Monday, March 12, 2012

All About the Connections

Hello everyone!

If you couldn't tell from our Facebook page, this week our minds have been completely dominated by our calendar shoot. Kelly Schulze of Mountain Dog Photography and her husband, Ian, worked like champs to shoot 9 pages of the calendar this week. The most complicated so far? Volunteer & Events Coordinator Shayla MacDowell's, which includes three local men and their companion animals (a lanky Great Dane, a dancing Aussie, and a clicker-trained Tuxedo cat). Most community based was Feline Supervisor Kayla Malzac's shot, which happened in the Burlington Subaru showroom (yes, they did move out every single car for us so Kelly could have the exact one she wanted in the exact place she wanted it!). And the Murphy's Law award goes to Small Animal Coordinator Cara Weymouth's shoot. We wanted to a motorcyle for the shot, and were willing to drive to Huntington for it. Of course, it snowed the night before. Which meant we were careening over icy, rutted dirt roads the next morning to get to the shoot. In the end, Kelly's husband Ian had to ferry all of us up the steep driveway to the location, and we were running 45 minutes behind. That left exactly 15 minutes for the shoot. As the snow fell and the wind blew, Cara stripped down to her mini-skirt and sleeveless shirt, and bravely perched upon the cold leather of the bike. Kelly attempted to start taking pictures, and at that moment, the battery to her flash became temperamental in the cold. Kelly was forced to remove the battery and warm it in her hand between each click of the shutter. Miraculously, she got an absolutely stunning shot. Wait until you see it!

In the meantime, however, I'd like to make our first calendar reveal! In honor of this week's warm weather and sunshine, attached is Canine Supervisor Robyn's Lane's photo :) Let us know what you think!

Robyn and her HSCC-adopted pup, Olive

On to the animals!

We had a great week, with 12 animals finding new homes. Cats Casey, Arfur, Aurie, Monqui, Dude, and Kit-Kit all went home. Dogs Beau (Rottie), Seuss (American Eskimo), Bruiser (Chihuahua mix), Whelan (Husky), and Eddie (pittie mix) found new loving families, too.  

And the featured adoptee this week? A teensy tiny little fancy mouse! Fancy by name and fancy by nature, Choo Choo the albino mouse caught a special someone's fancy last week!

If this were a Hitchcock film, we'd open with a shot of train tracks to symbolize connections. Choo Choo's story is one of lost connections, and her history as we know it literally begins on a train. I received a call last Monday from Amtrak … which was odd. "We have a mouse," the station manager told me. "Someone left it in a container in the bathroom on the train, and I don't know what to do with it. I can't keep it here. I'm thinking of letting it go in the field out back, but I think it's a pet, so I don't want to do that." I began to describe our process for taking in animals: making an appointment, possibly having to wait, etc--"No no, I can't keep it here," the station manager interrupted. "I've thought about feeding it to someone's snake, but I don't want to do that." I told him I'd pass his message on to Cara, and she'd be in touch very soon. "I need to get rid of this thing today," he said. "If I can't bring it in by tomorrow, I'm letting it go. I really don't want to do that."

I finally managed to convince him to wait for Cara's call, and fortunately, we were able to get the mouse in that day. For all of this brusqueness and threats, it was clear that the station manager really cared for the tiny white puff with pink eyes. He'd taken care of her at the station for 10 days, waiting to see if her owner would return for her. He could have gotten rid of her in many different ways--but he truly didn't want to do that. He delivered the mouse to us in the container she'd been found in: a Tupperware with holes punched in the lid and a bit of paper on the bottom.

Cara named the mouse Choo Choo, and we sighed when we thought about how long it would take to find her a home. Rats and mice tend to sit at the shelter for a long time. Cara related her worry to one of our Animal Care staff, Christina, and … a connection was made!

Christina is a self-described "rat and mouse person." She's owned two rats and over 100 mice (yes, you read that right)! But she happened to be mouse free at that moment, and decided she could make room in her home for the little two-inch being.

In the meantime, we purchased a lovely mouse habitat for Choo Choo, with tunnels and a wheel. And it was soon obvious that this mouse had never had such a grand house. She delightedly ran through the tunnels, gave the wheel a spin, and rearranged all of her bedding. "Each morning we'd set her habitat up nicely after cleaning it," Cara said, "And she'd immediately go about putting it just the way she wanted it."

Yes, Choo Choo is very particular. And Christina could sense that. So, the day she decided to take Choo Choo home, she went right out with her husband and bought an all-pink habitat that this fancy girl--renamed Chewy--could call her own. It has pink tunnels, a pink wheel, a pink food dish … As soon as Christina put Chewy inside, the mouse made herself right at home. Cara's last image of Chewy is of her picking up her nice soft bedding in her two little pink hands, and fluffing it with flair!

The little mouse may have missed her connection on the train. But it seems fate was taking her to an even better stop. 

That's the good news week!

Happy sunshine,


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