Giving Tuesday 2021

Saving animals like Turkey and Goofy, one at a time.

A fundraising campaign for SPCA of Tompkins County

Here's a story about two kittens, very ill upon arrival, but now livin' the kitty dream.

Meet Turkey. Our Canadian Thanksgiving miracle.

This special kitten, clearly giving his adopter a little sass in the snap above, came to us weighing less than one pound, like many of the 600 kittens we receive each year.

He was brought to the shelter right at closing time and had been found, lying on his side, under a trailer, with no other cats or kittens around. 

Our medical staff knew immediately they were looking at a "crashing kitten."  He was non-responsive, his body temperature too low to read, and he did not want to eat. In fact, his blood was flowing too slowly to check his glucose, which was likely rock bottom.

Our medical team, instead of leaving to get home to their own families and pets, got to work. 

An IV catheter was inserted and he was placed on a warming disc, but even after one hour he was still quite cold and not responding well.  He was doing so poorly they were afraid he would not make it through the night. 

But to the rescue comes Dr. Kristen Pow, one of our stellar Maddie's Shelter Program interns enrolled in an intensive one-year training program designed to produce skilled shelter medicine practitioners.

Dr. Pow volunteered to take him home for intensive care throughout the night, providing critical fluids as well as syringe feeding every two hours. 

But it was still slow going. Overnight, his temperature reached a normal level, but by the morning, it was too low once again. He was not out of the woods yet.

His name became Turkey, as Dr. Pow was caring for him during Canadian Thanksgiving.  She knew that if he survived, it would be a Thanksgiving miracle. 

But miracles take miracle workers. 

And our miracle workers were the medical staff caring for him. Dr. Pow took charge of this perilous kitten each night, while bringing him back to the shelter each day for care by the rest of the medical team. 

Then, after three weeks of devoted and highly skilled foster care by Sandy, a volunteer, he began to thrive rather than survive. 

We could not have saved Turkey, now happily adopted and named Milo, without the superb skills of our medical team, the devotion of our foster family, and YOU, our beloved and generous donors who make this lifesaving care entirely possible.

Meet Goofy, who was not (yet) the happy character we all know and love.

Goofy arrived at the shelter as part of a litter of six kittens, barely three weeks old.  All of them were ill with upper respiratory infections, itchy ear mites, and the inability to eat well on their own.

On top of this, Goofy's left eye was severely swollen due to conjunctivitis and his eyelids had become adhered to one another.  This was not a good situation.

Goofy and his litter mates went to foster with our volunteer Teresa to receive round the clock care, medications, and feedings. But Goofy was not doing well.  He was not gaining weight, and his eye, although less swollen, had developed a painful ulcer that required medication.

But things still continued to go downhill.

His foster mom was concerned as he had trouble breathing along with severe congestion.  Our little Goofy had developed a secondary pneumonia infection.  What more could this tiny kitten endure.

But here come our miracle workers.

Our superb medical team started intensive care with IV antibiotics, fluids, nutritional support and nebulization.  

And a miracle it was!  After just one day he improved rapidly and began eating!  From this we were able to return him to foster care to continue growing.  But that eye...

After a few weeks our little Goofy was old enough to be neutered and to have his problematic eye removed. The surgery was successfully performed by Dr. Dani Lopez-Goicochea, also a Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program intern. Once his painful eye was gone, he began playing and chasing balls the very next day. 

Having one eye has not slowed him down a bit and his adopter adores Goofy, now named Skippy, who lives happily ever after with his SPCA brother, Squid.

We are an SPCA Team.

The journey of these brave kittens--and our dedicated staff--is the story of the SPCA.

We are a team of highly trained medical staff with access to world-class specialty care; of loving and skilled foster families; and of astute adoptions counselors, brimming with compassion for our charges. 

YOU are part of the team, too. Beyond this, you're part of the SPCA family. YOU make these Happily Ever After stories possible. Thank you.

Kristen Pow, DVM, BScH and Dani Lopez-Goicochea, DVM, MPH

Miracle Workers.

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