We would never have established the animal rescue group, Shelter Me, Inc., without my older sister Morene’s staunch support. Back in May 2007, I mentioned to Morene that we should think about founding a nonprofit to help her daughter Sara, a pre-vet college student, save cats and almost without hesitating, she said, “Let’s do it.” Not too long after that, we set-up Shelter Me Inc, filed papers to register as a nonprofit 501(c)(3)corporation and we were off and running.
Shelter Me Inc responds to crises that beat a pathway to our metaphorical front door. By that I mean, we don’t have a facility of our own. We tend to help other rescue groups or individuals who need help and can’t find assistance elsewhere. For example, there was a man working in the post office in Acton who told Morene’s friend, Barbara Smith, about a group of cats he and his wife needed help with near their home in Fitchburg. Morene asked if I would check it out last December and one year and 26 cats later, we are still working on bringing the colony under control. There is one remaining holdout—a calico—who was very difficult to trap.She had kittens recently and we have yet to catch her last two.We would like to save them before winter sets in.
As of this writing Shelter Me Inc, has helped save exactly 301 cats. Morene is the official counter, so that number is extremely reliable. Morene is a wizard with numbers; an MBA/CPA, and CFO of her husband David’s international consulting firm. Despite the fact that Morene and her husband David have a small horse farm, three barn cats, and a dog, Morene is allergic to just about every animal imaginable, with the exception of the aforementioned dog, a hypoallergenic labradoodle. And while my sister can pet the barn cats and the horses on her farm, if she touches her face without washing her hands, she is likely to have an asthma attack. Not to worry; she is very careful.
Morene and David’s daughters, Sara and Rebecca, are twenty-something’s who have been animal lovers since they were babies. The girls rode horses as youngsters, saved feral cats and kittens, and volunteered at Buddy Dog animal shelter as pre-teens. The summer we founded Shelter Me Inc, Sara managed to rescue three pregnant cats and save 20+kittens, which spurred us to create an extended foster network consisting of family friends, relatives, and cat-loving staff members of Morene and David’s management consulting firm. The foster network maxed out after the first group of rescues were adopted by their foster parents. Today there is only one 12-week old kitten currently in foster care with a member of Morene and Dave’s firm. (Not coincidentally, the kitten is a calico from Fitchburg with an incredibly delightful personality.)
Earlier this year, I went to Oxford, MA to help the local animal control officer bring a hoarder’s houseful of cats under control. It was hard to tell how many cats were there, but more than 35 seemed like a sure bet. When I got home I called Morene and told her that the veterinary care would run to several thousand dollars because it would be too difficult to take the cats to free feral clinics and they would likely require much more veterinary care than a clinic could provide. Morene’s response? “Veterinary care is what the money is for.”