Tag Archives: covid

COVID, Animal Transport, and Kittens


Several months ago the SPCA was looking for volunteers to help transport animals. At the time, I did not really know what that meant but I thought it would be something that I might like to do so I signed up for it, submitted all the necessary paperwork, and waited. I then waited some more, and then forgot all about it until I got a group email that said they were looking for people to transport animals. I signed up again and this time I was not forgotten.

I went to orientation a couple of weeks ago and learned they were taking in injured and sick wildlife. I’m not sure why but all the wildlife being cared for at that location consisted of just opossums and baby blue jays. I watched as she fed the blue jays and she cleaned and fed the opossums, which are very dirty considering they poop in their water bowls. We then went to a local vet to pick up a baby blue jay.

After orientation I was set up as part of a group in an app called GroupMe. I was also given a carrier, several cardboard boxes and some envelopes in case someone wanted to make a donation. The app is similar to a Facebook group. If someone calls the SPCA and says they have an injured animal, it will be posted to the group along with the address and the caller’s phone number.

At around this same time my wife got sick. She had a fever of 102 degrees and very bad headaches that no amount of pain killers would alleviate. She also had other minor symptoms that caused us concern. We wanted to get her tested for COVID-19 but it turned out to be very difficult. CVS was completely booked and other places did not answer their phone. We drove to a testing site at 9:00 a.m. one morning that didn’t require a reservation but there were about 50 people standing outside in the hot sun in close proximity. Rose was already sick, there was no way we were going to stand in line with a bunch of other sick people.

We then went to Tropicana Field where they were doing drive-up testing but they, we learned later, only did 350 tests per day and were already closed. This was on a Monday. We eventually learned that you have to sign up on CVS’s website just after midnight because they only have three days worth of appointments and midnight is when they add the next day. So we set an alarm and just after midnight we made an appointment for that Thursday morning.

My wife was very sick for about three days and then she improved significantly over the next few days after that. By Thursday the fever and headaches had diminished but we still wanted to get her tested. Actually, we needed to get her tested because even though I never got sick, I was exposed to what she had and I didn’t want to spread it, so I felt compelled to cancel my shift as a cat counselor, cancel my shift with the Red Cross and not take any animal transport calls until the results came back. I was also not allowed to go to work during this time.

When Rose took the test they said it would take 2-4 days for the results. They then changed that to 5-7 days. She got the results back on Sunday evening, over 10 days later. The test came back negative.

Rose and I were actually hoping for a positive test result. I know that sounds weird but considering that Rose had already recovered and I never got sick that would have meant that neither one of us needed to worry about this disease again for a while. Instead, we ended up back in the same boat that we started in.

A negative test result was also good news because it meant I was able to get back to work. I signed up to work in the shelter on Friday and I started paying attention to the texts so that I could get started transporting animals.

Friday morning, as I was getting ready, I noticed a text that said “Rabbit at…” And gave an address and a person’s name and phone number. I replied that I could get it and quickly got dressed and left. I called the number as I was leaving and the man that answered gave me instructions on how to get to his apartment. When I arrived, he met me there and showed me where the rabbit was.

He was just sitting there eating grass (I say “him” only because it sounds better than “it”). At first I wondered what was wrong with him but as I got closer I could see that his fur was missing in several areas on his body. I had brought a carrier with me and I grabbed a towel from my car. I put the towel over the bunny and gently picked him up and put him him the carrier. I probably should have photographed him first but I didn’t think about it until I got to the car. By that time it was too difficult to get a good photo. The photo I did take is not worth sharing.

I drove the rabbit back to the shelter but I think they needed to bring him to another building so someone could examine him so they just gave me another carrier and I was on my way.

That afternoon I was back at the shelter working as a cat counselor. It had been a couple of weeks since I had been there so most of the cats there were new to me. There were also several kittens as well. Two kittens were adopted as soon as I arrived.

This one was very friendly and let me pick him up and hold him.

This calico was also very friendly but she was not a big fan of being held.

Then there were these cuties.

There were more kittens but my phone’s battery was almost dead and I wanted to conserve energy.

While I was there, a woman asked me about a certain kitten. She said it was white with black ear points. I thought maybe she was talking about a Siamese kitten but there was no kitten like that, at least not in the adoption room.

She then told me that her roommate found it under a truck’s axle when it was about four weeks old. They brought it to the SPCA because they didn’t know how to take care of a kitten that young and because they didn’t know if it would be safe to bring it home since they had an older cat in the house.

They wanted to adopt the cat but normally you can’t turn in a cat and then have it back. I think since this was a special circumstance and because it was never their cat to begin with, she was told to come back in four weeks when the kitten was old enough to be fixed and adopted out.

Coincidentally, my wife texted me this photo the evening before while she was at the hairdresser with the words, “I want her.”

She told me her hairdresser fostered cats for the SPCA. It suddenly occurred to me that this might be the same kitten so I took my phone out and showed her the photo. She agreed that the kitten looked similar but her kitten was a boy and this was a girl.

We talked to one of the employees who did some research and found out that the kitten was being fostered and the name was “Ewok.” I texted my wife and asked what the kitten’s name was that she wanted and she said “I think her name is Opal.” That pretty much settled it. These were two different kittens. Or were they?

When I got home Rose asked me why I wanted to know the kitten’s name. I said because someone was looking for a kitten named “Ewok.”

“Ewok was her name,” Rose said, “but she (meaning the hairdresser) didn’t like it and changed it to “Opal.” Mystery solved.

I guess this woman is not going to get the boy she was expecting but I’m sure she will be happy. Rose is disapointed but she did the right thing by giving up the kitten to the people who found her.