I’ve been told that if you have a heart for animals, they know it, and they will find you. This has certainly been true in my own life. It has been even more true in the life of my friend Nicole.
In looking out for neighborhood animals in need, she and her husband have helped keep bellies full, bodies warm and provided new starts on life.
What follows is Part 1 of my Q&A with Nicole.
What is your neighborhood like?
We currently live in the Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood, which is just east of the river market. Some days, it’s diversity is uplifting and makes you feel great. Other days, you are confronted with some of the uglier aspects of any city; crime, abandonment, lack of funds or interest, etc.
There seem to be a lot of stray/feral cats in this neighborhood. My husband and I feed the cats in the winter, and do our best to befriend them enough to be able to put them in a carrier and take them to Great Plains SPCA to be spayed or neutered. Also, I’ll see quite a few roaming dogs, sometimes in small awkwardly matched packs,(I’ve seen a Chihuahua, pomeranian, and a German shepherd mix all cruising together) and others just out on their own. This sometimes makes for a scary situation when walking our two dogs.
How many animals have you helped rehome?
We’ve helped a total of twenty animals, 9 dogs and 11 cats find new homes. For the most part, we just happen upon an animal that is friendly, and it’s too hard to say no. They seem to know that we the type of people who can’t argue with a cold wet nose, or a tail wrapped around one’s leg.
It usually goes like this: I find a dog or cat somewhere, I sell its sad story to my husband who will agree to keeping it until we can place it. Then, I call, text, e-mail, and Facebook all my friends and family trying to find a match. We get our house back to a reasonable pack, then another sweet four-legger shows up and the cycle starts again.
Who are the most memorable dogs?
The dogs, we tend to keep ourselves. Chester Sauce is a pit/black lab mix that used to live out his sad life tied to a tree in a neighbor’s yard. These people were some of the most negligent dog owners we’ve ever had the displeasure of living near. We lived next to Chester for a summer that was really hot. Every day before work I would fill his bowl with food, and bring him a solid chunk of ice to have for the day. He spent every moment of his life tied to a tree by a six foot rope. His head was scarred and scabby from the flies that would bother him all day. And while we found his coat to be a brilliant shiny black, the whole time he lived at that house, he was a stinky brown.
We eventually moved from that apartment, and into a house with a large backyard in south Kansas City. After a few weeks, we decided to go and liberate Chester. We drove back to his house, and after a brief conversation with his owners, I was told, “Sure. You can take him for a walk.”
I walked him up the street, put him in the car, and drove him to his new home, ours. Chester became the best dog ever. He was very eager to learn, and was always very gentle with people and other animals. We came home once to find him sitting under a tree crying. When we got close we found he was sitting next to a baby bird that had fallen from it’s nest. He wouldn’t leave that bird’s side.
When we moved to midtown I could walk him up to Mr. Z’s or Chipotle on 39th street and leave him outside of the store without having to worry about him wondering off. He would sit, untethered, waiting for me to return. No dog or curious person would be able to make him leave his post. He’s now retired and living a softer life in Lee’s Summit with my husband’s grandma.