Monday, September 11, 2006

Why I Help Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO)

Among so many other reasons, most of them having 4 legs, I want to share just one reason I choose to volunteer my time with ARNO, that rescue organization in New Orleans which seems to draw the most passionate of emotions from so them or hate them, ARNO is still at it, a year after Katrina and ARNO is far from perfect, but when it comes right down to the core of the matter, ARNO is in fact a HUMANE organization.

Let me introduce you to one of ARNO's recent acquisitions, Wizard. I don't know Wizard's entire biography, I only know that when I was at ARNO on Labor Day, he wasn't there and when I went to ARNO's warehouse the Friday after, he was. I noticed him immediately, how can you not...he is solid white with jagged purple thread stitches running across the space where his left eye used to be, and he was a hisser. I was told that he was trapped inadvertently by the LA/SPCA when they conducted a recent dog-trapping sweep in the Lakeview region of New Orleans....the same Lakeview that is posted on flickr with pictures of roaming animals....many cats and some dog..packs. I learned that Wizard had such a severe eye infection, it had to be removed and shortly after the surgery, Wizard decided to tear out his stitches so the purple set is his second try at healing. Just one more adjustment he has had to make for being in New Orleans.

Everyone who was at ARNO on the day I met Wizard told me that he was feral and to expect him to charge the kennel door and sure enough, as expected he did in fact give me plenty of attitude..that is until I hit the right sound for his case, the motorboat sound that a mother cat makes with her kittens. Well as soon as he heard that, Wizard, still nameless at that point, immediately began meowing to me, stretched, climbed down from the top of his carrier perch and reached out his paw to tentatively touch my finger, just one finger I placed through the kennel bar...and he didn't use his claws, just his toe pad. That was it, the spell was cast and Wizard was aptly named.

Wizard is no loner cat like many feral tomcats truly are.....he watches me give treats to Socks, the tabby who rents out the condo next door and as I watch him, it is clear to me that he is not interested in the treats, he is interested in getting to know his neighbor. He perks right up and tries to talk to Socks, to the point of almost yelling because Socks is of course interested in the treats I have to give.....this week, I will try to get Socks to notice that Wizard would like some feline conversation.

Each one brings his or her own challenge and ultimately a huge reward with it.

So now, until his medical treatment is finished, until he has a handle on his depth perception, until he no longer has the very obvious hair-trigger startle response which he exhibits now at the sound of a distant bark (remember, he was in Lakeview and was probably always looking over his shoulder for those dog packs) and until ARNO finds just the right place for him to call his forever home, I will find a few minutes in my day, each day, or if not, at least every other day, and I will visit him and I will show Wizard that although the rest of his life will in fact be different than what he knew, it is okay, because it will be will have a full food and water bowl, all the time, not just when a car pulls up in an otherwise silent neighborhood to fill a bowl that emptied days ago; it will have a warm and DRY area that will be his, just his, and he won't have to keep one eye open while he sleeps, which is a good thing since he will need the eye he has left to bring the end of each day to a close, each end of each day for the rest of his life that hopefully will be much like each beginning of the day will start....with love.

I am certain that Wizard will cast his spell on that "forever person" just like he cast it on me, but until he manages to mix up just the right magic into his spell, please consider helping Wizard, or any other equally deserving creature that ARNO refuses to turn its back on, each creature that ARNO refuses to give up on because it costs too much....and donate to ARNO,, so that this wonderful organization can continue providing that soft spot for these tired creatures to finally land on.

Thank you for your continued support to life in my city,

Lise McComiskey
New Orleans, La