IT TAKES A VILLAGE
A tearful reunion
In May 2015, two cats were surrendered as strays to Animal Humane in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Per the shelter’s intake policy, they routinely scanned the cats and found that both had microchips – and surprisingly, were registered to a woman residing in Fishers, Indiana..
“Every year thousands of stray pets come to Animal Humane without microchips,” says Peggy Weigle, executive director of Animal Humane. “This greatly reduces the likelihood that they will be reunited with their loving families.” According to a recent study of animal shelters, only 22 percent of dogs without microchips were returned home, compared to 52 percent with microchips that were reunited with their owners. In addition, the ASPCA reports that only 2% of cats that arrive at shelters are reclaimed, because they seldom wear collars and tags. Because of this, microchips are the best way to reunite cats with their owners.
When the owner learned from Animal Humane that her cats were found, she was thrilled and excited. “I thought about them every day since they went missing,” said Carrie. “My children and I were so worried and heartbroken.
We rescued Leroy and Mayah when they were just babies and love them dearly.”
But with her cats nearly 1,500 miles away and Carrie scheduled for surgery in June, the task seemed impossible. Carrie didn’t have the means to bring her beloved cats home. Meanwhile in Arizona at the headquarters for Underground Railroad Rescued Kitty Network, director Tina LaBlanc, happened across this story while scanning newswire headlines, and immediately thought, ‘we need to reunite this woman with her kitties.’ So URRKN reached out and made the offer of a free transport.
“I am so grateful to URRKN for helping to bring my cats home after nearly 3 months,” said Carrie.
The epic homecoming aboard the URRKN Love Train departed Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday, July 11, 2015. With Animal Humane caretakers, URRKN director and volunteers, and cat loving onlookers on hand to bid a fond farewell, the journey began its trek east through 7 states, 2 time zones and 18 conductors, including an overnight stay with a URRKN member in Oklahoma.
Forty-eight hours later, the train arrived at Noah’s Animal Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana. Noah’s has been the cats veterinarian their entire lives and were gracious enough to offer their spacious 24-hour facility as a safe meeting place for the reunion.
“Noah’s is proud of the work and effort that URRKN is doing to get these cats back to their loving home”, says Tom Dock, Director of Operational Development for Noah’s Animal Hospitals. “As part of Central Indiana for more than 30 years, Noah’s strives to do all we can to help our patients, our clients and the entire community. Our small part in this just highlights the dedication we have to our clients and our willingness to do what’s best for the pet and the pet’s family.”
The reunion lasted more than a half hour, but when it was time for Carrie to take her kitties home, it didn’t seem long enough to the few bystanders, friends and supporters who shared in her joy. With big smiles and hugs all around, Carrie took her leave. Happy homecoming, Leroy and Mayah…may you have a long and happy life with your family. And hopefully no more cross country adventures!
To see more on this heartwarming story, including video visit: http://www.kob.com/article/stories/s3849430.shtml
By Cindy Hauff
Cindy grew up in rural northwest Ohio and currently lives along the Maumee River in Toledo with her husband, Keith and 8 rescued fur babies of her own ranging in ages from 4 to 23 years. She has rescued cats and volunteered for many animal rescue organizations most of her life.