or the dogs, never complained about going in her carrier or when she had to get fluids.

It’s been a good experience having Shae with us. We worried about her at first so we are really happy to see how well she’s doing. It will be hard to give her up but soon she’ll have to go back to the shelter to find a new home. I’m hoping that by writing about her and telling you how special she is, she might find a home right away.

Abby’s Story: A Dog’s Best Friend

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This blog is written by Abby. Like many shelter dogs, only parts of her past are known.
But Abby reminds us it isn’t where you’ve been that defines you, it’s where you’re going.
This is her story.

I was terrified. I could hear voices and smell something yummy, but I was too scared to even move or leave this kennel. I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to play. I didn’t want to eat. I just wanted everyone to leave me alone so I could think and figure out what was happening.

But the voices were sweet and weren’t giving up and the treats that were offered were ones I liked, so, I thought, what was the worst that could happen?  Eventually, I decided to venture out a little. I caught a glimpse of some warm, affectionate and concerned faces. I ate some treats, walked around a little and then went back to where I felt safe – my kennel.

 

This happened every day and slowly I started looking forward to the voices and the treats. The faces looked happier these days, the concern was melting away.  I bet my face looked different too. That is the thing about dogs, we cannot help but trust and love. It’s just inside of us, always pulsing through every fiber of our beings. Even though I was confused and didn’t understand why I was here and not in my home, I still believe in the good in the humans. We call them dog’s best friends.

Then one day, after I had an especially good time out of my kennel, I was placed in a new kennel in the “adoption area” where there was a lot more activity, lots more people to play with and yes, more treats. I started meeting new people –  they are all named “Volunteer”, isn’t that funny? They told me I was up for adoption and that someone would be lucky to have me as their friend. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I know that humans believe in me and I believe in humans. So, I sat and patiently waited for the one that smells like my best friend.

It didn’t take them too long to find me; their sweet faces reminded me of those first faces I saw that coaxed me from out of my kennel. Kindness is easy to spot. So, I am adopted now (check out those smiles in my adoption photo) and I am off to a new life. I used to like to play fetch, chew on bones and snuggle. I hope my new family likes those things too, but I am sure they do.

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To a future full of smiles, hope, and love,

Abby

AFTER THE STORY UPDATE

When Abby came to the shelter on 5/28/17 she was quite fearful and she did not want to come out of her kennel. The staff at AACC worked with her every day – carefully and patiently coaxing her out of her kennel to play with her for a bit, before letting her go back in where she felt safe. Eventually, the staff gained her trust and started putting that smile back on her face. She was then moved out into the public area so the volunteers could work with her. She was adopted on 6/11/17.  Abby’s success is a perfect example of the effort AACC puts into its animals.  We want every dog, cat, and pet to have a successful re-homing and we do everything possible to try to make that happen. We want every animal’s story to be like Abby’s. 

Love’s not Time’s Fool

Love’s Not Time’s Fool

This blog is written by Kona Mae. A senior Blood Hound who was brought to AACC after her human passed away. Kona Mae’s favorite author is the great William Shakespeare; she likes to say that she and the playwright have one thing in common: that some things get better with time. This is her story.

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I know that it was just a step… well, a flight of them. I watched people scamper up and down them with ease all day. But to me, it was Everest. I had made the most out of my puppy years, but those were far behind me. The short of it was, I couldn’t climb stairs anymore. It was sad and frustrating to struggle. But what could I do? Time shows no preference; we are all her hostages.

I knew this better than many. I don’t like to talk about my past too much. It makes me sad and Blood Hounds already have a tendency to look depressed, so it’s not a good look on me. My human had recently passed away; the years we had together are buried and cherished deep inside my heart. But due to this, I found myself the occupant of a pen at the shelter with nowhere else to go.

So, I laid these old bones back down on the floor of my cage, waited and gave myself a pep-talk. I was still cute (or so I thought) had always been loyal and gave so much love. I was mellow too! Much mellower than the in-demand puppies around me and pretty thoroughly trained. Maybe I still had a chance?

Amazingly, I got adopted. A difficult hurdle to conquer for many. ESPECIALLY, us senior pups, but I was lucky. My joy, though insurmountable, was short lived. I couldn’t follow my new owners around. I couldn’t get up and down their stairs. I was returned to the shelter. It was the lowest of the lows for me. No pep-talk-tainted monolog would raise my chin of the shelter’s floor. This old dog had no more tricks up her sleeves.

I believe I have a guardian angel looking out for me (I have an idea who it is) because I did get adopted again to two saints. The first time I met them I tried to gather all the information I could quickly. I wanted to fit in perfectly this time. I rushed up to them, nose in the air and then nose to the ground. I learned a lot! They smelled, how do I explain it,.. kind. And they gave me a butt-rub! I love those. I heard the one say to the other with a smile “my heart goes out to her. What’s one more?”

When they came to pick me up, I understood what they meant for they had an English Mastiff in their back seat. She introduced herself as Miss Prue, was about my age and very welcoming. She was also wet from paw to tail, I inquired as to why and she said that she had been swimming!

Once we arrived home (don’t you just love the sound of that word?), I was let out into the backyard and met two other senior Blood Hounds, Pearl and Beaufort! It was like family immediately. Everyone allowed me to explore the yard, house, and all the rooms. The house did have stairs, but in my excitement I went right up them! If I do ever start to have trouble, my parents have a belly belt to help me out a little bit. My parents are pros at this senior pup thing!

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Kona Mae and her new pack: Miss Prue the English Mastiff and Pearl and Beaufort the Bloodhounds

I’ve heard them tell their friends, “ with older dogs you make some adjustments… but they still have so much to give back to us and are so loving. I wouldn’t change a thing or ask for anything more.” I am glad they feel that way and I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am on Glucosamine, Condroitin & fish oil to keep me as spry as possible and I also get to go swimming once a week at Alaska K9 Aquatics, to help with my arthritis. I am thriving.

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Kona Mae relaxes in her new home.

As Shakespeare said, in his lovely Sonnet 116, “Love’s not Time’s fool.” Our body’s might be slaves to time. But, love lives on; it lives on in my heart and in my everyday life. I am so, so lucky in love. Thanks to my new parents, not only did this old lady find a couple new tricks up her sleeves, she found a family too.

AFTER THE STORY UPDATE

Kona Mae’s new mom describes their journey with her as kismet and says that she is a blessing and delight. All three of the other dogs in the family have welcomed her in with open paws and the group is fondly referred to as the Geriatric Crew. The crew plays a lot in the yard but they are also self-proclaimed couch potatoes; they love to snuggle on the cushions and give kisses. Kona Mae, Miss Prue, Pearl, and Beaufort hope that their story of love, acceptance, and second chances will inspire others to adopt senior pups.

Linus’ Story: Numbers for a Name

Numbers for a Name

Linus on arrival

Linus on her first day at Anchorage Animal Care and Control

This story is written by Linus. A stray kitten who found love, fame and a name. Linus always says her favorite quote, penned by Victor Hugo, “to love or have loved, that is enough” because it was love that changed everything. Not many love stories feature a cat as the leading lady, but this one does. This is Linus’s story.

A224228 that was the first name I ever knew. It doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it? Just like Jean Valjean in Les Miserables who was haunted his whole life by his prison numbers, I too felt those numbers following me like a shadow. A heavy burden for a little kitten to carry, but carry it I did.

I came to AACC as a stray. Stray – another name I hate. I don’t remember too much about that day, all I remember is that my eyes hurt and I couldn’t see very well. I had some very noticeable eye deformities, that is probably why I was a stray. Why I ended up with numbers for a name. I didn’t have much hope. And then I met this person, a special person.

She was the Kennel Supervisor at AACC and, much to my surprise, she didn’t put me in a cage. She took me to her house. It smelled so good there and she had two other kittens! They both had names and I was envious. They told me that this was their foster home and that the food was really good. They also asked me what was wrong with my eyes, but I didn’t have a good answer.

She would go to work all day, I missed her terribly when she was gone. I’d just count the numbers on the clock until she got home. She was so kind to us. I ached for her touch when she was away. The other cats cried and pleaded for food as soon as she walked in the door. I would meow too, but I just wanted her to hold and pet me. Food could wait.

Under her careful hand, we grew fast, as did my attachment to her. Then one day she said it was time to go back to the shelter to get adopted. My kitty-mates were excited, but I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay with her forever, but nevertheless, we were loaded up and taken away.

The other kittens were adopted very quickly. Their new owners gave them new names, which I was surprised at, but my heart was so full of longing for my foster mom there wasn’t any room left for envy. I wasn’t surprised that both kittens went before me. I might not be able to see well, but I knew what people saw when they looked at me, just numbers. Like the cost for eye surgery and the cost of care for my eyes. Like my name, numbers were in my way again.

Linus on adoption floor

Linus in her kennel…waiting to be adopted (but secretly hoping to go back to her foster home).

Then one day a man did ask to see me. This usually makes the animals around here very excited. I was just excited to see my foster mom as she reached in and gently handed me to the man. “Why is someone else holding me? I’m her cat,” I thought. She even looked sad and concerned as she watched the man interact with me. She seemed eager to get me back into the cage. The man said that he was going to think about it. My foster mom walked away with the man, but she came back rather quickly and slapped a big sticker on my cage. The sticker read “Congratulations, I’m being adopted.”

I was very confused, because the man said he needed to think about it. But my foster mom smiled at me and stuck a soft finger through the wires of my cage to scratch my chin. She said, “all I was thinking while that man was holding you was ‘why is that man holding my cat!’”

My foster mom realizes she can't let me go!

My foster mom realizes she can’t let me go. See how happy I am?

That day I went home. Numbers are still a big part of my life. Not A224228, or 24601 or the cost for my care, now I count the number of times my mom says she loves me, the number of cat-naps we take together, the number of adventures we go on in my stroller and the number of times she says my name.

She named me Linus and it’s perfect.

I once heard my mom get asked why she adopted me, after all, the number of kittens she had fostered, cared for and seen is enormous. She just said simply, “because I love Linus and Linus loves me.” This is true. Sometimes numbers do lie, but love… love never does.

Loving and being loved,

Linus

 AFTER THE STORY UPDATE

Linus had the eye surgery she needed and she can see much better now. Which is good because Linus is one busy cat! Linus and her mom can often be found strolling in local pet supply stores or watching geese at the park. Their favorite spots to go are Turnagain Arm and Beluga Point. When not out adventuring Linus spends a lot of time in her “catio” on the deck. Linus also has a big heart for assisting other animals in finding the love of their lives. She appears on AACC’s Facebook at least once a week, conducting promotions. She is currently “hosting” Meow Mixer, a dating game between cats and people to encourage people to adopt. Here is what her mom says about Linus:

 “How much do I love Linus? I don’t know how to swim but if Linus fell into the ocean, I would jump in to save her. But to be safe, I think our adventures will not include boats.”

Here I am after my eye surgery.

Here I am after my eye surgery.

Life is good. Love, Linus

Life is Good. Love, Linus

Britannica: The Cat Who Could

The Cat Who Could

This story is written by Britannica, the little cat who could. Britannica’s message is simple and clear: never give up on yourselves or in the goodness of others. This kitty kept getting returned to AACC due to “behavior problems.” But all of her problems were solved when an AACC employee went above and beyond and a new adopter decided to give Britannica the real chance she needed. This is her story.

 

I stared out the window of the moving car as it took its final turn into a parking lot and my heart sank. I knew where we were, I’d been here before. Time to go back to the cage, back to the wire, back to the loneliness.

Now, don’t get me wrong this place (I think I heard a human call it Animal Care and Control) wasn’t all bad. I was well taken care of by very thoughtful people. But it wasn’t a forever home and every animal in this place knew it; none of them better than me.

You see, I thought that I was one of the lucky ones when I got adopted. But then they brought me back. Then, I thought I was super lucky when I got adopted again! Then I was brought back. Embarrassingly, I kept having accidents in the house. I tried not to, but I couldn’t help it; these transitions were hard for me and I was often frightened and nervous.

As I was carried back into this familiar place I was resigned. Maybe it wasn’t meant for me to have a forever home – maybe this was the closest thing to a home I’d ever know. Then this one special person showed up.

She was sweet; you know when some people pet cats, they are so heavy-handed? But she wasn’t like that at all, she had a very gentle touch and she smelled like… dare I say it? Home. I tried not to get excited again, knowing she would probably give up on me too. But I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of hope rise in my chest.

She adopted me! And I heard her and Sue, the lady who cares for us at AACC, talking extensively about how to properly care for me. Sue was working very hard to help me not have accidents and feel comfortable.

Britannica and her new mom on her Going Home Day!

Sue gave my new mom many helpful tips. She told her to start me out in very small spaces and give me options; to let me choose when to be approached and to give me some play exposure to build my confidence. She gave my new mom many things that are familiar to me to take home like: my litter box, food, bedding and toys. Sue even gave us her book called ‘Catify to Satisfy’ by the famous Jackson Galaxy.

My mom kept Sue updated on my progress and even took me to the vet. They fixed my diet among other things. This was helping me make it to the litter box. Now I get called ‘Sweet Girl’ and I absolutely love it. I want to say thanks to Sue for providing my mom with a lot of helpful information and to my mom for sticking with me.

 My story is about determination and what can happen when people don’t give up on one another. I am a very grateful cat and I try to show that every day of our lives together, from the moment we wake up snuggling in bed together, through playtime and into each and every evening. We are very close. I am happy to report that this little cat that could, eventually did.

Home to stay,

Britannica

AFTER THE STORY UPDATE

Britannica’s mom is still in touch with AACC and checks in often to give us. “I’m smitten with her. I wake up with her sleeping on me every morning. She has a very kitten-like personality… likes to chew on the decorations on my jeans and drag wand toys around the house. The best part of the day is when she’s relaxed enough to flop over next to me and let me give her belly rubs, while purring and chirping. Unbelievably cute, and a wonderful companion! ” 

It is through the dedication, heart and true love for animals that Sue, and other employees like her, possesses that made this story have a happy ending.

Britannica and AACC are very grateful to our volunteers and employees; for the hard work and compassion they show on a daily basis. They are the true authors of happy-ever-afters like Britannica.

Here are the dates of Britannica’s up-and-down journey:

Surrendered on 10/14/16
Adopted on 10/27/16
Returned on 12/12/16
Adopted on 12/22/16
Returned on 2/23/17
Adopted by her new mom on 3/21/17 – Britannica still calls this her home.

A HERO’S JOURNEY

This story is written by Hercules. A 5-year-old, mixed-breed on his very own personal hero’s journey. Hercules’s favorite quote originated from the Disney version of his namesake
“I would go most anywhere to find where I belong.”

Hercules has always believed in heroes, both finding them and becoming your own.

This is his story.

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Hercules waits for his new family.

I love my name. I’ve always enjoyed hero stories, ever since I was a young pup. I’m attracted to the mystery, the challenges, the triumphs. So, to be named after one of the greatest heroes of all time is a great honor.

In every hero’s journey, there are 3 parts: the separation, the transition and the return. (The return was always my favorite!) So, I will share my journey with you in the same way:

THE SEPARATION

It is hard for me to talk about this part without getting choked up, but I found myself at Anchorage Animal Care & Control right after New Year’s. Those entrusted to care for me had taken me to the vet and then never came back. Like all good heroes, I did have a weakness. I guess you could call it my Achilles’ heel; I had this lump at the base of my tail that needed to be removed. Maybe that is why I was left….

THE TRANSITION

I had a dream one night after being at AACC for about two-weeks. In the dream, I saw another dog. He was very happy, playing and being cared for by a sweet family. I had dreams like this all the time, but this one was a little different. Before the dream ended the dog turned to me (the bright shiney tag on his collar read Max) and he said, “they are coming for you Herc, just wait, they are coming.” I woke up immediately and felt a little better.

A few days later, I was resting in my kennel, when some potential adopters came walking through. This happens often and I was tired of getting my hopes up. Today was also my birthday and no one had noticed. So, I was being grumpy. I went to move to the back of the kennel; it was then that I saw the potential adopters were the people from my dream! The same people Max had said were coming for me. I immediately barked with joy. They noticed me with smiles; they also noticed the lump near my tail, but it did not seem to bother them. I bounced around their legs and gave them both kisses. I knew, in that moment, that these were my heroes.

THE RETURN

I am so very happy with my new family and thankful to Max for sending them to me. I also got to meet Max posthumously through, scents, pictures and memories in my house. You see Max was my owners’ much-loved dog. He passed away when he was 11-years-old and our owners had asked him to send them another dog, which turned out to be me. My pup-daddy loves telling the story of why they went to AACC that day. He said that Max told him to go.

Just like any Hero’s story, ours wouldn’t be complete without a little magic.

Honorably yours,

Hercules

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Hercules loving life with his new dad.

AFTER THE STORY UPDATE

Parts of Herc’s story was shared with us through his new mom.. She says that her family is so very happy with their new pup “he is a sweet, loving dog who just needed a chance at being healthy! This is his forever home!” Hercules came to AACC on 1/3/17. He was adopted on 1/15/17.  His owners had the lump near the base of his tail checked out and it was first thought that the tail would need to be removed. Herc’s family posted on craigslist about the upcoming medical expenses and were trying to raise funds to help with the costs. The post was brought to AACC’s attention and the Center Director approved $300 from a medical assistance grant received from the ASPCA in 2016 to help the family.  Dr. Tom McGregor of Chugach Veterinary Practice later removed the tumor. Hercules goes to work with his owner at an auto repair shop nearly every day. He enjoys being the “shop dog” and the company of his doggie-girlfriend, Bella. They are currently living happily ever after.

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Hercules in the largest cone EVER!


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