Nevada Humane Society’s 12 Saves of Christmas was introduced several years ago. It received an overwhelmingly positive response, letters of appreciation, and more, all of which came unexpectedly to us. We see day in and day out the difference we make in the lives of thousands of animals but we didn’t realize we weren’t fully communicating those lifesaving efforts to you – our biggest fans. Thus, the 12 Saves of Christmas was created. Now, every holiday season, we find ourselves receiving messages asking when our 12 Saves of Christmas begins. Without further ado, we present to you the 12 Saves of Christmas of 2016.
12 Saves of Christmas: #2 Merlin the Kitten
It was late August, just before closing on a Friday night when we got the call. A kitten had been found on the side of the highway. It wasn’t pretty. He didn’t look good, and was clearly in pain. An Animal Control Officer from Washoe County Regional Animal Services had found him and called us. There was no doubt in our mind—we told him to bring the kitten over.
The officer met our intake team, handing over a tiny but fluffy, silver, angry kitten. Not only was the poor thing seriously injured, but he was also not social, so for him, being held by humans was not a good thing. He wasn’t used to people and used everything in his power to fight us off. Lucky for him, the fact he was so small was in our favor. We wrapped him up like a burrito in a towel (we call them purritos) and rushed him into our veterinary clinic.
Our team had to quickly administer an anesthetic so we could get to work on the little guy. We stabilized him, cleaned his wounds, and took several x-rays. He had a hairline fracture on one of his shins, and a break on the other leg—but both of his back legs were injured. We bandaged both legs and crossed our fingers, hoping that we would be able to fix him. We didn’t want to think about what would happen if he lost both legs.
We woke him up and sent him home with Maia, a staff member, so that we could keep a close eye on him overnight. It was still touch and go. Since he was still drowsy from his anesthesia, the growling, hissing and spitting by our tiny, feral friend was kept to a minimum.
The next day his angry demeanor was back in full force. He was on pain medication so we knew he was still not happy, but we were also going to have to work to slowly socialize him. He needed to learn to trust humans and understand that we were there to help him.
Maia brought him to work every day and several staff members took turns handling him, giving him much deserved TLC, and just telling him stories. He began to come around, and soon learned that snuggling in a warm lap wasn’t so bad after all. We decided to name him Merlin because not only was he unique in looks, but his bouncing back from such a traumatic experience was magical. He had literally made magic to heal his tiny body.
Merlin quickly became a staff favorite as he recovered. He was growing up around people and pets—which was a good thing for him. He learned that toys and a game of fetch were meant to be fun. He burrowed into blankets and curled up in laps. He watched other cats interact and tried it himself. Merlin was making a comeback in a big way.
About six weeks after his initial arrival, Merlin was ready for a home. It wasn’t surprising that he had met someone along the way, so once his legs were healed and bandages removed, he was neutered, fully vaccinated and microchipped. Then, Merlin went home.
Recently we talked to Merlin’s family. They said he rules the roost and that he’s an amazing addition to the family. They thanked us once again and expressed how appreciative they are that we chose to save him. For us, that’s what lifesaving is all about. Believing all lives are precious. Working to treat those that we can, no matter what the medical condition. Collaborating with others to ensure a good outcome. All of this is lifesaving and all of this… is thanks to your support.